Talk:Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives

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All the Speakers are shown with 'the Hon' or 'the Rt Hon'. This is fine during their term of office, but it does not necessarily apply in perpetuity.

My understanding is that Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, once sworn as Executive Councillors, remain permanently on call and are thus 'the Hon' forever. However the Presiding Officers are not equivalent to Executive Councillors, so they do not automatically entitle the holders to 'the Hon'. This title is a courtesy title given to Presiding Officers who have not already acquired 'the Hon' by being Ministers or Parliamentary Secretariers, or 'the Rt Hon' by being Privy Councillors.

The courtesy title normally applies only during the Presiding Officer's term of office. However the title has also been extended to ex-Speakers Jim Cope, Leo McLeay and Bob Halverson. JackofOz 02:16, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)


It's interesting (well, at least to me), and relevant. But whatever, I'm sick of having to battle reverts. Dysprosia 01:40, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Honorific for Neil Andrew[edit]

Now that he's retired from parliament and has not (to my knowledge) retained "the Hon", should the article continue to show this against his name? His own article gives him no such honorific. JackofOz 04:38, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

If I'm not mistaken, didn't he gain the right to retain the title for having been Speaker for however-many years? Most people with the honourable title don't have that in their articles - indeed, putting it in has been actively resisted until lately. Ambi 04:52, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
If I remember from the Practice, past speakers get to keep "Hon" indefinitely. Dysprosia 10:21, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
No. It's not automatic. Some ex-speakers have requested permission for the title to be granted for life, but permission is not always granted. I'm not aware that Neil Andrew has requested, or been granted, the title. JackofOz 04:31, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
According your post above, the Hon title is acquired after being Speaker for more than three years. Andrew was Speaker for six. Ambi 06:56, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
Sorry for that. What I meant to say was that, unless the person had been Speaker for at least 3 years, any request for a permanent honorific is rejected out of hand. But even for those with service as speaker longer than 3 years, it's still not an automatic thing and is very much dependent on the whim of the government of the day. Even for a Speaker who'd held the chair for 20 years, there is simply no "entitlement" to the honorific after retiring from the position. Cheers JackofOz 08:34, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

This is not a very pointful discussion. The table is a table of Speakers, not ex-Speakers, and they were all Honourables (even Leo McLeay) while they were in the office. Adam 08:55, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Unless they were Rt Hons, of course. Adam 08:56, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

More deputies[edit]

Adam, Bronwyn Bishop takes the chair occasionally. Should one describe this in the article, and how? Please do so if you think it necessary. Dysprosia 09:59, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

She is a member of the Speaker's Panel of Temporary Chairs, as are a number of other members. There is probably a list of them at the website somewhere. I don't think it should be gone into at this article. Adam 10:06, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

POV ahoy![edit]

"Because party discipline in the Labor Party is tighter, Labor Speakers are generally seen as more partisan, particularly Speakers Rosevear and Leo McLeay, but recent Liberal Speakers have been seen as more partisan than those in the past."

Unless someone can come up with an actual, reputable source for this, I'm just deleting it straight out. It's not just generalised, biased and POV, it's alleging a prosecutable legal offense.

--Furpants Tom 02:32, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

The statement is perfectly true, but I agree it doesn't meet current standards of verifiability, so it should be deleted. (There is no prosecutable offence of being a partisan Speaker.) Adam 03:50, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

When a Speaker is sworn in, they take an oath to the Crown to undertake the duties of speaker in a non-partisan, evenhanded manner. Technically speaking, breaking an oath the crown is treason. I agree, it's never going to be prosecuted, because that would be very silly, but yeah, it's a criminal offense. I also disagree that it's a true statement on behalf of both the named Labor speakers, and regarding the contrast between past and present Liberal speakers, but since that's just my opinion vs. the writer's opinion, so it doesn't count for much.

--Furpants Tom 02:51, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Labor Speakers and the wig[edit]

We say Labor Speakers have not worn it. This says Jim Cope was "prevented by his party" from wearing it, which suggests he personally would have preferred to. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:02, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

2011 Speaker Overruled after naming member[edit]

This is a significant event in Australian Parliamentary History, albeit limited to the somewhat arcane parliamentary processes and procedures of that House. Prior to 31 May 2011, the Speaker of the House of Representatives had only been once overruled after naming a member, prompting his resigntation. The fact that this has happened only for the second time in Australia's history. The even is even more significant as it led immediately thereafter to a motion of confidence in the Speaker moved by the Leader of the Opposition (who only minutes before had led the opposition to the Speaker's authority in opposing the suspension of the named member) is certainly of historical interest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ExcaliburPrime1 (talkcontribs) 05:01, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

The added text for the 2011 situation is supported by only one primary reference. The significance of this event cannot be established on the basis of that one source alone; secondary sources (i.e. outside the government) are needed to support how this event is significant and notable, as described under the WP:NOR policy. Generally, four references for the whole article is insufficient, thus the "moresources" tag. Dl2000 (talk) 03:52, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Holder, the first speaker[edit]

Mal Colston aside, I note here that the first House speaker, former South Australian "l"iberal Premier Frederick Holder, won his seat in 1901 for the Free Trade Party, and 1903 as an independent... "Standing as an Independent, Holder was returned to parliament for Wakefield in 1903 and 1906." Does anyone know if he was still an FTPer when he took the speaker's chair in 1901? If so, his comment field needs further updating. Timeshift (talk) 22:08, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I can see nothing to suggest he cut his links with the FTP prior to the 1903 election. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 23:09, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Speakership vacant?[edit]

Slipper has stood aside pending the charges being dealt with, and intends to return to the job if cleared. This is not a resignation, but a temporary (he hopes) vacating of the office. Anna Burke will take over as acting Speaker. There will be no election for a new Sepaker, because there's no vacancy to fill. It's no different than if Slipper had gone on indefinite sick leave. Comments? -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 08:35, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Now overtaken by events. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:23, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Speaker sworn in ?[edit]

I've just heard a report on the normally reliable ABC News about Anna Burke meeting with the Governor-General this morning (Thursday 11 October). That bit's OK. The newsreader went on to say, as verbatim as I can remember it, that "she has already been sworn in, but it's normal for new Speakers and new Ministers to meet with the Governor-General after they're sworn in".

