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Election Officially Over As Writs Returned By AEC

The 2019 Federal Election is officially over, following today’s return of the writs by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The AEC returned the writ for the House of Representatives elections to the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Writs for state senators were returned to state governors. The Senate territory writs were also returned to the Governor-General.

The writ is an official command from the Governor-General to the AEC to conduct elections. Section 12 of the Constitution specifically outlines the requirements for Senate writs.

Now that the election is over, Section 5 empowers the Governor-General to summon parliament. This must occur within thirty days of the return of the writs. The government has already indicated the Parliament will meet on July 2. The Governor-General issued a proclamation to this effect on June 19.

Media release from the AEC announcing the return of the election writs.

Writs Returned


Governor-General Summons 46th Parliament For July 2 Meeting

The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, has issued a proclamation summoning the 46th Parliament to convene on July 2.

The proclamation was issued on the advice of the prime minister, Scott Morrison, in accordance with the Governor-General’s power under Section 5 of the Constitution.

The first day of the new parliament will be largely ceremonial. All 151 members of the House of Representatives will be sworn in, as will the 40 senators elected on May 18. The other 36 senators, elected in 2016, remain in office until the next election and do not need to be sworn in.

Proclamation issued by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Proclamation


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…]


Long Tan Commemoration: Cosgrove And Turnbull Pay Tribute On 50th Anniversary Of Vietnam Battle

The Governor-General and the Prime Minister have each spoken at the 50th anniversary commemoration service of Long Tan.

The service was held in Canberra this morning. It commemorated the 50th anniversary of the battle at Long Tan on August 18, 1966. Eighteen Australian soldiers from the 1st Australian Task Froce were killed and twenty-four wounded in the conflict. It is estimated that the Viet Cong lost at least 245 soldiers.

Cosgrove

The battle took place near a rubber plantation. There were 105 soldiers involved, including a contingent from New Zealand.

In his speech, the Governor-General, who served in Vietnam, drew attention to the treatment meted out to Vietnam veterans at the time and since. He lamented that even veterans organisations did not respond well to the service of Australian soldiers in the controversial war. [Read more…]


Writs Returned And The 2016 Federal Election Is Officially Over

With its announcement that all the election writs have been returned, the Australian Electoral Commission officially brought the 2016 Federal Election to an end today.

The AEC has returned the writs for all 150 seats in the House of Representatives and for Senate elections in the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Normally, the writs would be returned to the Governor-General, but Sir Peter Cosgrove is attending the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, so the writs have gone to the Governor of Queensland, Paul de Jersey, in his capacity as Administrator to the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Writs for the Senate elections in the six states have been returned to the State Governors.

The election writ is a legal document issued by the Governor-General. It commands the AEC to conduct the election. It sets out the various dates that apply during the election, such as the close of enrolments, nominations, polling day, and the return of the writ.

The process leading to the election began on May 8 when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull advised the Governor-General to dissolve the parliament in accordance with Section 57 of the Constitution. The dissolution documents are available here.

On May 9, the Governor-General’s proclamation dissolving the parliament was issued. The election writ was issued on May 16. It specified that the writ should be returned on or before August 8. [Read more…]


Governor-General Acts On Prime Minister Turnbull’s Advice; Caretaker Period Ends

Government House has released correspondence between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove which brings the election’s caretaker period to an end.

The documents show that Turnbull wrote to the Governor-General the day after the election to advise him the outcome was uncertain and that he would continue in a caretaker capacity until the results were clear. Cosgrove accepted this advice.

Yesterday, Turnbull again wrote to Cosgrove to advise him that the government was now in a position to command majority support in the House of Representatives, either in its own right or with the support of crossbenchers, and that the Opposition Leader had conceded defeat. Cosgrove accepted this advice.

The effect of this is to remove the restrictions on the government’s ability to make policy decisions, appointments and other significant political decisions. The period of caretaker government has ended.

Some commentators assert that there is a role for the Governor-General in determining who is commissioned to form a government. The letters show that these decisions continue to be made by the elected representatives and the Governor-General acts on the advice of his prime minister. Even in the event of a hung parliament, as the events of 2010 demonstrated, the Governor-General does not act unilaterally, but on the advice of his or her chief adviser. [Read more…]