Speaker concerned at threat to independence
The speaker of Queensland’s Parliament today voiced his objections to proposals to change the way Parliament is administered and managed, accusing MPs behind the changes of “discourtesy”.
Mr John Mickel said the Committee System Review Committee had proposed that Parliament be managed by a committee chaired by the leader of government business in the House and including nominees of the Premier and Deputy Premier among its six members.
“These recommendations have far-reaching consequences for the role of Speaker and the sovereignty of Parliament. The speaker is specifically excluded from the new management committee of the parliament,” Mr Mickel said in a statement to MPs at the beginning of today’s sitting of parliament.
He questioned the reasoning behind the proposal, saying there were never concerns raised about the way the Parliament was run during his meetings with the Speaker’s Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives from both sides and the Independents.
Mr Mickel said: “No one was aware that the review committee was considering changes to the way Parliament is managed and administered.”
He was concerned that the committee did not seek a widening of its terms of reference to authorise its inquiries and legitimise its recommendations, and said the proposals were contrary to the way every other Westminster parliament was run.
“The transfer of management responsibility for this parliament to the new Committee of the Legislative Assembly, given its composition, in my view represents a serious violation of the separation of powers that underpins our democratic system of government.
“I believe very strongly that the best interests of the Parliament are served by having an independent impartial Speaker chairing the management committee.”
Mr Mickel responded to critics who said he had been discourteous.
“I have been criticised for showing discourtesy to the committee by speaking out against its recommendations in December last year — recommendations, mind you, that in my view did not fall within the committee’s terms of reference. However, what courtesy was shown to me or, more importantly, to the office I hold?”