Harry Jenkins' retirement
THU 26 JULY 2012
The Prime Minister has paid tribute to the former Speaker and MP for Scullin, Harry Jenkins, who today announced his retirement from federal politics at the forthcoming general election.
Harry has a deep love of the Parliament and its history, customs and camaraderie.
Winston Churchill once described himself as “a child of the House of Commons” and it could equally be said that Harry Jenkins is a child of the House of Representatives.
Harry is the longest-serving Federal Labor MP and the second-longest serving member of the House overall. He has faithfully served the people of the Scullin electorate for 26 years since his election in 1986. He has been a source of wisdom and guidance for new Members, and has been a force for social justice and compassion within the Labor caucus.
For every one of those years, Harry’s love for his community and devotion to its service could never be brought into question. Harry could have chosen any profession or career path but he chose instead to represent and serve his community and he did it admirably.
Harry joined the Labor Party at 16 and always stood for those values that have made the ALP one of the enduring institutions of Australia. Those values were ever evident in his contributions to policy development through the committee process, contribution of which he can be proud.
First and foremost, Harry is a loving family man. I know he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Michele, sons Ben and Emlyn, and their partners Kerry and Clare, his daughter Amanda, and his granddaughters Zara and Asha.
Harry also served with distinction as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2011, uniquely following in his father’s footsteps in that role. He also served as Deputy Speaker from 1993 to 2008.
In two decades as a presiding officer, Harry became renowned for his fairness, impartiality and good humour.
In addition to his service as a presiding officer, he also served proudly and with great distinction on a number of parliamentary committees throughout his career, including the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts.
Australian public life has been enriched by the outstanding contribution of Harry Jenkins. He will leave the Parliament with the immense affection and goodwill of his colleagues from all sides of politics.