Mar 27, 2014

Business Rearrangement

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (14:43): I second the motion. We all know that this is a position that you coveted for years and years. How sad is it, having achieved his ambition, that you have chosen the low road of partisanship, rather than the high road of independence that this office demands. Madam Speaker, when you were the member for Mackellar you were very fond of the big book, House of Representatives Practice. I draw your attention to pages 163 and 164, which state a very simple principle:

The Speaker must show impartiality in the Chamber above all else.

That is the fundamental principle upon which the reliance and integrity of this parliament resides. Those opposite say, ‘Oh, but we won the election.’ That is absolutely true—there is a majority there. But there are millions of Australians voting for us on this side and they also deserve to be represented and not be treated with contempt from the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It is one thing for this Prime Minister when he was Leader of the Opposition to want to trash the 43rd Parliament and come in here every day and move to suspend the standing orders and engage in disruptive conduct as a tactic, but it is another thing, having won the election and achieved the high office of Prime Minister, for him and his team to trash the 44th Parliament. So addicted are they to negative tactics, they engage in them. We see it every day. We saw the Prime Minister last week, while the sand was going through the hourglass for a division, looking upwards and giving directions to you, Madam Speaker, saying: ‘Close the door. Close the door. Close the door.’ We see, time after time, the Leader of the House give instructions to you as the chair, including today.

Madam Speaker, we have a penalty count at the moment. If this were a Souths-Manly game and the penalty count was 98 to nil in favour of the home team, they would be jumping the fence. What we have day after day in this parliament is partisanship from the chair, is abuse of standing orders and is treatment of those on this side of the House with contempt. We are seeing it by this very process. We are seeing it by the process whereby those opposite are not even allowing the motion to be debated. We are having to suspend the standing orders. What they should do is allow the motion, and then it will be a vote in the confidence of your speakership. As it is, it is left hanging as a result of them not even allowing the motion to proceed.

The SPEAKER: I remind the member that he must address the motion as he is drawing attention to it.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE: I am, and that is why standing orders should be suspended! You have just given a cracker of an example, Madam Speaker, of your partisanship. Here I am saying why they should be suspended so that we can have the proper debate and have a vote in your speakership, as to whether you have the confidence of the House, and you interject from the chair in order to slap that down.

Today we had, in the naming of the member for Isaacs, unprecedented action taken for such a minimal statement. I checked, Madam Speaker, if he said ‘ma Dame Speaker’ because I thought maybe there was something that was a reflection, but there was not. What we see in this chamber every day is the born-to-rule mentality of those opposite. We saw it from this Prime Minister just two days ago with his reinstatement of imperial honours and we see it with your behaviour, unfortunately, Madam Speaker, each and every day in this chamber.

The SPEAKER: The question is that so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the member for Watson moving immediately that the House has no further confidence in Madam Speaker.

The SPEAKER: I am giving the call to the Prime Minister who was in the middle of answering a question.