Victorian Speaker Ken Smith Resigns; Christine Fyffe Takes Over

The Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, Ken Smith, has resigned and Liberal MP Christine Fyffe has been elected unopposed as the new Speaker.


Smith’s resignation came in a belligerent speech at the beginning of the new parliamentary year at 2pm today. Smith attacked Frankston MP Geoff Shaw, accusing him of “outrageous demands” and describing him as “unworthy” of being a member of parliament.

Smith also accused the ALP of collaborating with Shaw. He said Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews had displayed poor leadership, unacceptable and unparliamentary behaviour, and “typical union tactics”.

Smith then adjourned the House for an hour. The Liberal Party met and endorsed Evelyn MP Christine Fyffe as the new Speaker. When the House met shortly after 3pm, Fyffe was elected Speaker unopposed and normal business resumed.


Later in the day, the Nationals MP for Rodney, Paul Weller, was elected Deputy Speaker.

Smith’s departure brings an end to a turbulent period in the Victorian Parliament and a test of wills between the Speaker and Geoff Shaw. Since resigning from the Liberal Party in March last year, a move that precipitated the resignation of former Premier Ted Baillieu, Shaw has held the balance of power in the Assembly.

Shaw’s conflict with the Speaker led to repeated confrontations in the House. Smith saved the government in December by suspending Labor members and thus protecting the government’s one-seat majority.


Smith’s resignation as Speaker has been expected since he announced his intention to retire from the electorate of Bass electorate at this year’s November 29 election. Smith has represented Bass since 1988.

  • Listen to Smith’s resignation and Fyffe’s election (14m)

Text of media release from Victorian Premier Denis Napthine.

Statement from the Premier: Election of Speaker

I would like to congratulate the Member for Evelyn Christine Fyffe who has been elected unanimously this afternoon by the Legislative Assembly to the position of Speaker.

Ms Fyffe is the first female Liberal Speaker in the Victorian Parliament.

The Liberal Party Room unanimously endorsed Ms Fyffe as its nominee for Speaker.

Ms Fyffe brings a wealth of parliamentary experience to the role with a decade of experience as a Parliamentarian including three years as Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Ms Fyffe has also served on a number of Parliamentary Committees and is a member of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Steering Committee.

On behalf of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, I would like to pay tribute to Ken Smith’s contribution to the Victorian Parliament in his role as Speaker.

Mr Smith made his decision to resign as Speaker in the best interests of the Victorian Parliament and I acknowledge his service presiding over the Legislative Assembly for the last three years. Mr Smith served as a diligent and hard-working Speaker who presided over the Assembly in circumstances which were at times difficult and challenging.

I also acknowledge, on behalf of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, the outstanding and ongoing contribution made by Mr Smith as an excellent local Member of Parliament for the seat of Bass and as a loyal and dedicated member of the Liberal Party.

I look forward to continuing to work with Mr Smith as he continues his role as the Member for Bass up until election day in November this year.

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