News

Speaker trick an oldie but a goodie for Labor



25 November 2011

Convincing a renegade member of the opposition to take up the role of speaker can seem like a masterstroke.

However, it can be a dangerous game to play, writes Associate Professor Anne Twomey in today's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.

One hundred years ago, the same game was played by a Labor government in NSW.

Labor lost its majority when two members resigned, mid-debate, over a rural land policy.

Facing an imminent loss of confidence, the acting premier, Bill Holman, convinced his speaker to resign.

The opposition realised that it could not form a government and provide a speaker from its own numbers, so Labor remained in government until the byelections were held.

Labor won one and lost the other, leaving the numbers tied.

This made the election of the speaker critical.

Whichever side provided the speaker would lose its capacity to govern.

If no speaker could be elected, the Parliament could not function and a new election would have to be held.
View the entire article - Speaker trick an oldie but a goodie for Labor - Sydney Morning Herald


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