Death Of John Bourchier, Former Liberal MP, Announced To House

The death of John Bourchier, a former member for Bendigo, was announced to the House of Representatives today.

BourchierThe Speaker, Tony Smith, announced that Bourchier died on August 31. He was 87.

Bourchier represented the Victorian division of Bendigo for the Liberal Party for five terms from 1972 until 1983. He was a backbencher throughout.

Bourchier’s arrival in the House coincided with the election of the Whitlam government. Bourchier defeated David Kennedy, who had held the seat for the ALP since 1969. A campaign against Kennedy over the abortion issue is widely regarded as contributing to his defeat. Whilst Kennedy topped the primary vote with 47.7% to Bourchier’s 26.7%, Bourchier was elected with the aid of Country Party (17.3%) and DLP (8.4%) preferences. He defeated Kennedy by 165 votes (50.2%). [Read more…]


Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove’s Speech Opening The 45th Parliament

The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, today officially opened the 45th Parliament, following the July double dissolution election.

Cosgrove

Ceremonies in the morning saw senators and members of the House of Representatives sworn in. The Senate President, Senator Stephen Parry, and the House Speaker, Tony Smith, were both re-elected unopposed.

At 3pm, the Governor-General summoned the House members to the Senate and delivered a 38-minute speech. By convention, the speech is written by the government and outlines its program for the new parliament.

It was Cosgrove’s first speech opening a new parliament. Last April, he delivered a short speech reconvening the 44th Parliament, following its prorogation. [Read more…]


45th Parliament Opens; Members And Senators Sworn In; House Speaker And Senate President Re-Elected Unopposed

The 45th Parliament opened in Canberra this morning.

Laing-FrenchClerk of the Senate Rosemary Laing and Chief Justice Robert French preside over Senate proceedings during the opening of the 45th Parliament.

The video below shows proceedings in the Senate and the House of Representatives, starting at 10.30am.

The Governor-General’s deputy, High Court Chief Justice Robert French opened the Parliament in the Senate chamber, House members having first been summoned via a message from the Senate’s Black Rod.

The two houses then separately swore in their members, who each took an oath or affirmation and signed the register of members. The swearing-in of senators is shown in the video.

The Senate then elected Senator Stephen Parry (Liberal-Tasmania) as President, unopposed. It is Parry’s second term. [Read more…]


Joe Hockey (Lib – North Sydney) – Valedictory Speech

The former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has delivered his valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.

Hockey

Hockey will resign this week and is expected to be appointed Australian Ambassador to the United States, replacing former ALP leader Kim Beazley. [Read more…]


Changes To Senate Voting Methods Recommended; Liberals, ALP And Greens Agree To Stamp Out Preference Gaming

An interim report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has recommended the abolition of group voting tickets in the Senate in a move, supported by Liberal, Labor and Greens members, that will cripple micro-parties and prevent them from “gaming” the electoral system.

The Committee’s chairman, Tony Smith, the Liberal member for Casey, and his deputy, Alan Griffin, the ALP member for Bruce, presented the report today and held a media conference to discuss its recommendations. The Committee includes members from all parties and both houses. Its report was unanimous.

Ballot [Read more…]


Howard Claims Better Record In Question Time Than Keating, Hawke Or Fraser

More questions have been asked during Questions Without Notice during the six years and three months of the Howard Government than during the prime ministerships of Paul Keating, Bob Hawke or Malcolm Fraser, indicating a greater commitment to accountability and parliamentary democracy, according to John Howard.

John Howard, Prime MinisterThe Prime Minister was responding to a question from the Liberal member for Casey, Tony Smith, during Question Time in the House of Representatives.

Howard gave figures which show that proportionally his government’s ministers have responded to more questions without notice than the governments of Paul Keating (1991-96), Bob Hawke (1983-91) and Malcolm Fraser (1975-83).

This is mainly because Question Time has been extended under Howard to allow for a minimum number of questions each sitting day. Question Time often lasts for up to 90 minutes, whereas for decades it was restricted to 60 minutes. [Read more…]