Speaker's resignation

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Speaker's resignation

Posted 10/10/2012 by Cathy Madden

Mr Slipper resignedmid-term as Speaker on 9 October 2012. A mid-term resignation by a Speaker is not unique, although in this instance the circumstances maybe seen as such. Mr Slipper resigned in the wake of a motionby the Leader of the Opposition to remove the Speaker under section 35 of the Constitution. The motion was narrowly defeated, 70 to 69, which meant the Speaker could continue in office. Mr Slipper had stood aside from his role as Speaker in the House on 8 May 2012 following allegations of sexual harassment and allegations of fraudulent abuse of Cabcharge vouchers.

 Other Speakers who have resigned mid-term include:

 Walter Nairn                                     Resigned 21 June 1943 

 Hon. James Cope                              Resigned 27 February 1975

Hon. Joan Child                                 Resigned 28 August 1989

Hon. Leo McLeay                              Resigned 8 February 1993

Hon. Robert G Halverson                   Resigned 3 March 1998

Henry (Harry) Jenkins                        Resigned 24 November 2011

Two other Speakers died while in office: Sir Frederick Holder on 23 July 1909 and Hon. Archie Cameron on 9 August1956.

Following Mr Slipper’s resignation the Government nominatedthe Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, for the office of Speaker: she was elected unopposed. Ms Burke becomes the second female Speaker of the House of Representatives and the third female Presiding Officer in the federal Parliament. The previous female Presiding Officers were:

 Senator the Hon Margaret Reid (Liberal), President of the Senate: 2 August 1996–18 August 2002

 Hon. Joan Child (ALP), Speaker of the House of Representatives: 11 February 1986–28 August 1989

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