Tony Smith (Victorian politician)

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Tony Smith

MP
Tony Smith March 2017 cropped.jpg
30th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
Assumed office
10 August 2015
Deputy Bruce Scott
Mark Coulton
Kevin Hogan
Llew O'Brien
Preceded by Bronwyn Bishop
Member of the Australian Parliament
Assumed office
10 November 2001
Preceded by Michael Wooldridge
Personal details
Born
Anthony David Hawthorn Smith

(1967-03-13) 13 March 1967 (age 54)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s)Pam Read
Children2
Alma mater University of Melbourne
OccupationPolitical adviser

Anthony David Hawthorn Smith (born 13 March 1967) is an Australian politician who is the 30th and current Speaker of the House of Representatives. He has been a Liberal Party Member of the House of Representatives since 2001, representing the Division of Casey in Victoria.

Contents

Early life and education

Smith was born in Melbourne, to parents Alan Smith, a chemistry teacher, and Noel Smith, a medical secretary. Tony was the youngest child, with two older sisters: Christine (born 1960) and Heather (born 1962). He was educated first at Kerrimuir Primary School in Box Hill North before attending Carey Baptist Grammar School in Kew. He studied Commerce and Arts (Hons) at The University of Melbourne. He was president of the Melbourne University Liberal Club, and is now an honorary life member.

Political career

After completing his education, Smith was a research assistant at the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative think-tank, before becoming first a media adviser and then a senior political adviser to Peter Costello, the then-Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Treasurer.

In parliament

On 23 January 2007, Smith was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, John Howard. He managed to hold his seat of Casey by a considerable margin at the federal election in November of that year, although the Liberal-National Coalition was defeated. On 22 September 2008, Smith was appointed Shadow Assistant Treasurer by Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull. [1] Smith had previously been Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training. [2] He was appointed Shadow Minister for Communications in a reshuffle which took place on 8 December 2009. [3]

When Malcolm Turnbull's hold on the Liberal leadership became terminal, it was speculated that Smith was part of a "two-Tony" ticket in which Smith would be the running mate of Tony Abbott in a leadership challenge. Although Abbott successfully challenged Turnbull for the Liberal leadership on 1 December 2009, Smith was not Abbott's running mate, and Julie Bishop remained deputy under Abbott.

Despite the speculation that they would make a leadership team in 2009, Abbott and Smith do not seem to be close as Abbott demoted Smith after the 2010 election. When Smith sought the speakership in 2015, it is understood that Abbott as Prime Minister backed rival contender Russell Broadbent as the Government's candidate for Speaker over Smith. In 2015, the Daily Telegraph reported that there was an "internal view" in the Liberal Party that Abbott blamed Smith for the Coalition's narrow loss at the 2010 election due to Smith's perceived mishandling of the Coalition's broadband policy when Shadow Communications Minister. [4]

In the new Abbott shadow ministry announced after the August 2010 election, Smith was appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Tax Reform and Deputy chairman, Coalition Policy Development Committee. [5]

He was interviewed extensively in the ABC documentary The Howard Years . [6]

Speaker of the House

Following the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker of the House of Representatives in August 2015 over entitlement rorts dating back a decade, the Liberal Party nominated Smith as the party's candidate to replace Bishop. The House of Representatives elected Smith unopposed. [7] [8] He has pledged to absent himself from the Liberal party room for the duration of his speakership to protect the neutrality of the chair. [9] [10] He also eschewed the traditional full attire of the Speaker, instead continuing to wear an ordinary business suit.

Smith was re-elected Speaker unopposed after the 2016 and 2019 federal elections. He is the first Speaker to be elected unopposed on three occasions since Frederick Holder, the inaugural holder of the position. [11]

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References

  1. Coalition Shadow Ministry Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Shadow Ministry 6 December 2007 – 22 September 2008" (PDF). APH.gov.au. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  3. "Conservatives dominate Abbott reshuffle". ABC News.
  4. "Abbott Shadow Ministry" via Scribd.
  5. Brent, Peter (27 November 2008). "Rear Vision". Inside Story. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  6. "As it happened: Liberal MP Tony Smith voted as new Speaker of the House of Representatives". ABC News.
  7. "Tony Smith elected as new Speaker". news.
  8. Henderson, Anna (10 August 2015). "Tony Smith elected new Speaker of the House of Representatives". ABC News.
  9. "Two of the five Speaker candidates signal plans to skip party room meetings if elected". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. Farnsworth, Malcolm (3 July 2019). "From Speaker to Speaker, the Parliament Matters". Meanjin . Retrieved 8 July 2019.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Bronwyn Bishop
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
2015–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Michael Wooldridge
Member of Parliament for Casey
2001–present