THE first openly gay person to have been elected as an MP in the House of Representatives was sworn in today during Federal Parliament’s first sitting of the year.
North Sydney federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman won his seat in a by-election in December, replacing outgoing Treasurer Joe Hockey.
“It was pretty much like the first day of school, I approached with excitement but trepidation,” he said.
“I came here to Parliament House yesterday to get to know it and meet the parliamentary services.
“But I still woke up at 4.30 this morning, I was dressed and ready to go much earlier than I needed to be.”
Not long after he was sworn in, Zimmerman made his way over to sit next to Berowra federa Liberal MP Phillip Ruddock, the former Howard-era frontbencher known as the “father of the house”. The moment was caught on camera.
“When I was 19 years old I came to the last sitting of the House of Reps in the old Parliament House and Phillip Ruddock was one of the first politicians I met,” he said.
“I didn’t anticipate I would be back here many years later as an MP myself.”
— Mikearoo (@mpbowers) February 2, 2016
In another first, Zimmerman is the first member of the lower house to have an office located in the Senate side of the building.
The location is only temporary as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reshuffles his frontbench and replaces ministers Mal Brough and Jamie Briggs. However, Zimmerman sees a silver lining.
“On the practical side of it if there’s any need to sprint to make it (to any votes), at least I’ll get fit,” he said.
The first item on the new MP’s agenda is preparing his maiden speech which he will deliver on March 2.
In the meantime, he will sit quietly on the backbench.
“There is a learning curve on parliamentary procedure and how the legislation process works, it’s quite complex,” he said.
“I’m going to spend time… absorbing it all.”