ACT Legislative Assembly


CHAPTER 2

SPEAKER, CHIEF MINISTER, DEPUTY SPEAKER, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND OFFICERS

This Chapter sets out the procedures for the election of the Speaker, the Chief Minister and the Deputy Speaker, confirmation of the Leader of the Opposition, and processes to deal with absences and vacancies in the offices of the Chief Minister, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Clerk.

Election of Speaker
Election Chief Minister
Election of Deputy Speaker
Leader of the Opposition
Absence of Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Vacancy in office of Speaker
Resignation of the Speaker
Vacancy in office of Chief Minister
Vacancy in office of Deputy Speaker
Absence of, and vacancy in office of, Clerk

Election of Speaker

2.     The election of the Speaker shall be conducted in the following manner:

A Member proposed as Speaker

(a)     At the first meeting of an Assembly after a general election, after the Members present have been sworn, or whenever the office of Speaker becomes vacant, a Member, addressing the Clerk, shall propose a Member who is present, to the Assembly for its Speaker and move that such Member take the Chair of the Assembly as Speaker. A Member when proposed shall inform the Assembly whether the nomination is accepted. (Amended 6 March 2008)

If unopposed, elected

(b)     The Clerk shall then ask if there is any further proposal and, if there is not, shall say that the time for proposals has expired. No Member may then address the Assembly or propose any other Member, and the Clerk shall declare the Member so proposed to have been elected as Speaker, and such Member shall take the Chair of the Assembly as Speaker. (Amended 6 March 2008)   

When two or more Members proposed

(c)     If more than one Member is proposed as Speaker, the Clerk shall, after the second proposal, and after each subsequent proposal (if any), is made, ask if there is any further proposal and, if there is not, the Clerk shall say that the time for proposals has expired.

Debate and speech limitation

(d)     When the time for proposals has expired, debate may ensue, but it shall be relevant to the election.

(e)     A Member may not speak for more than 5 minutes.

Election to be proceeded with

(f)     If all Members are not present, the bells shall be rung as in a vote and the election shall then proceed as provided in this standing order. (Amended 6 March 2008)   

Mode of decision between candidates

(g)     When only two candidates are proposed as Speaker, each Member shall deliver to the Clerk a ballot-paper in writing, containing the name of the candidate for whom that Member votes. The votes shall be counted by the Clerk and the candidate who has the greater number of votes shall be the Speaker, and take the Chair, provided the candidate also has a majority of the votes of the Members present and voting; if no candidate has such a majority a fresh ballot shall take place. If, after the counting of votes, neither candidate has the required majority the Clerk shall so declare. Thereupon the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes and when the Assembly reassembles the votes shall be taken again, unless this is rendered unnecessary by a withdrawal.

Mode of decision when more than two candidates

(h)     When more than two candidates are proposed, the votes shall be taken in like manner. The candidate who has the greatest number of votes shall be the Speaker, provided the candidate also has a majority of the votes of the Members present and voting; if no candidate has such majority, the name of the candidate having the smallest number of votes shall be excluded from subsequent ballots, and a fresh ballot shall take place. This shall be done as often as necessary, until one candidate is declared to be elected as Speaker by such majority, when that candidate shall take the Chair.

Withdrawal of candidate

(i)     At any time after the result of the first ballot is declared, but before the commencement of the second or subsequent ballot, a candidate may withdraw from the election which shall then proceed as if that candidate had not been proposed.

Equality of votes

(j)     If at any ballot it is impossible by reason of the equality of votes to determine which name shall be excluded from subsequent ballots, a special ballot shall take place at which there shall be submitted only the names of those candidates who have received equal votes. At such special ballot each Member shall write on a ballot-paper only the name of the candidate that Member wishes to retain. The candidate whose name appears upon the smallest number of ballot-papers shall then be excluded from subsequent ballots.

(k)     If by reason of equality of votes a ballot or special ballot is rendered inconclusive, the Clerk shall so declare and, unless by a withdrawal another ballot or (as the case may be) another special ballot is rendered unnecessary, another ballot or special ballot shall be taken. If, after the counting of votes, the equality continues the Clerk shall so declare. Thereupon the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes and when the Assembly reassembles the votes shall be taken again, unless this is rendered unnecessary by a withdrawal.