Firstly, I've never heard of Speakers being sworn in. A vote is held, the Clerk declares they've been elected, they assume the Chair, and that's it.

Secondly, it's the Governor-General who swears new ministers in. It's not as if they're sworn in by someone else somewhere else, and then they traipse up to Government House to meet her.

The whole item sounded like it was written by a work experience journalist making it up as they went along. But I'm willing to be surprised about the Speaker being sworn in, if there's any truth to it. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:33, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

But she doesn't personally swear in the members...
The Honourable Anthony Murray Gleeson AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, having been ushered into the Chamber and conducted by the Serjeant-at-Arms to the Chair, handed to the Clerk at the Table an authority, which was read and is as follows:
I, PHILIP MICHAEL JEFFERY, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, acting under section 42 of the Constitution, authorise THE HONOURABLE ANTHONY MURRAY GLEESON AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to Members of the House of Representatives.
They get sworn in as members first, then traipse up to Government House to meet her (and get sworn in as ministers) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:50, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks but I was talking about the swearing in of Ministers. I made no mention of ordinary members. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 10:58, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
It is normal for new Ministers to meet with the GG AFTER they have been sworn in as members of parliment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:28, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I think there's some confusion here.
(A) After every election, the new parliament meets for the first time, and the new members are sworn in by the Governor-General's delegate, usually the Chief Justice, and afterwards they meet the Governor-General personally at Government House.
(B) Whenever the occasion demands, the Governor-General personally swears in new ministers at Government House. The reporter was talking as if they're sworn in elsewhere and only then meet the G-G. That's wrong.
(C) Whenever a new Speaker is required, one is elected. The person is already an experienced and long-serving member of the house, so they don't need to be sworn in as a member. To the best of my knowledge, there is no separate oath required of a Speaker before they can exercise their office. Once elected, they just assume the chair and start barking "Order".
My question was not about A or B. It was about C. Maybe the reporter was using extraordinarily sloppy language. How unprecedented! -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 05:29, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
After a speaker is elected, she presents herself to the GG (a vestige of the royal approbation still in practice elsewhere). So they may have been referring to that as (or confusing it for) being "sworn in". -Rrius (talk) 06:22, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Maybe. I guess we'll never know. Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 06:59, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

End of term dates[edit]

In the table of speakers, the dates for the ends of most terms were incorrect. Members cease to be members at dissolution, and speakers cease to be speakers when they cease to be members. (Sec. 35 of the Constitution Act.) Because it is necessary for the purposes of various statutes that someone be considered the speaker at any given time, the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965 provides that the most recent speaker (or Senate president) be deemed the speaker (or president) for the purposes of the exercise of any powers or functions. That is not the same as the person still being the speaker. I have provided a reference to the Parliamentary Handbook that supports the dates. -Rrius (talk) 05:36, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

The Parl Handbook’s list appears to stop a Speaker’s term at the dissolution of a parliament, and recommences it from the first sitting of the new parliament (assuming the previous government was re-elected, the Speaker stood and was re-elected in their own seat, and continued in the chair).
I’m not at all sure I understand why they do this. S. 35 says the Speaker ceases to be Speaker if they cease to be a member of parliament. It doesn’t say the Speaker ceases to be Speaker whenever the parliament is dissolved. Members who recontest the election are paid right up till election day, whether they’re elected or not, regardless of the fact the parliament is not in session, and their personal term of service is not broken unless they retire, resign, get defeated, die, or are expelled. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 06:29, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
I refer you to Harold Holt's second reading speech in support of the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Bill 1965. He noted, "For example, after the Parliament had been dissolved on the 1st November 1963, there was no person, in the strict legal sense, holding the office of Speaker until the election of a new Speaker in the new Parliament on the 25th February 1964." And this wasn't a minor point; it was part of an explanation of one example that went to the heart of the bill. Gough Whitlam, for the Opposition, agreed: "[U]nder section 35 of the Constitution the Speaker ceases to hold office when he ceases to be a member. He ceases to be a member if the House is dissolved. Nevertheless, this Bill and other legislation merely permit a person who has been the Speaker to continue to receive the emoluments of that position and now to carry out the functions of his position." If MPs remained MPs after dissolution, all MPs would remain MPs, not just ones seeking re-election. It is pointless to note dissolution-based gaps in service, and it is more than fair to say it is standard by convention to ignore them when talking of tenure in office. This is not only true in Australia, but in the UK where there is absolutely no ambiguity about the gap. -Rrius (talk) 10:17, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Bishop's record, of sorts[edit]

Assuming dear Auntie Bronwyn gets the nod, I think she'll be the first former Senator to have descended to the lower House, only to rise again, phoenix-like, to the Speakership. Is this worthy of a note? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 22:30, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

You are quite right, and it does sound worthy of a note. Frickeg (talk) 00:55, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
This should be updated now to reflect the newly elected Speaker, the Hon Tony Smith MP. Daniel Mee 05:15, 12 August 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Danielmee (talkcontribs)

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