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The 1974 Joint Sitting Of Parliament

Last updated on December 9, 2023

The 1974 joint sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament is so far the only one in the history of the federation.

When the Liberal-Country Party opposition threatened to block Supply in April 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam called a double dissolution for May 18. He used five bills on electoral reform, Medibank (Medicare), and petroleum and minerals as the grounds.

Returned at the election, Whitlam immediately resubmitted the five bills that had been the basis of the double dissolution. They were passed by the House but again rejected by the Senate. On August 6, 1974 the parliament met in a joint sitting and the five bills were passed over two days.

Note: The following paper on the 1974 joint sitting came my way some years ago but the author is not identified. I suspect it was a paper written for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library.



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Malcolm Farnsworth
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