Electorate first for Wellington despite Speaker nomination
PETER Wellington has promised that his Sunshine Coast hinterland constituents will not suffer if he becomes Queensland's first independent Speaker in more than 130 years.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Friday she would nominate independent Nicklin MP Mr Wellington as parliamentary Speaker.
If Mr Wellington's nomination is approved he would become Queensland's first independent speaker since Henry Edward King in 1883.
Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg said Mr Wellington's appointment was supported "in-principle", however he was continuing negotiations with Ms Palaszczuk over the parliament's operations.
Mr Wellington said the position would not change the way he represented his electorate.
"I can assure the people that I represent in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast in Nicklin that this will not take anything away from my ability to be their voice in parliament to take issues up with the Premier or other ministers," he said.
"This morning I raised a number of issues with our Premier and other ministers I've been discussing matters with over the last week. So it'll be an honour and privilege."
Despite Ms Palaszczuk's support, Mr Wellington said the Labor government was not assured of his backing.
"I made it very clear that I will vote according to how I believe those bills will be received in my electorate and in Queensland - and it may come to pass that on occasion I won't be able to support the government," he said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Wellington, whose support gave Labor a parliamentary majority, was a "man of integrity" and shared her "commitment to restoring dignity back to the Queensland parliament".
Mr Springborg said he had no issues with Mr Wellington personally, but would not elaborate on the "issues" he was discussing with Ms Palaszczuk.
- The last independent Speaker was Maryborough MP Henry Edward King from 1876-1883.
- If Mr Wellington's nomination is successful he will be the Sunshine Coast's second successive Speaker after Maroochydore LNP MP Fiona Simpson.
- Mr Wellington's predecessor in Nicklin, National MP Neil Turner, served as Speaker until Mr Wellington defeated him at the 1998 election.