Constructed Worlds Wiki
Advertisement

The Speaker of the Georgeland House of Commons is the presiding officer of the Georgeland House of Commons. The office has existed since 1891, and is modelled on the Speaker of the British House of Commons. It was created by the Constitution of Georgeland.  The Speaker determines the order of speakers on debates and maintains order in the chamber. He or she is empowered to punish members for disorderly behaviour, usually by suspension.  The current Speaker is the Hon. Albert Doody MP. He is the first Speaker to be elected as an Independent MP. The Speaker has two Deputy Speakers also elected by the House, who take the chair upon the Speaker being unable to do so. The Firrst Deputy Speaker is Ingrid Van Der Stam (Independent) and the Second Deputy Speaker is Roger Logan (Ita).

Election[]

The Speaker is elected by the House in a secret ballot, using the instant-runoff system. Before 2010, the Speaker's election was a motion of the House, with a nominating member (usually from the government) moving "that the Member for [X] take the Chair of the this House as Speaker". This would then be seconded by another MP, and other nominations recieved the same way. If there were multiple nominations, they would each be voted on, a process that could take an hour or more. The government, as it is always the majority in the House, would always nominate the candidate it wanted, and thus it was merely a formality.

In 2010, the system was altered to a secret ballot. Nominations are still recieved in the same manner, however, once all are recieved the House votes in secret using ballot papers, ranking the candidates in order of preference. Because the vote is secret, it is possible for the government candidate to lose. This has not happened to date, although votes for deputy speakers have been won by opposition candidates. 

During the nomination and voting process, the longest-serving backbench member of the house, referred to as the Dean of the House of Commons, acts as presiding officer. Before 1979, this role was filled by the Clerk, the only circumstances under which a non-member could preside. 

Once a candidate has been declared elected, they are ceremonially 'dragged' to the Chair by their colleagues, normally the mover and seconder of their nomination. This is a tradition common to many Westminster parliaments, and stems from a time when the Speakership was a dangerous office, and Speakers could be elected against their will. 

When a Speaker dies or resigns, the First and Second Deputy Speakers, in that order, act as Speaker with all the powers of the office. However, Standing Orders dictate that if the Speakership is vacant, it must be filled as soon as possible. 

Elections for Speaker are held at the beginning of every new Parliament, and if a member is already Speaker they retain the Chair during the process. If they are nominated for re-election, their nominator will move "that the Speaker retain the Chair". 

The Speaker can be removed by a vote of no-confidence from the whole house. As of 2019, this has never happened.

While the Speaker is usually a government MP, it is not a requirement for the position. In 2019, Independent MP Albert Doody was elected Speaker with the government's nomination. This was mostly for practical reasons - the government had a majority of one, and upon one of their own being elected Speaker they would have lost practical control of the chamber. 

Role[]

The Speaker's role is defined mostly by tradition and Standing Orders. The Constitution specifies that the Speaker is the presiding officer of the House, but gives little other detail as to their role.

The Speaker's primary responsibility is to keep order in the House, decide the order of speeches, rule on points of order and uphold the Standing Orders. 

The Speaker nominates Temporary Chairs of Committees, who are backbench MPs selected to preside over noncontroversial sessions. These take place in the Committee of the Whole, during which time the standing orders are somewhat relaxed. Unlike the Deputy Speakers, these positions are named entirely by the Speaker, but for reasons of politics and impartiality, he or she always consults the party whips before making selections. 

Disciplinary matters are the responsibility of the Speaker, or whoever is acting as Speaker. Under Standing Orders, the Speaker may warn any member of the House, and if the warning is ignored, the Speaker is empowered to eject them from the chamber for either one hour or the remainder of the sitting day. These suspensions are colloquially referred to, especially in the press, as "yellow carding" or "red carding", referencing the disciplinary practices of football referess. Yellow carding an MP is automatic, but the Speaker must permit the House to vote on a red carding; as a result they are somewhat rare. In 2017, during the debate on the nomination of Charlton Robards as President of Georgeland and the subsequent motion of no-confidence, Speaker Greg Seegert (himself a football referee in amateur leagues) used literal red and yellow cards to express his rulings. There was no standing order to permit or forbid this; Seegert did so in order to make a point about the unruly nature of the debate, and did not use them again. During this debate a record number of MPs were yellow-carded (32), but none were red-carded. 

The Speaker, along with the President of the Senate, is responsible for the administration of the Houses of Parliament and its precinct. Each chamber has its own Library and accomodation; the Speaker is responsible for these alone, and shares responsibility with the President of the Senate for joint areas. In this respect the Speaker can be considered as the 'minister' for the parliament, and can be questioned by members as any minister can be. Questions to the Speaker take place daily after Question Time and are usually routine. 

A member who wishes to resign expresses this desire to the Speaker, who announces it to the House. The Speaker formally meets with the President of Georgeland on occasion when the President is to address the chambers - by convention this happens only at the opening of a session, but there is a constitutional provision permitting it at other times. The Speaker leads Members to the Senate chamber during joint sessions to hear addresses by the President. 

