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Life is looking up

Greens take Speaker role

By Gungahlin Al - 6 November 2008 48

[First filed: November 05, 2008 @ 11:01]

ABC is reporting that Shane Rattenbury has been elected Speaker of the Assembly.

“Interesting times” indeed.

[ED – So we’ve now got signs of real compromise from Labor. Also Shane would appear to have been cast out of the sewing circle leaving the ladies free to undertake the politicking.]

UPDATED: The Greens have now got a media release up:

    ““I understand the role of Speaker is a demanding one, and it will be a fairly steep learning curve to start. But I am confident, with my legal training and recent experience in leading the Greenpeace delegation at the vital climate change negotiations in Bali, I will develop the necessary skills quickly.”

    “There has also been a lot of argument between ALP and the Liberal parties about the need to have a ‘government’ or an ‘anti-government’ Speaker. As a member of the third party in this Assembly I am confident I will be able to find a non partisan approach in managing the business in the chamber.”

    “I am also looking forward to building on the work of the past Speaker in looking to give the Assembly a stronger role on in public life.”

    “The ACT Assembly is a small and flexible parliament and it is usual for the Speaker to also contribute to the development of legislation and debate. I intend adding to that record by taking an active role in pursuing key issues, climate change in particular” Mr Rattenbury said.”

But what do we think of a speaker who doesn’t wear a tie?

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly:

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48 Responses to
Greens take Speaker role
Thumper 3:58 pm 05 Nov 08

I posted a complete list of ALP election promises before the election so it’s all there for everyone to see. If it can be found in the dark annals of RA knowledge repository, that is.

Watch for the angry voice bellowing at the newbie Greens as soon as they raise a query or question the man.

We could have some fun times coming up 😉

housebound 3:53 pm 05 Nov 08

The Greens got some of their platform on the agreement, but not a lot of really solid stuff. The argy bargy over the data centre is a very good example: looks good on paper, but has little in the way of practical outcomes lining up with a Greens election promise. My only surprise is that this type of thing happened out so soon.

As for Labor policy disappearing – that’s easy for the motivated: just get hold of that Treasury election promises costings document and tick them off as they fail to show.

The Committees have less power than people realise. They can scrutinise, report and recommend, but the Executive has the choice over whether to adopt or not. It all sounds idealistic and nice, but in reality, it is all care and faux power without genuine responsibility.

Given Stanhope’s past performance in minority and majority government, I think the Greens have settled for far too little. The only question is how this will play out. Perhaps I’m more pessimistic about it all.

Thumper 3:52 pm 05 Nov 08

GA is onto something here. I think we will see the Libs backing Labor to push through things that the Greens don’t like, or don’t want.

Maybe we will see true government rather than just opposition for the sake of it?

LG 3:47 pm 05 Nov 08

It will also be interesting to see what the Liberals can manage over the next short while, considering they won’t get to Chair any of the interesting / important committees.

Depending on how the Labor/Green alliance works out (eg if the Greens take an opposing stand to Labor on any issue), it could be worse than Labor majority government as the Liberals can be effectively sidelined in the committee process.

Gungahlin Al 3:42 pm 05 Nov 08

I understand from JR, who was watching the Assembly stream, that Mary Porter was put in as Deputy Speaker, and so the Liberals have come away from the whole process quite empty-handed. It wasn’t reported on the ABC as all news resources seem to be tilted towards the Obama win in the US.

Meanwhile, could this have been the slowest day ever for RA, as everyone’s been watching the US votes come in? I’m sure we’ll all be back at it tomorrow…

By the way, how will you measure Labor-policy-quietly-backburnered because it couldn’t get Greens support in this term?

It may be that some ALP policies would get up with Liberals support. After all, something that doesn’t get Greens support may be more to the liking of how Liberals think. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – a benefit of minority government is supposed to be having issues voted on their merit rather than the “it’s either a government idea or it doesn’t get up” outcome of a majority government.

caf 2:43 pm 05 Nov 08

There is more to government than the Executive – the Speaker and Committee roles are quite powerful in subjecting legislation and government actions to properly scrutiny, and the Greens have managed to get quite a bit of their platform at least notionally on the government agenda.

You are of course right to wait for more actual outcomes, but the election of a non-government Speaker is a pretty clear step in the direction of more Greens influence. By the way, how will you measure Labor-policy-quietly-backburnered because it couldn’t get Greens support in this term?

housebound 2:30 pm 05 Nov 08

Nice surprise, but:

Thumper said :

Cabinet will remain the same old bunch from last time


housebound said :

It’s a shame. I’d rather see [Rattenbury] out there in the debate. At least he might not do what Labor tells him to, I hope.

As for Green’s influence, the Speaker doesn’t have that much say – why else was Wayne Berry chosen last time?

Clearly a vote for Greens was a vote for Stanhope. I still say we have a Labor-GreenLabor majority government until I see some real outcomes on something that Labor doesn’t support.

caf 1:43 pm 05 Nov 08

Ahh, but the point is that the Greens have obtained real influence in the Assembly – it really isn’t the “business as usual” that people would have got had they voted Labor instead of Green. So it’s clear that a vote for the Greens was not simply equivalent to a vote for Labor (or anyone else).

thetruth 1:34 pm 05 Nov 08

caf said :

The events of the last week seem to have put the lie to the various claims along the lines of “A vote for the Greens is a wasted vote / vote for the Liberals / vote for Labor”, anyway.

We have a labor governemnt – A vote for the greens WAS a vote for labor. Unless there is a magical doubling of the Green vote then they can claim to be a stand alone party.That would require some substantial shifts away from one or both of the majors. I just don’t see it happening (but is more likely that the greens will be able to move labor voters into their fold than libs in the numbers required to be an real alternative Government in their own right) If they are smart they will make life very difficult for Stanhope (this MAY even bring green libs into the equation).

jimbocool 12:09 pm 05 Nov 08

Yes, Caf, the Speaker has a deliberative vote (Standing Order 160) there is no need for a casting vote as a tied vote counts as a loss (SO 161)

deezagood 11:52 am 05 Nov 08

Wow – surprising news, interesting news …. good news (I think).

caf 11:46 am 05 Nov 08

The events of the last week seem to have put the lie to the various claims along the lines of “A vote for the Greens is a wasted vote / vote for the Liberals / vote for Labor”, anyway.

caf 11:45 am 05 Nov 08

The Speaker still has a deliberative vote in the Assembly, right? I don’t think this is taking Rattenbury completely out of the equation.

Anyway, a good move by the Greens, and Labor throwing their support in was smart too – it seems to have wrongfooted the Liberals.

jimbocool 11:25 am 05 Nov 08

Looks like the Green’s dangerous maverick got the job :-). Another national first I believe – first Green presiding member in any Australian partliament?

A total washout for the Libs then, I assume Mary Porter was elected as Deputy Speaker. I doubt the Libs will even get a committee chair – they are really reduced to a rump.

So Parliamentary Convenor Hunter will get extra pay once the Remuneration Tribunal makes a determination on what the Leader of the Greens (who are now accorded Party status) should get. Shane gets a bulging pay packet as Speaker (and extra staff).Presumably Amanda Bresnan will get to be Greens Whip and pocket an extra allowance. Caroline Le Couteur will just have to make do with a Committee chair.

Tetranitrate 11:10 am 05 Nov 08

Well this is interesting…

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