AFTER an extraordinary fortnight in State Parliament, which came to a head last week when two Labour members were unceremoniously kicked out of the Legislative Assembly, speaker Ken Smith, Member for Bass, remains defiant, despite calls for him to be replaced.
“I won’t be driven out,” he told the Sentinel-Times last Friday.
“I look forward to going back in February when (the opposition) is in full force.”
Mr Smith said opposition members had abused their position in the way they “flouted” the rules during the final days of this year’s sitting calendar.
“I have to work under Standing Orders, which are rules of the parliament,” he explained.
“(The opposition) has to work under those rules as well, but they just totally ignore them.
“I’ve tried to control them; I had to throw them out; I’ve had them named and yet they continue to yell.
“They’re trying to drive me out and they think they’ll have an opportunity to get into government.
“An opposition that behaves that way has no right to get into any government again.
“Up until I got my job as Speaker, I was the most thrown out member of Victorian parliament” he continued.
“I understand the frustration, but I would never ever behave the way they have.
“It has just been disgusting.”
Speculation continued to mount all week that it may be the last time Mr Smith sits in the big chair, but unwavering support from Premier Denis Napthine and other party colleagues has seen Mr Smith remain in the role.
He said he has been “overwhelmed” by the support shown by members of the public, locally and otherwise.
“The amount of emails, phone calls and letters I’ve received has really been quite humbling,” he said.
“I’ve even had a number of Labor Party people coming up to me saying they’re sorry.”
Mr Smith said he looks forward to spending the Christmas and New Year period at home with family.