Shorten: new Speaker mustn’t be partisan

Labor has urged the Abbott government to pick a new speaker who doesn’t have “the same hyper partisanship” as Mrs Bishop, as Bill Shorten accused the veteran Liberal MP of making parliament a “laughing stock”.

The Opposition Leader threw his support behind the likes of Mr Scott and Dr Stone for the speaker role and said he hoped Mr Abbott didn’t impose his “captain’s pick” as he did with Mrs Bishop.

Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock has thrown his hat into the ring to become Speaker.

“If it’s Mr Scott or indeed if it’s Sharman Stone from the seat of Murray, they are both people who at least don’t have the same hyper partisanship which has really made the last 21 months of Mr Abbott’s government and the parliament such a laughing stock because of its very political nature,” Mr Shorten said.

“The test for a prospective speaker from the government should be: Are they willing to tell the government as well as the opposition when they’re wrong? Bronwyn Bishop failed that test for 21 months.

“She was running a protection racket essentially for the government, question time became a joke, there never was any chance that Labor could ever get a question answered by a government minister, when you had Bronwyn Bishop in the chair ruling out our questions, ruling out our point of orders even before we’d made them.”

Mr Shorten said Labor would work with the government on the entitlements review, which he hoped would look at suggestions made in the past that hadn’t been introduced.

“To make sure that the simple test is followed, that people should be claiming their work related expenses. Nothing more, nothing less,” he said. “Common sense should be the rule.”

Earlier he told 3AW radio that Mrs Bishop’s use of travel expenses didn’t necessarily require a “rule change” but a “different mode of behaviour”.

“I believe that the team I lead is not addicted to the sort of extravagance that we’ve seen from Mrs Bishop,” he said.

When it was put to him that shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus — who in 2013 paid back $400 claimed while he was away on a skiing trip — was an example of Mrs Bishop’s extravagant behaviour, Mr Shorten said no one was comparing their conduct.