Speeches

Nomination of Speaker of the 47th Parliament

July 26, 2022

I move:

That the honourable member for Oxley do take the chair of this House as Speaker.

I arrived in this place at the same time as the member for Oxley, in 2016. Our friendship was not hindered by the fact that we come from different states, we come from different parts of the Labor Party and we represent very different constituencies. In fact, our differences have helped. My respect and affection for the member for Oxley is based on what I have come to know of him in those six years. He is a generous soul—an attribute that's very welcome in this place and that will stand him in good stead in that chair. He is thoughtful and reasonable and he listens carefully—all essential Speaker skills. He speaks with care, with warmth and with authority.

What many in this place may not know is his prodigious memory for numbers, particularly political numbers. In fact, he knows percentages in my seat better than I do. Admittedly, they were at times very small numbers to recall. But that will also stand him in good stead if he is elected Speaker of this place.

One thing we have in common is a commitment to educating school students about our democracy—a commitment shared by a previous Speaker, the former member for Casey. What better place to do that from than the Speaker's chair. I know the member for Oxley will bring to the role of Speaker an ability to make the parliament a more welcome and diverse place to visit and experience.

From the start of his time here he has shown a deep interest in the rules of this place. I recall the odd misstep in his early years that saw him ejected from this place, but he learnt from those experiences and has worked tirelessly to improve the tone of this place. Not only has he been a member of the Speaker's panel but, as deputy chair of the Procedure Committee for six years, he, alongside the member for Bonner, has helped to rewrite and recommend changes to the standing orders.

Similarly, the member for Oxley has been a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for all of that time, continuing a deep commitment to maintaining the integrity of democratic institutions, including domestic democratic institutions, which he pursued long before arriving in Canberra.

While he has been well able to engage in vigorous debate in this chamber, I know from my discussions the deep commitment he has to improving the tone, temperament and tenor of this place. I hope that all of us in this House will be willing to join him on the journey he will lead us on as the Speaker of the 33rd Parliament—actually, I think I'm getting my numbers wrong there, Milton—as the 33rd Speaker of the parliament. You can see why I need him for the numbers.

Respect is never just given. It's earned, and I already see the respect with which the member for Oxley's contributions from the floor have been received. I have no doubt that he will earn this House's respect in his role as Speaker. So it is with great honour that I've nominated the member for Oxley, Milton Dick, to be the Speaker of the parliament.