Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Parliamentary Office Holders
That Mr Hogan be elected Deputy Speaker of this House.
In doing so, I would like to recall, when I was first elected to this House, I received a phone call from the then CEO of the Bendigo Bank, Mike Hurst, who said: 'Congratulations on the win. When you go up there, you're going to be able to meet a mate of mine called Kevin Hogan. I reckon you might really like him.' Well, I've never heard truer words spoken down the phone, because from the time I got up here and met Kevin Hogan he has been a really, really firm friend not just to me but to all of those in the National Party and the greater parliament.
In March last year the member for Page was elected in the House to the position of Deputy Speaker, and he has held the position with great aplomb. Over the past 15 months, we've seen the role of Deputy Speaker carried out with a genuine sense of fairness and impartiality during some very trying and challenging times. Control in the House when there has been a minority government, working through the standing orders and the parliamentary procedures to ensure there has always been smooth operation on the floor of this parliament, is something that shouldn't be underestimated.
First elected to this parliament in 2013, the member for Page has conducted himself with dignity and a commitment to strongly represent his constituents in northern New South Wales—certainly those coastal towns of Evans Head, Wooli, Sapphire Beach, Casino, Grafton and Kyogle, and Nimbin, where he picked up a whopping 13 per cent of the primary vote! The member for Page represents a diverse community, with agricultural production—beef, dairy and fruit—and substantial fishing, timber and tourism industries.
About 26 years ago, Kevin won TattsLotto when he married Karen, and, with their three kids, Sean, Rosie and Bridget, they make a fantastic family. For those of us on this side that understand the seat of Page, we shouldn't underestimate Karen's involvement in achieving the Hogans' fantastic representation.
Often we get to see what members do outside of this House. The member for Page, teaming up with the member for Bennelong every week, has a very successful tennis game going against the member for Grayndler and the member for Wills. There are a fair few bragging rights associated with the member for Page when it comes to tennis. Australian history is littered with many great partnerships. Langer and Hayden come to mind, as do Curtin and Chifley, Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton, and Daryl and Ossie. While I don't want to overstate the importance of this position, I think that in years to come we may hear the names Smith and Hogan spoken of in similar tones.
We saw firsthand last year that he's a man of his word. He claimed that Australia needed leadership stability and, when that didn't happen, he stayed true to his word and went to the crossbench. His electorate have acknowledged that sincerity. He is a man who works tirelessly for his electorate, and the people of Page have acknowledged that leadership. This is an important, challenging and privileged position within the parliament. I have much pleasure in nominating Kevin Hogan, the member for Page, for the position of Deputy Speaker.
I rise to wholeheartedly second the nomination of the member for Page, whom I first met when we were both callow youths, back in the 2010 election, which unfortunately didn't return us to this parliament. We met up again on the 2013 campaign and we've become very good friends and solid mates since then. Not only has he turned the hypermarginal seat of Page into a well-represented National Party seat, he has been growing in respect and stature throughout the North Coast region time after time. As the member for Nicholls mentioned, people who have run against him have realised that when you are taking on the member for Page you are taking on his family as well, because they are a real campaign team. Not only has he been a good parliamentarian, he has delivered for his electorate. Whilst he was involved in the 45th and 44th parliaments he quite ably served on many committees, including chairing the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, was on the Speaker's panel over two parliaments and then assumed the role of Deputy Speaker midway through the last. Everyone who has been in the Federation Chamber or here on the floor of parliament knows that he has been fair and knows his procedures well. Whether you are Labor, Liberal, National Party, Greens or an Independent on the crossbenches, you will get a fair hearing from the member for Page when he's in that role. I have no hesitation in recommending him for the position of Deputy Speaker for the 46th Parliament.
That Mr Mitchell be elected the Deputy Speaker of the House.
I'll be brief. No-one in this parliament has more experience in the chair than the member for McEwen does. Indeed I was reflecting, while listening to the member for Calwell nominate the member for Casey for the Speaker's chair, on the similarities between the pair. Smith and Mitchell is the combination this parliament needs in the Speaker's panel. Like the Speaker, the member for McEwen has a fond appreciation for car restorations. They share the pain of three Carlton wooden spoons in the last nine years. Like the Speaker, Mr Mitchell has not aged a day since he entered this parliament.
