Harry’s reasons

Harry Jenkins has ended the parliamentary year with a surprise, announcing he will resign as Speaker today:

In a statement to Parliament, Speaker Jenkins said he’d divorced 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.”

Which is no huge deal if that’s all there is to it. But with the rift between Deputy Speaker Peter Slipper and his party widening of late – the LNP is presently considering disciplinary action against him – the suspicion exists that the government has reached an arrangement with him. If so, the return of Jenkins to the floor would enable the government to win confidence motions 76-73 rather than 75-74. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Events are moving quicker than my iPad typing speed. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The Liberal MP, Peter Slipper, is likely to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives after Labor’s Harry Jenkins resigned this morning, shocking the Parliament on its final sitting day for 2011. Labor MPs will be asked to approve Mr Slipper’s nomination at a special caucus meeting scheduled for 10am.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,458 comments on “Harry’s reasons”

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  1. Shanahan was just on Hadley – who for the first time sounded crestfallen – telling Hadley and listeners that this was a cynical conspiracy from Labor to shore up their own numbers.

    Labor, apparently, has been found guilty of parliamentary tendencies by News and 2GB.

    Who’d a thunk it?.

  2. confessions

    [whether I will continue to disapprove of Rudd’s leaking to his press gallery mates and undermining the PM, then the answer is no.]

    And your source for proof of the “leaking” is?

  3. A better title for this thread would have been “Harry’s Game” William.

    You’re slippering, mate.

    Meanwhile Hadley continues to go wild about Harry, accusing Labor of “murdering democracy”.

  4. Just took a look at the results from the last election in the seat of Scullin. The voting figures are presented below. The primary votes are in the left column and the other column is the percetage of the vote each candidate got.

    STRATOV, Ivan Family First 4,226 5.32
    JENKINS, Harry Australian Labor Party 49,310 62.12
    SEKHON, Gurm Australian Greens 6,702 8.44
    WILLIAMS, Max Liberal 19,142 24.11

    The 2PP was
    JENKINS 72.25
    WILLIAMS 27.75

    So on those figures even a 20% swing wouldn’t make Tone PM.
    I get the impression someone’s done their homework on this.

  5. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/harry-jenkins-resigns-as-speaker-of-the-house-of-representatives/story-fn7x8me2-1226204374621

    [Slipper tipped as Harry Jenkins resigns as lower house Speaker
    by: Phillip Hudson, Steve Lewis, AAP From: Herald Sun, AAP November 24, 2011 9:08AM

    UPDATE 10am: A CONTROVERSIAL Queensland Coalition MP – who is facing possible expulsion from his own party – is set to become the Labor-backed Speaker of the Parliament.]

    More in the article

  6. [smurray38 Stephen Murray
    For a man who’s made a study of gaming machines, Wilkie should really have understood the concept of overplaying a hand.]

    Twitter now saying Wilkie’s pokies reforms won’t matter if Slipper elected Speaker.

  7. http://www.theage.com.au/national/time-to-say-enough-is-enough-harry-jenkins-20111017-1ltey.html

    Article from last month, Pokies reform is close to Harry’s heart. That’s not over yet. I would not be surprised if part of any deal is that it is NOT dropped. But does stop the threat of a no-cofidence motion based on one person (e.g. Wilkie) chaging their mind.

    [Time to say enough is enough: Harry Jenkins
    Shane Green
    October 18, 2011

    FEDERAL parliamentary Speaker Harry Jenkins has made an extraordinary entry into the poker machine reform debate, arguing government has a responsibility to deal with the misery suffered by problem gamblers.]

  8. [Kieran_Gilbert Kieran Gilbert
    Senior Labor source: “we’re back in town, this is a triumph for the PM and the Libs are in disarray”
    3 minutes ago ]

  9. I called it first before any of the supposed press gallery experts: Gillard, Albo & Rudd have done the deal with Slipper to shore up the government’s numbers.
    Rudd was in Slipper’s electorate on Friday for that very reason – the public appearance at the school was just a facade designed to fool everyone.

  10. conf
    [Twitter now saying Wilkie’s pokies reforms won’t matter if Slipper elected Speaker.]

    The government needs to be careful not to alienate any of the indies too much. Otherwise they gain nothing. I think it would be a bad idea to ditch this.

  11. [
    ash_gillon Ashleigh Gillon
    Slipper wasn’t in the coalition partyroom meeting this morning.
    3 minutes ago

    ash_gillon Ashleigh Gillon
    Abbott told the coalition partyroom he expects Labor to nominate Slipper as Speaker
    2 minutes ago

    ash_gillon Ashleigh Gillon
    Coalition partyroom agreed not to support Slipper as Speaker
    24 seconds ago

  12. Good call TLM.

    A related journo reaction

    [samanthamaiden samanthamaiden
    Take a bow – Qld Liberal National Party. By messing with Slipper’s preselection ust gave Tony Abbott a Joh for Canberra style doing over.
    1 minute ago]

  13. [LNP in Queenland bracing for Slipper’s resignation.]

