Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the Opposition) (16:20): No amount of marketing or spin can hide the humiliation for the government from that ballot. I congratulate the member for Wide Bay on receiving such strong support from his colleagues in the House of Representatives. I asked a question earlier today; indeed, it was the first question of question time, which went to the stability of the government. I think we’ve just seen the stability of the coalition on full view for everyone to see: government members running against each other for a position of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. For the Prime Minister to stand up and to say that this was somehow a win—
The SPEAKER: I’ll just say to the Leader of the Opposition that I’m pretty free flowing on this, but this is a time of congratulate to the member for Wide Bay.
Mr ALBANESE: I am! I am congratulating the Prime Minister on his capacity to make anything out as a marketing proposal.
The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House, on a point of order?
Mr Porter: The purpose of the indulgence is to congratulate the member for Wide Bay—no other person. Nor is it to make gratuitous statements.
The SPEAKER: I thank the Leader of the House, but an indulgence is just that. The Prime Minister made a number of comments, but it is primarily an indulgence. What I’m not going to allow is the indulgence to slip into the matter of public importance. That doesn’t occur on Monday.
Mr ALBANESE: Thank you, Mr Speaker; it can wait until tomorrow.
The SPEAKER: It can; that’s a good point.
Mr ALBANESE: I do congratulate the member for Wide Bay on his election. The position of the Speaker and the speaker’s panel is a very important one. I’m someone who is quite proud to call myself a parliamentarian. I think that the way that this parliament flows and conducts itself is very important, and the role, I must say, that you play, Mr Speaker, is critical in that. The support that you receive from the speaker’s panel, including, of course, the person who has just been elected as your deputy and the second deputy speaker, is critical as well.
It is important that we’re able to debate ideas in this place. It’s important that we’re able to do it in a civil way, because this is the institution of our democracy. Many people stand in front of tanks for the right to vote and the right to participate in their democratic system. This institution matters. Procedures matter. The orderly conduct of business in this place matters, so that the government has an opportunity to present its arguments for the proposals that it’s putting through its cabinet processes, and so that the opposition has the opportunity to hold the government to account by being able to actually have debates and not be shut down in this place and to be able to participate in that debate of ideas.
I congratulate the member for Wide Bay. I look forward to him conducting himself in a fair way, as you do, Mr Speaker, and as the former Deputy Speaker, the member for Page, did, with dignity. I congratulate him on his elevation to the position of assistant minister as well. I wish the member for Wide Bay all the best.