Since 2012 the member for McEwen has sat in the chair in both chambers and performed with exceptional clarity and independence. More than that, Rob Mitchell has that rare quality that the Australian public most prizes in their elected representatives: authenticity. There is nothing fake about Rob Mitchell, not his commitment to his constituents, not his passion for the role of the chair of the place, not his friendship and support for those of us who serve with him in this place. As the Deputy Speaker he will serve all of us in this chamber with fidelity. He is a member of the parliament that I admire and respect. I am proud to call him a mate. Rob Mitchell knows all too well the privilege that it is to be here in this chamber. He has fought tough marginal seat campaigns. He has endured multiple recounts and a contested election result in the Court of Disputed Returns.
He knows how special it is to be here in this chamber and the special responsibility it imposes on us all. The member for McEwen has told me that he is passionate about the opportunity to raise the standards in this place when he is in the chair.
Honourable members interjecting—
For clarity, I should make clear that he was talking about the opportunity when he is in the chair. For the member for McEwen, the role that he plays in the chair in this chamber is the main prize of his parliamentary service, his greatest honour and his passion. He has always conducted himself fairly, without fear or favour, and has been a great source of guidance to new members and to some new ministers in the government, helping them to understand the procedural pathway for legislation and how the chamber works.
There has been many a time when Mr Mitchell has had a quiet word off to the side with members and given them advice about how to stay in the chamber without disrupting the business of this place, and how it would be in their party's interest for them to hang around. The member for McEwen is someone who does carry the role with dignity. He has a deep appreciation for the importance of the chair's role, and he also understands the need to conduct debate in this chamber professionally and in a fair and just manner. When it comes to the experience and knowledge and professionalism of the role, no-one is more qualified or suited to the role than Rob Mitchell. I am proud to nominate him for the role.
Mr Speaker, I rise to second the nomination of the member for McEwen for the role of Deputy Speaker. As the member for Gellibrand has pointed out, the member for McEwen has a strong understanding of the role of the chair and also, like you, Mr Speaker, served in the team in the 45th Parliament. He also understands the dignity of this place. He understands deeply what it means to be a member of parliament and to represent his community, the people of McEwen. He cherishes every moment in this place. He cherishes being in the chair. And of course he's a great parliamentary performer, because no-one's got a quicker wit than the member for McEwen when he's not in the chair.
I'll be brief in my remarks so that we can get on with the job of this place as soon as possible, but I would say that the member for McEwen, as the member for Gellibrand said, is somebody who's authentic. He's also someone who the Australian public can relate to. He left school early. He did his apprenticeship. He worked his way through night school. He worked in the transport business and he was in the Victorian state parliament. He started Australia's first community emergency response team. And he's been elected to this place four times.
Like many Australians—and you, Mr Speaker—the member for McEwen has a love affair with cars, as we've heard highlighted already. He also has an adorable granddaughter, Ava, whom he now spends time doting on when he's not tinkering with his cars in his shed. I'm telling you this, Mr Speaker, because the member for McEwen is someone people can relate to, and having him in the chair means that the Australian public will see themselves reflected in that chair.
He's someone who appreciates just how important parliament is, but also knows how to make it more understandable and inviting for the general public. This is what we need in our parliament today to restore the faith of the Australian people in our parliamentary processes. No-one makes those processes clearer than the member for McEwen. The member for McEwen represents this place well. He will always offer advice and assistance to people in this chamber. He is someone who cherishes the role and has a deep understanding of it. And, Mr Speaker, to keep the Victorian car-loving Carlton-supporting team together is very important. I would only have one concern, and that is that you keep your eye on the salary cap!
The time for nominations has expired. The question is that the question be now put.
Question agreed to.
In accordance with standing order 11, the bells will be rung and a ballot will be taken.
The bells having been rung and a ballot having been taken—
The result of the ballot is: Mr Hogan, 78 votes; Mr R Mitchell, 69 votes. Mr Hogan is elected the Deputy Speaker, and Mr Mitchell shall be the Second Deputy Speaker. On behalf of the House, I congratulate both members on their election.