POLITICS

More Than 1 In 5 MPs Are Rookies, And They're Having Their Induction

It's like the first day of school.

16/08/2016 11:50 AM AEST | Updated 16/08/2016 2:08 PM AEST
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Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
Speaker Tony Smith welcomes the new faces.

CANBERRA -- It is all getting real for Australia's freshly minted federal politicians.

More than six weeks after the July 2 election, 37 newly elected MPs have finally entered the House of Representatives chamber and been schooled on their new job the "arena where the battle of ideas and ideals takes place".

Speaker Tony Smith has opened a two-day induction for freshly elected, but yet to be sworn-in MPs including Linda Burney, Tim Wilson, Anne Stanley, John McVeigh and Andrew Gee.

Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
Speaker Tony Smith addresses new Members of Parliament during a seminar at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 16 August 2016. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The MPs will be educated on parliamentary rules and procedure, including entitlements, Hansard, the Parliamentary Library, committees system, legislation process and how not to get lost in the building.

The new member for the NSW federal seat of Macarthur, Paediatrician Dr Mike Freelander was already off to a great start.



Most of the new MPs are from Labor's ranks, reflecting the close election result in July. There are some returning faces including Mike Kelly (Eden Monaro) and Steve Georganas (Hindmarsh).

"Amongst you there are some very strong differences of political opinion and that's been reflected by your electorates in the most recent election," Smith told the nervous MPs on the floor of the chamber.

"That is as it should be."

The 45th parliament begins in two weeks' time. The Speaker, who must be re-elected into the role, advised the MPs there is nothing like entering the Reps chamber for the first time.

"It will be a day you will always remember," Smith said.

"This chamber is the arena where the battle of ideas and ideals takes place. Sometimes that contest will get willing. Sometimes Question Time gets very willing."

Smith was all about the numbers.

"From the first Parliament till the end of the last Parliament, the 44th Parliament, there were just 1,136 members elected to the House of Representatives and your election takes that number at the beginning of the 45th Parliament to 1,173."

The rest of the pollie school will be held behind closed doors.

It is expected that the lessons will be just as frank as this one from the last Labor speaker Anna Burke.



They can't say they weren't warned.

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