Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Torbay to Speak

Independent MP Richard Torbay has announced that he has been selected as the first independent speaker in NSW to be chosen despite a clear parliamentary majority won by one party.

Torbay is the member for the Northern Tablelands, a seat which he not only won with an astounding 70% of the primary vote in 2003, but won again this year with a further 10% on primaries. He is well known for being the kingmaker of the Independent movement - ABC's Stateline had an insightful report last year on exactly how well organised and integrated a movement this is - and also for not being backward in coming forward (some have suggested his ultimate aim is to be the first Independent Premier of NSW).

It's an interesting decision on the part of the newly elected Labor government. Certainly, it will be seen as a way to increase accountability and impartiality within the parliamentary chamber. The unspectacular conduct of Federal speaker David Hawker demonstrates that a poor or biased Speaker leads to a poor quality of parliamentary debate. However, Torbay has also made demands on behalf of his own electorate in taking the position. I'm not sure how that would sit with the Opposition. Labor's Paul Lynch - an extraordinarily uncompromising politician who wouldn't have made life easy for either side of the chamber - was reportedly asked to fill the position but turned it down.

The complete cabinet is expected to be announced later today.


At 1:51 pm, Anonymous Guy said...

I think this is an excellent and brave decision by Iemma. Uncharacteristically so for a major party politician of any particular stripe!

At 2:40 pm, Anonymous milltown pete said...

An independent Speaker in a Parliament with such a substantial majority smacks a little egalitarian-showmanship. The Speaker's lost vote on the floor sometimes causes difficulty in tight or volatile Houses but this seems like an extension of the "We Are Listening To You" pitch.
I am sure the fact that this will also encourage Independents to target Lib/Nat sitting Members rather than Labor hardly crossed his mind.

At 3:23 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

So cynical, Milltown Pete!

But some pertinent points.

At 8:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lynch must have turned it down having been guaranteed a ministry surely.

has the ministry been announced by the way>?

At 10:19 am, Blogger Minotaur said...

The Ministry's being announced later today.

I had wondered whether that was why Lynch had turned it down too - but I just can't see him as a Minister, he's just too uncompromising. Who knows - perhaps he conceded that, or perhaps they'll put him in a portfolio that requires someone to be particularly uncompromising!

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