Slipper Fits For Gillard. New Speaker in Federal Parliament

This catchy headline on Page 1 of today’s Age, Friday November 25, says it all.

The Labour member for Scullin, Harry Jenkins was a fair and consistent Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Federal Parliament. It was generally accepted he was an outstanding Speaker who had followed his late Father, Dr Harry Jenkins into this high office of the Parliament.

He appeared to enjoy this role, yesterday he calmly tossed a hand grenade from the Speaker’s Chair to announce his resignation on this the very last day of the parliamentary sitting of the Lower House for 2011, he reported he had tendered his resignation to the Governor General who accepted it.

It did seem he was pushed, and in the New Year who would be at all surprised if Harry Jenkins was to suddenly become a Minister in the Gillard Government?

Julia Gillard regains the vote of Harry Jenkins to give her an extra vote, a buffer if Wilkie goes against the Government if he does not get his way about reducing the Poker Machines In Australia.

By contrast the Coalition loses a vote by Slipper becoming the Speaker, he has already severed his ties of  membership of the Coalition party.

Jenkins has reported that he wished to have an input into Labour policy as a Back Bencher, he would forego some $75,000 in his salary, and many perks that came with this high office.

It so happened that Peter Slipper, the member for Fisher in Queensland from the coalition who already had his days in Parliament numbered by not gaining his Party’s endorsement for the next election was standing ready in the

Mal Brough a former Coalition Minister was looking to pick up Slipper’s seat and re enter the Parliament.

Now, contrary to the Westminister convention that the Government provides a Speaker from its own ranks, it nominated Peter Slipper as Speaker, he was the only nomination although Rob Oakeshot coveted this position, he was unable to muster the required numbers.

Slipper was by convention reluctantly dragged to the Speaker’s Chair to take over this important position in the Parliament.

He will get a large salary increase, his final pension will be enhanced by serving as Speaker, and he takes up all the prestige and trappings that goes with the Speakership. This deal, denied to be rigged by Albanese, the Government
Leader in the Reps had all the hallmarks and stench of rotting fish.

It seemed cheap, shoddy, and that the Prime Minister will stoop as low as required to hang on to her tenuous hold on office. Power is everything to her, stab Rudd in the back to take over, fawn over Obama the US President on his whirlwind visit to Australia.

Now this unprecedented move to shed a perfectly functioning Speaker to gain one more vote, and appoint a new Speaker from the ranks of the Coalition.

One who has never distinguished himself in Parliament by his performance or conduct.

We look forward to the year of 2012 in the Federal Parliament with great interest and some trepidation.


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