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House of Representatives Practice, 6th edition – HTML version

6 - The Speaker, Deputy Speakers and officers

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Second Deputy Speaker

The office of Second Deputy Speaker was created in 1994 with the establishment of the Main Committee, the precursor to the Federation Chamber.[281] The function of the Second Deputy Speaker is to assist the Deputy Speaker in the Federation Chamber and, in the absence of the Deputy Speaker, to act as Deputy Speaker.[282] In the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker the Second Deputy Speaker may perform the duties of Speaker, as Acting Speaker.[283] At the request of the Speaker, he or she may take the Chair of the House (as Deputy Speaker) [284] without formal communication to the House.

In proposing the new office the Procedure Committee recommended that it be filled by a non-government Member.[285] The recommendation was accepted by the Government,[286] and the first Second Deputy Speaker was an opposition Member, nominated by the Opposition and elected unopposed.[287] The standing orders now state that only a non-government Member may be elected.[288] In the 37th Parliament the Second Deputy Speaker was an opposition Member when elected. He became an independent during the later stages of the Parliament’s life, but retained the office.

At the beginning of a Parliament, or whenever the two offices are vacant at the same time, elections for Deputy Speaker and Second Deputy Speaker are conducted together, with the Member with the highest number of votes becoming the Deputy Speaker and the Member with the next highest number of votes becoming the Second Deputy Speaker.[289] When a vacancy in the position of Second Deputy Speaker occurs later in a Parliament, or if there is only one nomination for the position of Deputy Speaker when there are two vacancies, a separate election for Second Deputy Speaker is conducted.[290]


281. The Main Committee was renamed the Federation Chamber from 27 February 2012 (VP 2010–12/1179).
282. S.O. 16(c).
283. S.O. 18(a); e.g. VP 1993–95/2189; VP 1996–98/929.
284. S.O. 16(c).
285. Standing Committee on Procedure, About time: bills, questions and working hours. PP 194 (1993) 19–20.
286. H. R. Deb. (8.2.1994) 541.
287. VP 1993–95/842.
288. S.O. 13(c).
289. S.O. 14.
290. S.O. 14(b). The standing order allows the position to be left unfilled.