Thursday, 24 November 2011

House Speaker Harry Jenkins resigns

The Speaker of the House of Representatives has resigned.

Speaker of the Federal parliament Harry Jenkins has resigned from his post, saying he wants to participate more in Labor Party policy and affairs. He will visit the Governor-General today to make the decision official. Today will be his last day as speaker.

The move comes amid a further breakdown in relations of Liberal Deputy Speaker Peter Slipper and his own party. Opposition leader Tony Abbott said he’d had no notice of the move and he believed something “extraordinary” had occurred. In a statement to Parliament, Speaker Jenkins said he’d divorsed himself from party political matters in order to carry out his duties in a non-partisan manner. “In this era of minority government I have progressively become frustrated at this stricture,” he said. “My desire is to be able to participate in policy and parliamentary debate, and this would be incompatible with continuing in the role of Speaker. “As a consequence, when I vacate the Chair at the end of this short statement I will visit the Governor-General to tender my resignation as Speaker of the House of Representatives. “I thank all members for their co-operation which they have dispensed to varying degrees depending upon the individual.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott thanked Mr Jenkins for “serving this parliament with distinction for four years”.“It is a remarkable thing for this parliament to witness out of the blue the resignation of the speaker,” he said.“One must assume that’s something extraordinary is happening in the Labor party at the moment for the speaker to resign his office,’’ he said Mr Abbott said the Coalition would support whoever Labor proposed to replace Mr Jenkins. Prime Minster Julia Gillard said she would speak further about Mr Jenkins resignation later today.
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  1. Latest news is that Slipper is now the new Speaker of the House. This is a break from Westminster tradition where historically the Government chooses the Speaker. I dare say though, no-one held a gun over Slipper's head to make him accept the position. It would appear that rumours of Slipper's fallout with Abbott may be true. What it does do however is strengthen Gillard's minority Government in that Labor now has one extra vote in the House of Reps and the LNP one less.

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