Parliament elects newest Speaker of House

Queensland MP Milton Dick has been elected as the 32nd Speaker of the House of Representatives.

First elected to federal parliament in 2016, Mr Dick was formerly a Brisbane City councillor and Queensland Labor state secretary.

Mr Dick was described as a generous soul, careful listener, thoughtful and reasonable with a “prodigious memory for numbers” by his colleagues.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


“I have no doubt he would earn this place’s respect in his role as Speaker,” Labor MP Susan Templeman said.

The opposition endorsed former speaker Andrew Wallace for the role.

Liberal MP Karen Andrews said Mr Wallace was an experienced parliamentarian and urged her colleagues and the crossbench to consider him for the role.

“I would urge the new members of parliament to consider his experience as a previous Speaker of the House,” she said.

“This is in a sense the very first test of your independence … you can consider candidates on their merits.”

A secret ballot awarded the role to Mr Dick with 92 votes to Mr Wallace’s 56.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese congratulated the new Speaker on his election and thanked Mr Wallace for his service.

“One of the things I’ve noticed about (Mr Dick) is that people will come to you for assistance and guidance,” he said.

“I’m absolutely convinced that you will be outstanding (as Speaker) as well.”

The election of the Speaker was the first in a series of ceremonial features to mark the opening of Australia’s 47th parliament.

It sprung to life after 151 lower house members descended on Canberra’s Capital Hill.

Each was sworn in and pledged their allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors.

Among them, six new independents took their place among the 18-strong crossbench and celebrated with hugs and handshakes.

Speaking at the welcome to country ceremony earlier, Mr Albanese urged his colleagues to make the most of their time in parliament.

His government is set to hit the ground running, introducing 18 pieces of legislation in the first week.

On the prime minister’s initial legislative agenda are the aged care, labour, climate and domestic violence crises.

Proposed aged care reforms include putting nurses into nursing homes, stopping high administration and management fees and improving the integrity and accountability of residential facilities.

Labor intends to enshrine a 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 into a law that will also require the climate minister to report annually to parliament on Australia’s progress.

A proposal to introduce 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave will be unveiled.

In the jobs and skills sector, the government will propose a new statutory body to provide independent advice on workforce needs and help tackle Australia’s labour crisis.

Governor-General David Hurley will address all members of parliament, outlining the priorities of the new government in the next three years.

Four new MPs elected on May 21 will make their first speeches to parliament in the evening.

Labor MPs Sally Sitou (Reid) and Zaneta Mascarenhas (Swan) will begin followed by Liberal MP Aaron Violi (Casey) and independent MP Zoe Daniel (Goldstein).

© AAP 2022