The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the house. The speaker often also represents the body in person, as the voice of the body in ceremonial and some other situations. The title was first recorded in 1377 to describe the role of Thomas de Hungerford in the Parliament of England.
By convention, Speakers are normally addressed in Parliament as 'Mister Speaker', if a man, or 'Madam Speaker', if a woman. In other cultures other styles are used, mainly being equivalents of English "chairman" or "president". Many bodies also have a speaker pro tempore (or deputy speaker), designated to fill in when the speaker is not available.
The Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the Australian House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament of Australia. The current Speaker is Harry Jenkins, Jr, who was elected on 12 February 2008, following Australian Labor Party's victory in Australian federal election of 2007. He is the first Speaker whose parent was a Speaker as his father, Harry Jenkins, Sr., also served as Speaker from 1983 to 198.
United Kingdom and Canada
In the United Kingdom and Canada, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the individual elected to preside over the elected House of Commons. In the UK, it may also erroneously be used as "Speaker of the House of Lords" when in fact that title is Lord Speaker.
In the United Kingdom, the presiding officer of the House of Lords was until recently the Lord Chancellor, who was also a member of the government (a cabinet member) and the head of the judicial branch. The Lord Chancellor did not have the same authority to discipline members of the Lords that the speaker of the Commons has in that house.
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives presides over the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives. This post is second in line to the presidency —after the vice president— and is therefore the third highest-ranking national office overall. In practice, this post is the highest-ranking in Congress, because the president of the US Senate is the vice president, who has his/her office, and predominant responsibilities, at the White House, and therefore does not have a day-to-day presence at the congress.
In the forty-nine states that have a bicameral legislature, the highest position in the lower house is usually called the "speaker". In Nebraska — the only state with a unicameral legislature — the senators elect one senator to serve as "Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature". In Tennessee, the senators elect a "Speaker of the Senate" who presides over the Tennessee Senate and serves as lieutenant governor.
The presiding officer for an upper house of a bicameral legislature usually has a different title, although substantially the same duties.
When the upper house is called a senate, the equivalent title is often President of the Senate. Australia, Chile, the United States and many other countries have upper houses with presiding officers titled "president". In several American republics, the vice president of the country serves as the president of the upper house.
This pattern is not universal, however. Some upper houses, including those of Canada, have a speaker.
The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, and Presiding Officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly fulfill the same role as the speaker.
List of current Speakers
- Speaker of the senate (disambiguation)
- Speaker of the House of Assembly (disambiguation)
- Speaker of the House of Commons (disambiguation)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives (disambiguation)
- Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
- Speaker of the National Assembly (disambiguation)
- Speaker of the Canadian Senate
- List of Speakers of the House of Commons of England
- Cathaoirleach (Speaker of the Irish Senate)
- Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
- Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland
- Lord Speaker (Speaker of the United Kingdom House of Lords)
- Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- Journal of the House of Commons: January 1559; 1559; accessed August 2015
- Lee Vol 28, pp. 257,258.
- "Shirin to become first woman Speaker". bdnews24.com. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- "01 September confirmed as date for Vanuatu Presidential Election". Islands Business. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
- Bergougnous, Georges. Presiding Officers of National Parliamentary Assemblies: A World Comparative Study. Trans. Jennifer Lorenzi. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1997. ISBN 92-9142-028-X.
- Green, Matthew N. The Speaker of the House: A Study of Leadership (Yale University Press; 2010) 292 pages; US House