Impartiality[]

In many Westminster parliaments, the Speaker is required or encouraged to resign from their party upon election. Georgeland does not follow this convention, and Speakers continue to stand as party candidates. However, they are expected to conduct their job with impartiality, and most have taken this expectation seriously. Most Speakers have recused themselves from meetings of their parties, and some have not even taken part in the election of party leaders. 

The Speaker does not take part in debates (though there is no rule forbidding it) and does not vote in the House unless there is a tied vote. This tie-breaking role is rarely exercised, but can and has be during tight Divisions when the government has a small minority. In accordance with Speaker Denison's Rule, the general practice when casting a tie vote has been to vote to retain the status quo, rather than create a majority that would otherwise not exist. The only time this rule, which is merely a convention, was not followed was in 2002, when Speaker Janet Morris cast a tie-breaking vote in favour of the Workplace Relations (Registration of Trade Unions Amendment) Act. 

Dress and procedures[]

Dress and regalia[]

The Speaker's traditional dress mirrors that of their House of Commons counterpart, consiting of a black gown, wing collar, full-bottomed wig and lace jabot. Use of the dress is entirely at the Speaker's discretion, and modern Speakers have eschewed some or all of it in favour of a standard business suit. Labour speakers after John Bennetton (1958) did not wear any of the regalia. 

The last Speaker to wear the wig, jabot and cuffs was Eric Bronson in 1981, but Conservative speakers continued to wear the gown until Martin Higgins' election in 1995. Higgins instead opted to wear a business suit only. The court dress remains the Speaker's official regalia, and is kept in the Speaker's office. 

In 2019, new Speaker Albert Doody chose to wear a white tie while presiding - this was not an official change to the dress code and reflected the Speaker's personal choice. 

Manner of address[]

Traditionally, male Speakers are referred to as "Mister Speaker" and female Speakers as "Madam Speaker." Members must address the Speaker in this manner or be ruled out of order. One exception was on the retirement of Janet Morris as Speaker in 2004; Prime Minister Charlton Robards breached the rule by referring to her by her personal name; the Speaker permitted the indulgence. 

Speakers are permitted the honorific of "The Honourable" for life, much as current and former ministers. Some, but not all, have been given the style "The Right Honourable" after their retirement. 

Salary and entitlements[]

The Speaker's salary as of 2019 was $218,382 per year, as set by the Independent Parliamentary and Civil Remuneration Tribunal. In addition, the Speaker is entitled to travel allowance as if he or she were a Cabinet Minister, and a generous entertaining and hospitality budget for the hosting of foreign dignitaries. 

List of Speakers of the House of Commons[]

Member Party Term in Office
Hon Sir Ronald Parkhurst Conservative 1891 - 1896
Hon Sir Geoffrey Manson Conservative 1896 - 1901
Hon Peter Brockton Conservative 1901-1903
Hon Nelson Branton Protectionist 1903-1905
Hon Philip Massingbird Protectionist 1905-1908
Hon Hugh Kalter Protectionist 1908 - 1911
Hon George Walker Labour 1911-1915
Hon Andrew Anderson Conservative 1915-1918
Hon George Douglas Conservative 1918-1922
Hon Francis Anthony Conservative 1922-1924
Hon Humphrey Grant Labour 1924-1928
Hon Louis Mitchell Conservative 1928-1930
Hon Francis Anthony Conservative 1930-1935
Hon George Brown Labour 1935-1938
Hon Douglas Harrod Labour 1938-1943
Hon Michael Emerson Labour 1943-1949
Hon John Bennetton Conservative 1950-1954
Hon Benjamin Thorpe Labour 1954-1958
Hon Gregory Hudson Conservative 1958-1961
Hon Bernard Massey Conservative 1961-1964
Hon Roland Carp Conservative 1964-1967
Hon Arthur Lightfoot Conservative 1967-1970
Hon Michael G. Pickett Labour 1970-1971
Hon Donald Arthur Labour 1971-1973
Hon Liam Robinson Labour 1973-1979
Hon Nathanial Proctor-Bryce Conservative 1979-1981
Hon Eric Bronson Conservative 1981
Hon Martin Payne Conservative 1981-1983
Hon Kevin Lane Labour 1983-1987
Hon Stephen Harrington Democratic 1987-1991
Hon Andrew Fletcher Labour 1991-1992
Hon Carol West Labour 1992-1995
Hon Martin Higgins Conservative 1995
Hon Michael Boyle Labour 1995-1997
Hon Janet Morris Labour 1997-2004
Hon Andrew Hindle Liberal/Liberal Democrat 2004-2006
Hon Bill Williamson Liberal Democrat 2006-2007
Hon Joan Staley Conservative 2007-2010
Hon Ronald Williams Liberal Democrat 2010-2013
Hon Greg Seegert Liberal Democrat 2013-2019
Hon Albert Doody Independent 2019-
Advertisement