House of Representatives speaker stands down with praise across political divide

By Jackson Graham

October 28, 2021

Tony Smith
Tony Smith, former speaker of the house of representatives. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

House of Representatives speaker Tony Smith will step down from the role next month after previously announcing he would not contest the next election. 

He plans to quit as speaker on Monday, November 22, as parliament begins sitting again, with a new speaker to be elected the following day.

He said it was important for the parliament that he use coming weeks to work with new senate president Slade Brockman, elected last Monday. 

Smith will then go to the backbench and continue duties as Liberal MP for Casey. 

Smith replaced speaker Bronwyn Bishop following her resignation over a travel entitlements scandal in 2015, and he pledged to absent himself from the Liberal party room for the duration to protect his neutrality.

He said his decision to stand aside was not due to any disagreement he had with the government, but rather a decision to return to representing his constituents. 

“I want to spend my remaining time contributing inside and outside the House working exclusively for the people of Casey; without their support, I wouldn’t be in this place,” Smith said on Thursday. 

“It’s not because I’m tired of the job. I doubt I would ever tire of it. It’s certain not because I am tired of pulling minister or members into line … I relish it.” 

Both sides of politics have praised Smith as a respectable Speaker. 

Prime minister Scott Morrison referred to him as the House’s “finest speaker” who was “deeply respected”, while opposition leader Anthony Albanese described him as “outstanding”. 

“You have been one of the finest examples of parliamentarians of your generation,” Albanese said. 

Smith said his responsibilities of operating the House of Representatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, which have included overseeing the virtual appearances of MPs, had prolonged his time in the role.


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