News State Victoria News Controversial Victorian speaker Ken Smith to retire

Controversial Victorian speaker Ken Smith to retire

Ken Smith laughs during a parliamentary sitting
The speaker of the Victorian parliament Ken Smith will not contest the next election.
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Victorian parliament Speaker Ken Smith will not recontest the next election.

Mr Smith, the lower house speaker, said the decision was made for family reasons after 30 years of community service.

Last year, the Labor opposition called on Mr Smith to resign as speaker, describing him as biased.

The state election will be held in November.

In November, independent MP Geoff Shaw, who holds the balance of power in the parliament, announced he no longer had confidence in the Speaker.

Labor then tried to test Mr Smith’s confidence on the floor of parliament, leading to uproar and Mr Smith eventually suspending parliament for the remainder of the sitting.

When parliament resumed several weeks later, there was further uproar and it culminated in two Labor MPs being suspended for the remainder of the year.

Mr Smith announced his decision in a statement.

“I wish to announce that I will not be re-contesting the seat of Bass at the next state election on 29 November 2014,” he said.

“I made this decision on the basis that my family and I have committed to more than 30 years of community service through local council and State Parliament.

“It has been an honour and privilege to represent and serve firstly the people of South East Province and for the last 11 years as the member for Bass.”