One candidate remaining

(l)     Whenever at any stage a withdrawal leaves only one candidate remaining that candidate shall, without further voting, be declared elected as Speaker and shall then take the Chair.

Speaker takes Chair

(m)     Having moved to the Chair, the Member elected returns acknowledgments to the Assembly for the honour conferred, and then sits in the Chair.

Election of Chief Minister

3.     The election of the Chief Minister shall be conducted in the following manner:

Member proposed by motion

(a)     At the first meeting of an Assembly after a general election and after the Speaker has been elected, or whenever the office of Chief Minister becomes vacant, or immediately following the agreement of a motion of want of confidence in a Chief Minister in accordance with standing order 81, a Member shall propose a Member as Chief Minister, and move that such Member be elected Chief Minister for the Territory.

A Member when proposed shall inform the Assembly whether the nomination is accepted. (Amended 6 March 2008)   

If unopposed, elected

(b)     The Speaker shall then ask if there is any further proposal and, if there is not, shall say that the time for proposals has expired. No Member may then address the Assembly or propose any other Member as Chief Minister. The Speaker shall then declare the Member proposed to have been elected as Chief Minister. (Amended 6 March 2008)   

When two or more Members proposed

(c)     If more than one Member is proposed as Chief Minister, the Speaker shall, after the second proposal and after each subsequent proposal (if any), ask if there is any further proposal and, if there is no further proposal, the Speaker shall say that the time for proposals has expired.

Debate and speech limitation

(d)     When the time for proposals has expired, debate may ensue, but it shall be relevant to the election.

(e)     A Member may not speak for more than 5 minutes.

Election to be proceeded with

(f)     If all Members are not present, the bells shall be rung as in a vote and the election shall then proceed as provided in this standing order. (Amended 6 March 2008)   

Mode of decision between candidates

(g)     When only two Members are proposed as Chief Minister, each Member shall deliver to the Clerk a ballot-paper in writing, containing the name of the candidate for whom that Member votes. The votes shall be counted by the Clerk and the candidate who has the greater number of votes shall be declared by the Speaker to be the Chief Minister, provided the candidate also has a majority of the votes of the Members present and voting; if no candidate has such a majority a fresh ballot shall take place. If, after the counting of votes, neither candidate has the required majority the Speaker shall so declare. Thereupon the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes and when the Assembly reassembles the votes shall be taken again, unless this is rendered unnecessary by a withdrawal.

Mode of decision when more than two candidates

(h)      When more than two Members are proposed as Chief Minister, the votes shall be taken in like manner. The candidate who has the greatest number of votes shall be the Chief Minister, provided the candidate also has a majority of the votes of the Members present and voting; if no candidate has such majority, the name of the candidate having the smallest number of votes shall be excluded from subsequent ballots, and a fresh ballot shall take place. This shall be done as often as necessary until one candidate is declared to be elected as Chief Minister by such majority.

Withdrawal of candidate

(i)     At any time after the result of the first ballot is declared, but before the commencement of the second or subsequent ballot, a candidate may withdraw from the election which shall then proceed as if that candidate had not been proposed.

Equality of votes

(j)     If at any ballot it is impossible by reason of the equality of votes to determine which name shall be excluded from subsequent ballots, a special ballot shall take place at which there shall be submitted only the names of those candidates who have received equal votes. At such special ballot each Member shall write on a ballot-paper only the name of the candidate that Member wishes to retain. The candidate whose name appears upon the smallest number of ballot-papers shall then be excluded from subsequent ballots.

(k)     If by reason of equality of votes a ballot or special ballot is rendered inconclusive, the Speaker shall so declare and, unless by a withdrawal another ballot or (as the case may be) another special ballot is rendered unnecessary, another ballot or special ballot shall be taken. If, after the counting of votes, the equality continues the Speaker shall so declare. Thereupon the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes and when the Assembly reassembles the votes shall be taken again, unless this is rendered unnecessary by a withdrawal.

One candidate remaining

(l)     Whenever at any stage a withdrawal leaves only one candidate remaining, that candidate shall, without further voting, be declared elected as Chief Minister.

Election of Deputy Speaker

4.     On the first day of meeting of the Assembly after an election, or whenever the office becomes vacant, a Member, not being a Minister, shall be elected by the Assembly to be Deputy Speaker.

