Parliament opens, Peter Wellington elected speaker

THERE was nothing but praise, claps and smiles from both sides of politics for Nicklin MP Peter Wellington when he was officially elected as Parliament's new Speaker.

Mr Wellington made history on Tuesday as being the first independent speaker in about a century in the Queensland Parliament.

The previous independent speaker was Lockyer MP William Armstrong, who had the chair until April 1915, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg was given the important task of overseeing the official nomination of the speaker's position when Parliament returned for the first time since the election.Mr Springborg is the Southern Downs MP and is the longest serving member, having been first elected in 1989 when he was 21 years old.

He called for nominations for the speaker's position and Ms Palaszczuk officially suggested Mr Wellington, saying he was a true independent and would stand up for people in need.


She also said it was Mr Wellington who had pushed for community cabinet meetings to be opened up to the public and for residents to ask the Premier questions.

"The Member for Nicklin has a well-earned reputation for impartiality and integrity," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"He believes fundamentally in openness and accountability."Mr Wellington said fairness, equality and justice were the cornerstone of his life.The former police officer and solicitor said robust debate was a part of parliament operations but he would make sure there was genuine debate and questions and answers were relevant.

Mr Wellington said he would vote as he chose in proposed law changes but stressed any vote against Labor would not be a vote of no confidence.

"I want to reassure Queenslanders that my election as Speaker will not prevent me from continuing to be a strong voice and advocate for the people I represent and for matters that are dear to my heart," he said.

He also officially thanked his wife Jenny, saying she was his researcher, campaign manager, wordsmith and best mate and his political career would not exist without her.

Mr Springborg said the LNP would be co-operative and constructive but they had to ensure the government was tested.

"In testing the government it is important that we are prepared to acknowledge those things which have broad support and which we can support as well," he said.

- APN NEWSDESK


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