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Tuesday, 27 February 1973
Page: 9

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) (Leader of the Australian Country Party) - Mr Speaker, on behalf of the parliamentary members of the Australian Country Party, I congratulate you on your unanimous election to the position of the supreme office bearer of the House of Representatives. I wish you well. I hope that you can fulfil your role with great dignity and distinction, as that role has been carried out by your predecessors.

In the period in which you were a private member of the House of Representatives, members of the Country Party who were members of those earlier Parliaments knew you and liked you as a person. They believed that you were a man of honour. We believe that you can fulfil the role that has been cast upon you. You have displayed to this House at times a great sense of humour through your interjections. I hope that, when the atmosphere becomes tense and tempers are high, you will be able to draw on this wit to defuse that atmosphere and to maintain order.

On rare occasions you have demonstrated a degree of unruliness as a private member. I am glad that you have had those few lapses because you will have a degree of sympathy for members who may forget that the forms of this House must be maintained. As long as you dispense justice strictly, fairly and impartially, I can assure you that you will have the support of members of the Australian Country Party.

Mr SPEAKER -I sincerely thank the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) and the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) for their kind words of congratulation and good wishes upon my elevation to the Speakership. I hope that other Ministers, other front bench members of the Opposition and other honourable members also will have such kind thoughts about me after question time each sitting day.

I realise that the occupant of the position of Speaker faces many responsibilities and obligations. With the assistance, co-operation and help of all honourable members, 1 hope to emulate the good work of my immediate predecessors, Sir John McLeay and Sir William Aston, in their conduct of the office. They served as Speaker of this House for 11 years and 6 years respectively. I believe that they carried out the duties of their office in a manner befitting their responsibilities to both sides of the House. They were completely unbiased - I am serious about this - and I hope in the future to be able to emulate their deeds.

It was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition that at times 1 had been unruly. That is true. As a matter of fact I state quite frankly that I have been suspended from this House on 2 occasions, once by Sir John McLeay and once by Sir William Aston. But I joined Sir Robert Menzies and Sir John McLeay who also were suspended from this House during their time here. So honourable members can see thai: I joined an heroic throng of people. I conclude by thanking the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) and the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) for nominating me.

Mr WHITLAM(Werriwa - Prime Minister) - Mr Speaker, I have ascertained that it will be His Excellency's pleasure to receive you in the Library of the Parliament this day at 2.42

Mr SPEAKER - Prior to my presentation to His Excellency the Governor-General this afternoon, the bells will be rung for 3 minutes so that honourable members may attend in the Chamber and accompany the Speaker to the Library when they may, if they so wish, be introduced to His Excellency.

Sitting suspended from 12.7 to 2.41 p.m. (The House proceeded to the Library, and, being reassembled)

Mr SPEAKER -I have to report that, accompanied by honourable members, I this day proceeded to the Library of the Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker.

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