Victorian Parliament Opened; Andrianopoulos New Speaker; Kennett Resigns

The Victorian Parliament opened today with the election of the Labor member for Mill Park, Alex Andrianopoulos, as Speaker.

Contrary to speculation, the National Party did not field a candidate for the position. With the provision of a Speaker, and the support of the 3 independents, the minority Labor government has a 44-43 margin in the lower house. An absolute majority of 45 votes is needed for constitutional changes.

The new Speaker, Mr. Andrianopoulos, has been a member of parliament for 14 years. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly seat of St. Albans in 1985. Following the abolition of the seat in the 1991 redistribution, he won the seat of Mill Park. The new Speaker was born in Tripolis in 1955, migrating to Australia in 1965.

Former Premier, Jeff Kennett, has resigned from Parliament. His resignation letter was read to the Legislative assembly chamber by the Speaker shortly after 5pm today. Earlier, Kennett had written to his Burwood constituents advising them of his intention to resign from Parliament. He said he wants to spend more time with his family. Few observers are surprised that the former Premier does not want to face the new Labor government across the Assembly chamber. A by-election in Burwood will be held before Christmas.

The new Victorian parliament was officially opened by the Governor, Sir James Gobbo, this afternoon. The Bracks government faced its first Question Time at 10.25pm today.

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