Election of the Speaker

In Victoria the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is elected at the beginning of a new Parliament, or whenever the Office of Speaker becomes vacant.

At the opening of Parliament, after the members have been sworn in, a member of the Legislative Assembly — usually but not always the Premier — proposes another member to take the Chair as the Speaker. Another member seconds the proposal and then the member who has been nominated informs the House whether he or she accepts the proposal. Members of the Legislative Assembly have 30 seconds in which to make another proposal. If that does not happen, then the member is considered elected as Speaker.

Election by ballot

According to the standing orders (the rules which govern the daily work of the Legislative Assembly) if more than one member is proposed as Speaker the House votes to elect a Speaker by ballot. A ballot box is placed on the table of the House and members place the name of one of the candidates into the box.

A ballot was held in 1988 when the Member for Werribee, Dr Ken Coghill, was nominated by the then Premier, the Hon John Cain to be Speaker. This was seconded by the Hon Robert Fordham, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Dr Coghill, the Member for Werribee replied: 'I accept the nomination and express my deep sense of the honour accorded me in being proposed for the Speaker's chair'.

Following that nomination, the then Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Jeff Kennett, nominated the Member for Narracan, the Hon John Delzoppo for Speaker.

Because there were two nominations, the Clerk organised a ballot. Both the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition nominated scrutineers for the ballot and, after members voted by placing their ballot into the ballot box, the scrutineers counted the ballot with the Deputy Clerk. Dr Ken Coghill was elected Speaker.

In practice, the Office of the Speaker is usually filled by the nominee of the governing party or parties, who have the majority in the House.

The Office of the Speaker

In Victoria, and in other States and the Commonwealth, the Speaker continues to be a member of his or her political party. The Speaker can choose whether or not to attend party meetings.

The Speaker also must continue to carry out his or her ordinary electorate duties as a member of Parliament and must take part in an election campaign to be re-elected as a member of Parliament.