Parliamentary reform squabble continues in Australia

12:37, September 26, 2010      

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday said the federal government is still looking to honor the agreement on parliamentary reform, despite opposition efforts to trash it.

Abbott and Gillard agreed on Sept. 6 to assign a lawmaker to vote along with the winning party to make up for the speaker, who can't vote. Abbott scrapped that deal on Sept. 23, saying it would violate the constitution.

The move has slowed down the government's bid to negotiate the next Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the lower house ahead of parliament re-convening next week.

Gillard has criticized Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for ripping up the agreement on parliamentary reform, following Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Alex Somlyay's decision to step away from the Deputy Speaker's job.

"It's deeply disappointing that Abbott would say yes to parliamentary reform ... then trash it when it doesn't suit him," Gillard told Network Ten on Sunday.

The government is holding firm on its plans to present Harry Jenkins as its candidate for Speaker, a role he has held since 2008.

Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said the coalition will make good on the promise to provide a Deputy Speaker should Jenkins win the Speaker's role on Tuesday. But he conceded it will not abide by the agreement to pair votes for the Speaker.


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(Editor:张茜)

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