    What makes this so much of a hoot is this article (dated 23 Nov, but certainly not there this morning, though it could have been yesterday arvo)

    Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper wins temporary reprieve over his future in LNP

    So, if Slipper is endorsed as Speaker today, he’s still a duly elected Liberal. If the Party rolls him, tough.

    [PETER Slipper has been given a temporary reprieve by his party’s Queensland executive, which has decided to delay a decision on the Sunshine Coast MP’s fate.

    The Liberal National Party (LNP) state executive was to determine on Wednesday whether to expel or call an early preselection against Mr Slipper, but LNP president Bruce McIver released a statement late on Wednesday saying more discussion was needed…

    Earlier, Trade Minister Craig Emerson predicted that Mr Slipper’s days as a federal Liberal MP were numbered, even if he survived the Queensland executive meeting on his conduct.

    Howard-era minister Mal Brough plans to win preselection against Mr Slipper, who admits to having tense relationships with neighbouring Liberal MP Alex Somlyay, Mr Brough and others in his party.]

  14. murgatroyd – I sure you know, but for others trivia benefit, V Spy V Spy is the correct band name written form, which the band adopted to avoid disputes with the owners of the Mad Magazine comic strip that the name came from. In conversation and radio back announcements, people always just said “Spy versus Spy”.

  15. [Twitter now saying Wilkie’s pokies reforms won’t matter if Slipper elected Speaker.]

    The bills will still go ahead; but Wilkie was adamant the government could not count on his support if the bills weren’t passed – meaning the government might no longer have the numbers. If Slipper’s elected Speaker, it still will.

  16. The PM will still honour her agreement with Wilkie. She has a deal that she will keep.

    This is more about grabbing the opportunity that has arisen than doing the dirty on Wilkie.

    Extra vote available gives the government breathing space for whatever may arise over the next two years.

  17. OPT:

    My hope is that pokies reform goes ahead. But it would be nice knowing the govt no longer needs to worry about Wilkie pulling the pin.

  18. Harry was just sitting on the front bench behind Brendan O’Connor at the despatch box.

    He looked very happy.

    Had a few animated chats to colleagues.

    He even did a bit of theatre with a slit throat gesture and an arm wave that seemed to indicate that a great weight had been lifted from his shoulder.

  19. That’s a good point, madcyril. The indies would be voting to reduce their power. I don’t remember if the nominee gets a vote. If so, there’s one more vote than usual.

  20. TLM
    That is a point, if the LNP do not want to endorse Slipper then who are they going to put up and vote for, it still would be one off their benches.

  21. I have a lot of respect for Harry Jenkins. Have corresponded with him by email a couple of times, and found that his courtesy and generosity with explanation extended from his Speaker’s chair to the keyboard. A nice guy, too nice to mix it with the sharks of the Yobbosition.

  22. [SpaceKidette Space Kidette
    #NOalition backroom machinations will bring Abbott down. The Slipper preselection and Reith party president election backflip will cost him.

  23. [vexnews vexnews
    BIG SHOES TO FILL: Liberal Peter Slipper to become Speaker, government to gain selfless Harry Jenkins’ vote #auspol vexne.ws/slipper
    3 minutes ago]


    [BIG SHOES TO FILL: Peter Slipper to become Speaker, government to gain selfless Harry Jenkins’ vote
    By VEXNEWS ⋅ November 24, 2011

    The sudden resignation of Harry Jenkins as the Speaker of the House of Representatives has Canberra abuzz. VEXNEWS can confirm that Peter Slipper will become Speaker this afternoon and was indeed celebrating the prospect last night with friends.

    Harry Jenkins – once-disparaged here as Lord Harold of Jenkins because of his long-service and the fact that his old man held his seat of Scullin before him – has proved himself to Labor colleagues as an exceptionally selfless bloke.]

    More in the article

  24. The Govt. would be mad not to go ahead with pokies reform because it is the only major reform it can point to that has public support. Walking away would do incredible damage and would be fodder for those who claim that the labor party is hostage to the Greens.

  25. BK,

    I think christmas has come early! Can’t wait to see how this changes the political landscape (and the Noalition’s increased irrelevance) over the next two years.

    Pass the popcorn!

  26. Morning all , got a text from a mate whilst i was at the Doc,s this morning regarding Jenkins which made me feel a lot better as I realised that Slipper will probably get the nod.

    It certainly gives Labor some breathing space in the HOR, its going to be fun watching the LNP completely unhinge over this.

  27. Govt will not treat indies any differently. The beauty of this is the effect on Libs. Bottom line is they have had one of their own defect plus, along with govt getting its legislation through it has at the same time kicked another goal re: numbers in the house

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