Role of the Speaker

The Parliament of Victoria has its basis in the British Westminster model of parliamentary practice.

Therefore the following statement of the British House of Commons' practice states succinctly the principal functions attached to the Office of Speaker which apply equally to the Office of Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly:

'The Speaker of the House of Commons is the representative of the House itself in its powers, proceedings and dignity. The Speaker's functions fall into two main categories. On the one hand the Speaker is the spokesperson or representative of the House in its relations with the Crown, the House of Lords and other authorities and persons outside Parliament. On the other hand, they preside over the debates of the House of Commons and enforces the observance of all rules for preserving order in its proceedings.'

Upon election, the Speaker becomes the House's principal officer. The Speaker is supported and assisted by the elected Deputy Speaker.

The Speaker is also known as the presiding officer of the Legislative Assembly.  The equivalent presiding officer in the Council is known as the President.

The Speaker's term of office continues (beyond the Parliament) until and including the day before the election of his or her successor (Constitution Act 1975 s 24).

The Speaker has the constant support and advice of the principal officers of the House, the Clerk, the Deputy Clerk, the Assistant Clerk Committees and the Assistant Clerk Procedure & Serjeant-at-Arms, who in turn have the support of officers in the areas for which they are responsible.  These officers are not elected members, rather they are permanent, bi-partisan staff of the Parliament.

In the order of precedence, the presiding officers rank after the Governor and the Premier, with the President of the Legislative Council preceding the Speaker unless the Speaker has served in the office for a greater period than the President.

The Speaker's powers, functions and duties may be categorised as:
constitutional;
traditional and ceremonial;
statutory;
procedural; and
administrative.