Australian Speaker and Green MP

Australia’s House Speaker, Harry Jenkins, is resigning out of “frustration” with the role, which requires impartiality. Jenkins wants to resume participation in Labor Party policy debates. He will be replaced by his deputy, who is from the opposition Liberals. This change positively affects the balance of the closely divided House in favor of Labor. And it may undercut independent Senator Representative Andrew Wilkie’s leverage. Wilkie, one of four non-Labour MPs providing Labour with confidence and supply, has threatened to withdraw support over reform of poker machines (yes, really, “pokie” reform is his big issue).

Meanwhile, one of the other four MPs providing confidence and supply, Green MP Adam Bandt, has been named Australian politician of the year by GQ. The Sky article says GQ “mistakenly” refers to Bandt as the first Green ever elected to the House. But wasn’t he the first? I thought so, and Wikipedia says so. Wikipedia trumps GQ for me, unless someone convinces me otherwise.

10 thoughts on “Australian Speaker and Green MP

  1. Andrew Wilkie is MHR for the Tasmanian seat of Denison.

    Michael Organ was Green MHR for the NSW seat of Cunningham from 2002 to 2004.

    In 1975 Labor’s position in the Senate was weakened when the Queensland parliament refused to elect the Labor candidate, Mal Colston,to a vacancy in the Senate. That led directly the deferral of the budget by the Senate and the ultimate dismissal of the Whitlam government.

    In 1996 the same Mal Colston left the ALP and was elected deputy president of the Senate on Coalition votes.

    Both sides have form with suborning members from the other party with presiding officer jobs used as carrots. It is a bad practice and strengthens my view that floor crossing should exclude the member or senator from the house.

    The Gillard government will increase its majority from 1 to 2, but can expect quite a hard hit in the polls.

  2. MSS, you might be mixing up Wilkie with Nick Xenophon, an Independent in another place who also has issues with Australia’s poker-machine lobby.

    (Just don’t go titling any posts “Wilkie Defeats Truman”…)

    • No, I know the difference between Wilkie and Xenophon. See the link: while it mentions Xenophon as well, it is about Wilkie as threatening to withdraw support over poker.

  3. But you’ve called Wilkie a Senator. Be aware that Australia has no First Amendment so the defamation laws are stricter here than in the US, even when discussing politicians.

    • A big mistake, for sure. I’ll blame travel and pre-election fatigue.

      I would plead for the jury’s mercy by noting that the context shows clearly I was referring to the balance of power in the House.

      The defense rests.

  4. OK then. I suppose the terminology here[down]under would be confusing to a US visitor more familiar with the Chamber of Commons and the Federal Council of Notables on the Potomac.

  5. Greens members have also won various seats in state legislations – mostly by-elections but they recently one in NSW and one in WA. The WA (Western Australia not Washington) had an extra marital affair with the former leader of the Liberal party (conservatives) and then defected to be an Independent – it is unlikely the Greens will ever win that seat again given the brand damage she has inflicted. In NSW they should have won too seats but the extreme left led by Lee Rhiannon led a poor campaign and focussed on the wrong issues.

    As for Bandt he is an excellent member and internal polling has indicated he will retain his seat even if Liberals preference Labor (which is highly likely). I remain unconvinced but it will be an interesting seat to watch. If the Liberals dont preference Labor I expect they will finally take Grandlyer and quite possibly Denison, especially if Labor dodges gay marriage with a conscience vote policy tomorrow.

    Finally, confusing a house of reps member for a senator is not defamatory in the least!

  6. Oh and pokies reform is a big issue that has been left untouched given the fact that the alp stands to lose a few seats if they implement reform and it doesn’t fit with Liberal party ideology (not to mention they gain if alp takes action). Again poker reform represents a majority view that the alp has failed to take action on (well within the partneralistic ideology) for fear of losing votes/seats. In WA pokies are banned outside the casino and we have not seen any uptake in other forms of gambling since this action – hence banning or placing betting limits only saves people money and society the cost of gambling addiction and the social ills it brings.

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