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One Of These Politicians Will Probably Be The New Speaker

Liberal party MPs will pick a new speaker on Monday. Here are a bunch of politicians you've probably never heard of who could take the sweet new job.

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1. Philip Ruddock

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

WHO?

Known as the "Father of the House" because he is the longest-serving current member, Liberal MP Philip Ruddock is the frontrunner for the job, and was first elected to parliament in 1973.


PROS

Well-respected by other MPs, been around literally since the dawn of time, so knows how it all works, strong Twitter game.

CONS

Got the sack as chief government whip because he didn't see the #libspill coming so might not have the chops to be speaker, claimed $9,000 for a trip to Perth to attend a Hollywood-themed ball, presumably dressed up as this character.

DOES HE WANT IT?

Yep, he's announced his candidacy, promising to be “fair”, “fearless” and “nonpartisan”.

2. Andrew Southcott

Twitter: @asouthcottmp

WHO?

Dr Andrew Southcott is a 47-year-old South Australian Liberal MP, and worked in medicine before entering politics. He was first elected to the House of Reps in 1996.

PROS

Is looking like the PM's fav. Abbott said on ABC Radio Tuesday morning that he had talked with Southcott about the job, and described him as a "good bloke", but was avoiding making a captain's pick. Seems pretty dull, which is probably a good thing, given the fates of other more colourful characters in the speaker's chair.


CONS

Despite holding shadow parliamentary secretary roles in opposition, Southcott was not included in the Abbott ministry in 2013.


DOES HE WANT IT?

Yep, he has confirmed that he will stand for the position.

3. Tony Smith

Facebook: tonysmithmp

WHO?

48-year-old Victorian MP Tony Smith was a parliamentary secretary under Howard, and a former advisor to Peter Costello. There was some talk of him running with Abbott in a leadership challenge against Turnbull back in 2009.


PROS

Peter Reith tweeted his support for Smith, calling him "ministerial calibre". He's been described by senior ministers as "reliable" and a "cleanskin", but if he's anything like a bottle of cleanskin wine, he could be a hidden gem or a total dud.

CONS

Not the most catchy name in Australian politics.


DOES HE WANT IT?

The Herald Sun reports that he has told colleagues that he is interested.

4. Bruce Scott

Alan Porritt / AAPIMAGE

WHO?

71-year-old Bruce Scott is a Queensland MP from the Nationals and has been deputy speaker since 2012. He'll sit in the chair when parliament resumes on Monday until they choose a new one.


PROS

Looks like a friendly and still-active grandpa, has the support of Labor, with Bill Shorten calling him "sufficiently unpartisan" and is ever so slightly younger than Philip Ruddock.

CONS

Libs unlikely to give it to him unless another Nat gives up a frontbench role. Still an old white dude hey.


DOES HE WANT IT?

Hasn't put his hat in the ring yet but he's retiring next election so if he takes the position he won't be in the chair for very long.

5. Jane Prentice

Twitter: @janeprentice_mp

WHO?

Jane Prentice is a Liberal MP from Queensland, having previously served on Brisbane City Council.

PROS

Was one of two women named by Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan as good replacements for the speaker, who called her "intelligent, experienced" and "decent". Member of the "speaker's panel", a group of MPs who can fill in for the speaker as needed.

CONS

Only been an MP for five years and her name sounds like a sample name on a form.

DOES SHE WANT IT?

Maybe. BuzzFeed News has contacted her office for comment.

6. Russell Broadbent

Alan Porritt / AAPIMAGE

WHO?

Russell Broadbent is a Victorian MP who first got into parliament in 1990.

PROS

A moderate conservative, Broadbent spoke out against his party on better treatment of detainees under Howard and on global warming, and is respected in the house.

CONS

Once had an alleged mafia boss over for lunch in parliament. So yeah, there's that.

DOES HE WANT IT?

Sure does. He told ABC's Virginia Trioli that he could have the support of Abbott.

7. Sharman Stone

Alan Porritt / AAPIMAGE

WHO?

Liberal MP Sharman Stone is from Victoria and has represented the seat of Murray since 1996. She recently spoke out about the Liberal party preselecting more female candidates.

PROS

She was Shorten's other pick for speaker, and Alannah McTiernan backed her as well. Gives good side eye, and wouldn't put up with too much shit from rowdy MPs.

CONS

Speaking out against the government on affirmative action and her plain-speaking means she might not get picked. Recently called Question Time "rubbish" which might have pissed people off.


DOES SHE WANT IT?

No. On Monday night 9News was reporting that she hadn't ruled it out, but Dr Stone issued a statement Tuesday morning saying she would not put herself forward as a candidate because she wants to "speak out on behalf of my electorate in parliament."

8. Sarah Henderson

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

WHO?

Victorian MP for Corangamite Sarah Henderson has been in parliament since 2013.

PROS

A former TV news reporter and presenter of 7:30 Victoria, she'd have a nice loud speaking voice. She posed with Turnbull on his trolltastic train trip to Geelong and would be a refreshing alternative to the older white men she's up against.

CONS

Bit of a n00b compared to the other candidates.

DOES SHE WANT IT?

A spokesperson for Ms Henderson declined to comment to BuzzFeed News, but it seems like she hasn't ruled it out.

9. Teresa Gambaro

Twitter: @teresagambaromp

WHO?

The Brisbane MP was first elected in 1996, and was the assistant immigration minister in 2007.


PROS

It would be pretty funny if Gambaro got the speaker job, considering Bronwyn Bishop claimed travel allowance for attending her wedding.

CONS

Said some controversial things about immigrants to Australia having to be taught to use deoderant in 2012. May not have enough support from other MPs, and only has a marginal hold on her seat.


DOES SHE WANT IT?

The Australian reports that Gambaro has been named as a candidate. Ms Gambaro's office could not be contacted for a comment.

10. Defence minister Kevin Andrews, backbencher Bob Baldwin and independent MP Cathy McGowan were all mentioned as possible candidates but have since said they are not interested in the position.

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at alexandra.lee@buzzfeed.com.

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