It was a case of Parliament one-oh-one in Canberra today with thirty-two rookie MPs learning the ropes.
But the lessons learnt may be of little use if the major parties can’t agree on who will be the next Speaker of the lower house.
Karin Adam reports.
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The new MPs got a crash course on Federal Parliament from House of Representatives’ Speaker Henry Jenkins.
Australia’s youngest MP says Parliament is inspiring and daunting but he will work hard for his electorate.
Wyatt Roy, Member for Longman, Qld: “Inevitably we will make mistakes and it’s my intention to learn from those mistakes.”
The Speaker weighed into controversy over his position telling the group it’s not for him to change the way the chamber works but he will stay focused.
Henry Jenkins, House of Representatives’ Speaker: “As I might only have the gig for another seven days, I’m trying to make the most of my time here.”
The man chasing that job pulled out of his bid after meeting with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday, citing ‘tensions’.
Rob Oakeshott, Independent MP: “In light of that, it’s a step too far for this independent to go for that speaker’s spot.”
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott supports Jenkins for the next term but acknowledges this would leave numbers even closer in the House of Representatives.
Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “It’d be 75-74 so it’s a very tight situation.”
Abbott also says the proposed ‘pairing’ concept, where the speaker could participate in voting, is unconstitutional and is seeking the Solicitor-General’s advice.
Parliament is due to resume next Tuesday.
If the parties can’t decide on a Speaker, it could mean Australians go back to the polls.
Karin Adam, QUT News.