The John Button Award – SPEAKER TONY SMITH 2019
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tony Smith MP, is the recipient of the John Button Award for his exemplary conduct in the vital role of Speaker.
The role of the Speaker in maintaining the dignity of the House is often overlooked. In his four years since taking office Speaker Smith has done much to restore the standing of the office.
After his election in 2015 he declared that he would be a non-partisan Speaker.
Mr Smith has upheld the role of Parliament vis-a-vis the executive government, as one of the three arms of government in Australia. His decision in standing up for the rights of Members of Parliament against the advice of the Attorney-General and conveying to the House advice written by the Solicitor-General which the Government did not want disclosed was courageous and in the best traditions of parliamentary practice.
In enunciating his first task as the restoration of the standing of the office he described the Speaker’s role as the defender of the rights of all members of the House of Representatives and has significantly raised the bar as to what the public should expect of a Speaker. The Accountability Round Table considers he has done this and much more.
His re-election as Speaker in July 2019 was supported by the Opposition, indicating the very high esteem in which he is held. He is a very worthy recipient of this award.