5.     The election of the Deputy Speaker shall be conducted by the Speaker in a similar manner to the election of the Speaker.

Leader of the Opposition

5A.  The Leader of the Opposition of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory shall be the Leader of the largest non-government party with the consent of that Member. (Inserted 11 May 1989. Amended 21 June 1991)

5B.  In the event that the two largest non-government parties are of equal size, the Assembly may elect a Leader of the Opposition and the election shall be conducted by the Speaker in a similar manner to the election of Chief Minister. (Inserted 11 May 1989. Amended 21 June 1991)

Absence of Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Absence of Speaker

6.     Whenever the Assembly is meeting and is informed by the Clerk of the absence or impending absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, as Acting Speaker, shall perform the duties and have the powers of the Speaker as specified in the standing orders and continuing resolutions of the Assembly and in enactments. (Amended 6 March 2008)   

6A.   Whenever the Assembly is not meeting Members will be informed in writing by the Clerk of the absence or impending absence of the Speaker, and the Deputy Speaker, as Acting Speaker, shall perform the duties and have the powers of the Speaker as specified in the standing orders and continuing resolutions of the Assembly and in enactments.

In the event that both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are absent, Members will be informed in writing by the Clerk of those absences, and an Assistant Speaker, on the Speaker’s appointment, shall perform the duties and have the powers of the Speaker as specified above. (Inserted 6 March 2008. Amended 10 April 2014)

Speaker relieved by Deputy

7.     The Deputy Speaker shall take the Chair whenever requested to do so by the Speaker during a sitting of the Assembly.

Assistant Speakers

8.     The Speaker shall nominate at the commencement of every Assembly not more than 4 Members, not being Ministers, any one of whom shall act as Assistant Speaker. The Speaker may revoke the nomination of any Member. An Assistant Speaker may resign in writing to the Speaker. (Amended 6 March 2008, 13 December 2016)   

Absence of Speaker and Deputy Speaker

9.     Whenever the Assembly is informed by the Clerk of the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the Members present may at once proceed to elect in the manner provided in standing order 2 one of their number who shall, subject to any other order of the Assembly, perform the duties of the Speaker during that absence. Otherwise the Assembly stands adjourned to the next sitting day.

Speaker relieved by Assistant Speaker

10.   The Speaker, or Deputy Speaker, may call on any of the Assistant Speakers to take the Chair.

Vacancy in office of Speaker

11.   When a vacancy has occurred in the office of the Speaker the Clerk shall report this to the Assembly as soon as possible, and the Assembly shall forthwith proceed to the election of a Speaker using the manner provided for in standing order 2. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Resignation of the Speaker

11A.  A Member may resign from the position of Speaker, in writing, to the Clerk, and the resignation shall take effect upon receipt by the Clerk. If the Assembly is meeting when the Clerk receives the written notice of the resignation of the Speaker, the Clerk shall take action in accordance with standing order 11. If the Assembly is not meeting when the Clerk receives a written notice of resignation from the Speaker, the Clerk shall inform all Members in writing of the resignation, and the election of the Speaker shall take precedence over all other business at the next meeting of the Assembly. (Inserted 6 March 2008)

Vacancy in office of Chief Minister

12.  When a vacancy has occurred in the office of the Chief Minister the Speaker shall report this to the Assembly as soon as possible, and the Assembly shall forthwith proceed to the election of a Chief Minister in the manner provided for in standing order 3. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Vacancy in office of Deputy Speaker

13.  The Deputy Speaker may resign office by writing to the Speaker. When a vacancy has occurred in the office of the Deputy Speaker the Speaker shall report this to the Assembly as soon as possible, and the Assembly shall forthwith proceed to the election of a Deputy Speaker in the manner provided for in standing order 5. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Absence of, and vacancy in office of, Clerk

Unavoidable absence of Clerk

14.  In the case of an unavoidable absence of the Clerk, all the duties of the Clerk shall be performed by the Deputy Clerk.

Vacancy in office of Clerk

15.  During any vacancy in the office of Clerk, or while the Clerk is absent from duty, all powers, functions and duties of the Clerk shall be exercised and performed by the Deputy Clerk.

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Page last updated on 30 May 2016
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT