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Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Page: 32


Mr SLIPPER (5:47 PM) —At the outset I would like to thank the honourable members for Banks and Fowler and also the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Nationals, the Leader of the House and the Manager of Opposition Business for their kind words. I would also like to thank honourable members for their support and I would like to congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your unopposed election this morning. The Leader of the Opposition quite accurately pointed out that I have not given any commitments with respect to my role as Deputy Speaker. Following some misleading reports, I drafted a media release yesterday. In fact, I had the Leader of the Opposition at the other end of the phone taking down my words and I joked that I was possibly the only member of parliament to have the Leader of the Opposition as his press secretary—and a very good press secretary you are, Leader, as well. In my media release I did say that I would be happy to serve the parliament as Deputy Speaker but certainly not on the basis of pairing my vote or guaranteeing confidence and supply to the government. I pointed out that reports that I had done a deal with the Labor Party to this effect were absolutely incorrect, and of course that has been confirmed by the Leader of the House.

Let me also say that when I was first elected to the Australian parliament Dr Harry Jenkins was the Speaker. I was a very junior member of the House at that time and I used to sit as a member of the then National Party over in what was called cockies corner. The speakers gallery used to be right in the corner and the current Mr Speaker’s mother, Mrs Jenkins, used to sit there and watch the excellent performance as Speaker of Dr Harry Jenkins. In those days I was fairly sort of loud and I participated in debate in a very robust way and I was forever being, shall we say, lectured by the Speaker and being told to be silent and not to interject. I often really wondered how on earth he knew that it was I, because there was a lot of people very vigorously participating in interjections. It was only a couple of years ago, when I was having a private conversation, that the current Mr Speaker told me that his father was somewhat deaf and that what used to happen was that Mrs Jenkins used to point in my direction as the culprit and I then received gentle advice and discipline from Mr Speaker Jenkins Sr.

Let me also say how pleased I am that my wife Ingé and my children, Nicholas and Alexandra, are here in the gallery today. I am very supportive of the concept of parliamentary reform. I am very passionate about the institution of parliament and I am certainly looking forward to working with you, Mr Speaker, and also with my very good friend and colleague the member for Maranoa as Second Deputy Speaker. I think we will work well together as a team. I feel enormously humble over the support for my election as Deputy Speaker. I certainly pledge to the parliament that I will give this onerous task in the 43rd Parliament my utmost. I will certainly do the best that I can to fulfil the expectations of the parliament and the confidence that the parliament has expressed in me today. I thank the House.