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. Gotta laugh I’m listening to Hadley and he is slipping into Smith and Parker from the NSW Libs and complained that you don’t really know what there like in opposition and that BOF should have a reshuffle now.

  2. [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.]

    Totally agree!

  3. Tony saying “Labor has lost its Speaker” and saying the govt has the responsibility of providing the Speaker under the Westminster system and it should have been JG who should have been to see the GG.

  4. Abbott is on now but I can’t hear him because my mum has the tv on mute as she is on the phone. Abbott is looking shocked though, and Bronwyn Bishop looks grim.

  5. Very sour grapes from Abbott. Government which cannot provide a speaker should no longer be in office. Gov is in crisis, a state of chaos, like the last days of the Whitlam gov.

  6. Abbott reckon Labor is in the same death throes as was Whitlam in his last days.
    Also Lib fatwa issued on Slipper or any other Lib accepting nomination.

  7. Considering Jenkins stated views on pokie reform; maybe this move isn’t so much about avoiding Wilkie’s threat by removing his bargaining power, but more about actually getting the legislation passed.

  8. Matthew Franklin says where does it say it is the govts responsibility for providing the speaker?

    TA: That’s always been the practice.

  9. RNM1953 @49,

    Spot on.

    The indies and Brandt make up 4 of the 76 votes.

    The government still needs them onside just not all at the same time now !

  10. Will Malaysia make a reappearance.
    TA: The Labor spin will be saying how clever we are to get an extra seat on the floor. But what the country will see is a party in chaos.

  11. madcyril,

    9. Each Member voting shall provide a ballot paper to the Chair, containing the name of the nominated Member or Members, as relevant, for whom he or she is voting. The Clerks at the Table shall count the votes:

    Election of Speaker
    1. For the office of Speaker, a nominee must receive a majority of votes. If no nominee has a majority after a ballot, the nominee with the smallest number of votes shall be excluded from later ballots, and a fresh ballot shall be held. This process shall be repeated as often as necessary until one nominee receives a majority of the votes, and this nominee shall be elected Speaker.]

  12. Slipper accepts Speakership and he will be excommunicated and expected to resign their party membership.

    Mesma looks totally farqing deluded.

  13. Good day for the government.

    As well as getting the extra vote it also takes the “secret greens MRRT deal ” off the agenda.

    I am sure the government has the indies onside with this and is well prepared for any attack on Slipper.

  14. [samanthamaiden samanthamaiden
    Watch for the Libs to nominate Labor’s Anna Burke as speaker and force ALP to vote against her to install “Lib rat” Peter Slipper
    21 seconds ago]

  15. When it comes to ‘playing politics’ you have to hand it to the ALP.

    For better or worse, they’re not bad – firstly forming government, now this little effort.

  16. [its going to be fun watching the LNP completely unhinge over this.]

    It’s already started:

    [Predictably 2GB is launching an all out character assassination job on Slipper]

  17. That ‘Dennis’ would ask Abbott about the Mal Coulston affair – which Abbott refused to answer – is a fair indication of what the OO now thinks of him.

  18. [latingle Laura Tingle
    Haven’t seen so many labor faces in the corridors looking vaguely cocky in ages]

    Gillon on Sky said the same thing.

  19. LMAO it’s so funny. Where does one start?

    Press Gallery are none from two: didn’t see Rudd challenge. Didn’t see Jenkins resignation. Perhaps if they spent less time on trivia (ear lobes, NewsPolls etc etc etc) and did some work that they are paid to do, things might be different.

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