The newest Speaker of the House of Representatives has welcomed the challenge of restoring order and respect to the Australian parliament.
Queensland MP Milton Dick was elected 32nd Speaker by his parliamentary colleagues on Tuesday, pledging to allow spirited debate in a respectful manner and acknowledging predecessors who had made the same promise.
“The difference is the people of Australia sent a very clear message on how they expect politics to be conducted, they want something different,” he told parliament.
Mr Dick said his priorities would be ensuring an inclusive parliament that was also a safe workplace for all.
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“My message to every member of this place is simple: my door is open,” he said.
Before his election to federal parliament in 2016, Mr Dick was formerly a Brisbane City councillor and Queensland Labor state secretary.
He will no longer attend Labor partyroom meetings to fulfil his requirement as an impartial Speaker.
Mr Dick was described as a generous soul, careful listener, thoughtful and reasonable with a “prodigious memory for numbers”.
While the opposition endorsed former speaker Andrew Wallace for the role, leader Peter Dutton congratulated Mr Dick on securing the position.
In a secret ballot, Mr Dick won 96 votes to Mr Wallace’s 56.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese congratulated the new Speaker on his election and thanked Mr Wallace for his service.
NSW Labor MP Sharon Claydon was elected deputy speaker and WA Liberal MP Ian Goodenough the second deputy.
A series of ceremonial events marked the opening of Australia’s 47th parliament.
The 151 members of the lower house were sworn in and pledged their allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors.
Among them, seven new independents took their places among the 15-strong crossbench and celebrated with hugs and handshakes.
In an address, Governor-General David Hurley asked parliamentarians to unite the nation during the next term of government.
Speaking at the welcome to country ceremony earlier, Mr Albanese urged his colleagues to make the most of their time in parliament.
His government is set to hit the ground running, introducing 18 pieces of legislation in the first week.
On the prime minister’s initial legislative agenda are the aged care, labour, climate and domestic violence crises.
Proposed aged care reforms include putting nurses into nursing homes, stopping high administration and management fees, and improving the integrity and accountability of residential facilities.
Labor intends to enshrine a 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 into a law that will also require the climate minister to report annually to parliament on Australia’s progress.
A proposal to introduce 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave will be unveiled.
In the jobs and skills sector, the government will propose a new statutory body to provide independent advice on workforce needs and help tackle Australia’s labour crisis.
During an evening condolence motion, the parliament paid tribute to former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe who was shot and killed earlier this month.