- Has held Victorian seat of Casey since 2001
- Former parliamentary secretary to John Howard
- Has spoken in favour of electoral reform
- Widely respected in Liberal ranks
- Collects old Holdens, barracks for Carlton
Mr Smith has been described by colleagues as both mild-mannered and an “absolute revhead”, but unlike his predecessor Brown Bishop, Mr Smith has said he will remove himself from party room tactics while he holds the position.
“I will not be attending weekly party meetings.
“It’s my view that the Speaker should not only be, but also should be seen to be, independent of the partisan day-to-day fray.
“Can I say thank everyone for their generous remarks. I just want to make a few remarks in response.
“Can I say, as everyone has done in this debate, recognise Member for Mackellar who I known for nearly 30 years, who has been a wonderful servant of our Party. I want to recognise her at the outset.
“Can I thank the House for the confidence you have placed in me. There is no greater honour in the Parliament than to be elected by one’s peers. I’m a servant of this House and all of its members”.
“There is, however, a mutual obligation between presiding officers and individual members,” Mr Smith continued.
“I want to say at the outset I will give a fair go to all on the floor of this Chamber but, in return, I do expect a level of discourse that reflects that. Parliament is a robust place. It should be a robust place. It is where we battle our view of a better Australia. It is the arena for the battle of ideas and ideals.
“I make that point because often people say Parliament shouldn’t be robust. It should. But it needn’t be rude and it needn’t be loud. That is something I’d like to see improved.”
“I am going to make it a practice periodically to meet with the Leader of the House, the Manager of Opposition Business and Independent members to discuss the operation of Parliament. I will have more to say on that during the course of this fortnight”.