Andrew Wallace is the new speaker of the House of Representatives as the government sits for a final fortnight and an election looms in the first half of next year.
The Liberal backbencher and MP for Fisher, covering Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, entered politics in 2016.
His early career involved owning a building business, becoming a barrister and practising construction law.
The move comes as Tony Smith, who became speaker in 2015, steps down from the role as he prepares to resign from politics at the next election.
Smith said last month the reason for handing over the speaker to a new candidate was to ensure he spent his remaining time focused on his own electorate of Casey.
Wallace won the vote for speaker 70 votes to 59, with Labor also putting forward Rob Mitchell as a candidate.
Wallace paid tribute to Smith, saying he was “one of the very best to take this chair”.
Wallace, in line with his predecessor’s commitment, said he would not sit in the Liberal party room while he was speaker for “at least” the duration of the current parliament.
“It is important for whoever sits in this chair to not only be fair and independent, but be seen to be so,” he told parliament on Tuesday.
The government is required to hold an election before the end of May, with experts tipping the date could be anytime from March.
Wallace outlined his expectations that the House of Representatives be reflective of conviction, respect, humility and kindness.
“I want Australians to be proud of our democracy and those that serve them,” he said.
“The competition of ideas is necessarily robust. I do not expect this house to be like a monastical library but we owe it to the people of Australia that it does not descend into a political Colosseum.
“The first two and a half years of this parliament have brought unexpected challenges; I have no doubt the remaining period of this term will have its own surprises in store.”