Resignations of Speakers

House of Representatives chamber

The resignation of the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP as Speaker of the House of Representatives on 2 August 2015 is the ninth resignation of a Speaker since 1901, and the third such resignation since 2011.

There have been 31 Speakers since Federation. The election of a new Speaker by the House of Representatives when Parliament resumes on 10 August 2015 will take the total to 32.

Section 35 of the Australian Constitution provides that the House of Representatives must choose a member to be Speaker ‘before proceeding to the despatch of any other business’.

Under section 3 of the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965 (Cth), a Speaker who resigns the office is deemed to continue as Speaker ‘for the purposes of the exercise of any powers or functions’ by the Speaker until a new Speaker is chosen. This also applies in relation to a President of the Senate who resigns the office.

Speakers have most commonly departed the office due to a change of government or because they have not being nominated/elected for a further term as Speaker. Two Speakers have died in office (Hon Sir Frederick Holder (FT; PROT; AS), in July 1909, and Hon Archie Cameron (CP; Lib; LCL; Lib) in August 1956).

Resignations of Speakers 1901—



 Walter Nairn (Nationalist; UAP)  June 1943
 Hon James Cope (ALP)  February 1975
 Hon Dr Henry Jenkins (ALP)  December 1985*
 Hon Joan Child (ALP)  August 1989
 Hon Leo McLeay (ALP)  February 1993
 Hon Robert Halverson (Lib)  March 1998
 Harry Jenkins (ALP)  November 2011
 Hon Peter Slipper (NAT; Lib; Ind)  October 2012
 Hon Bronwyn Bishop (Lib)  August 2015

* Resigned from Parliament

ALP - Australian Labor Party; AS - Anti-Socialist Party; CP - Country Party; FT - Free Trade Party; Ind – Independent; Lib - Liberal Party; LCL - Liberal Country League; NAT – National Party; PROT – Protectionist; UAP – United Australia Party.


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