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Shirley Bids for Speaker

Shirley Bids for Speaker

Sunday 25 Aug 2002

ACT Deputy Leader, Ken Shirley today announced his intention to seek the position of Speaker when Parliament opens tomorrow. "Members will be sworn in and their first task will be to elect a Speaker" said Ken Shirley.

"While Mr Hunt has been quite a good Speaker there is no good reason why the Speaker should always come from the governing party. The Speaker is Parliament's person and must be independent, impartial, firm and fair.

"Under MMP there is a strong argument in support of an opposition member becoming Speaker to reinforce independence from the executive. This argument is reinforced by the fact that the Labour Party has formed a minority government with opposition parties collectively holding the balance of power.

"Mr Hunt's close friendship with the Prime Minister detracts from his independence and his decision to regularly attend meetings of the Labour Party Caucus is at variance with long-established tradition and custom.

"Should my bid for Speaker prove successful then I have no doubt that the Prime Minister will find a suitable position for Jonathan Hunt commensurate with his skills and talents.

"Should my bid prove unsuccessful then Parliament's democratic processes will have been enhanced. This is a far more preferable situation than the Labour Party arrogantly assuming that it has the right to fill both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker roles."


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