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Centenary Of Federation To Be Celebrated In Melbourne

The centenary of the opening of the first Federal Parliament is being celebrated in Melbourne today.

RobertSeveral thousands guests, mainly past and present Federal and State politicians, and a small contingent of members of the public, will assemble in Melbourne’s Exhibition Building this afternoon for a recreation of the 1901 ceremony.

Opened by the future King George V, the first Federal Parliament followed elections held on March 29 and 30, 1901. The first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, leader of the Protectionist Party, and the Opposition Leader, George Reid, leader of the Free Traders, sat in a House of Representatives of 75 members, 14 of whom were Labor Party members. [Read more…]


Governor-General Bill Hayden Opens The 36th Parliament

This is the speech by Governor-General Bill Hayden opening the 36th Parliament following the 1990 federal election.

It was Hayden’s first opening of parliament since his appointment as Governor-General in 1989. Previously, Hayden was Foreign Minister in the Hawke Labor government (1983-88). He was Minister for Social Security and Treasurer in the Whitlam Labor government (1972-75).

  • Listen to Hayden

Hansard transcript of Governor-General Bill Hayden’s speech opening Parliament.

His Excellency the Governor-General entered the chamber and, being seated, with the President on his right hand, commanded that a message be sent to the House of Representatives intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith, who having come with their Speaker, His Excellency was pleased to deliver the following speech: [Read more…]


Governor-General’s Speech Opening Parliament: 1987

Following the Hawke Labor government’s re-election on July 11, 1987, the 35th Parliament was opened by the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, on September 14, 1987.

Address by Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen at the Opening of the 35th Parliament.

Honourable Members of the Parliament of Australia:

At the elections for both Houses of Parliament held on 11 July 1987, the Australian people once again elected the Labor Government and, with an increased majority, decisively renewed its mandate to pursue the task of national reconstruction.

The Government enters its third term in office with a full agenda of reforms to continue this essential and historic task. [Read more…]


Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen Opens The 34th Parliament

This is the text of the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen’s speech opening the 34th Parliament.

The 34th Parliament met for the first time on Thursday, February 21, 1985, following the election of December 1, 1984, at which the Hawke Labor government won a second term in office.

Speech by Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen opening the 34th Parliament.

Honourable Members of the Parliament of Australia:

The 34th Parliament assembles following general elections on 1 December 1984 in which the people of Australia confirmed their choice of national direction by returning the Government with a substantial majority.

The Government is pledged to carry out the clear mandate of the Australian people to build upon the achievements of its first term in creating a stronger, fairer and more equitable Australian society. [Read more…]


Governor-General’s Speech Opening Parliament: 1983

The Hawke Labor Government was elected in March 1983, the first victory for the ALP since the Whitlam dismissal and electoral defeat in 1975.

The Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, opened the 33rd Parliament on April 21, 1983.

Govenor-General Sir Ninian Stephen’s Address to Open the 33rd Parliament.

Honourable Members of the Parliament of Australia here assembled:

At the elections for both Houses of Parliament on 5 March 1983, the people of Australia declared firmly for a change of government and for a change of national direction.

You have been called together to consider a wide-ranging program of legislation designed to give effect to the mandate of the people.

The new Government has assumed office at a time of Australia’s gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression fifty years ago. [Read more…]


Sir John Kerr Opens The 30th Parliament

In the wake of the Whitlam Dismissal, Labor members boycotted the Governor-General’s speech opening the 30th Parliament.

Sir John Kerr addressed a half-empty Senate chamber when he read the speech prepared for him by the Fraser government.

  • Listen to Kerr’s speech (8m – first part only)

Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s speech opening the 30th Parliament.

Senators, Members of the House of Representatives:

We assemble at a time when large areas of New South Wales and Queensland are being devastated by severe flooding. It is a terrible experience for those affected and my Government expresses its deepest concern for their plight. The Government is consulting with the States in taking action to ensure that all proper assistance is available. The Natural Disasters Organisation is operating smoothly. [Read more…]


Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck Opens The 28th Parliament

The Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck opened the 28th Parliament on February 27, 1973.

Hasluck presided over the first Parliament since 1949 with a Labor government. The Governor-General’s speech contained a number of historic announcements of legislative programs from the Whitlam government.

The announcements included the abolition of university fees, the introduction of universal health insurance, the lowering of the voting age to 18, independence for Papua New Guinea, the introduction of the Schools Commission and federal responsibility for Aboriginal disadvantage.

Hasluck was a former minister in the Liberal-Country Party government that Whitlam defeated.

  • Listen to highlights of Hasluck’s speech (5m – full text below)

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Hansard transcript of Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck’s speech opening the 28th Parliament.

Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives:

Following the clear decision of the people of Australia at the elections for the House of Representatives on 2nd December 1972 and acting upon advice, I commissioned the Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party to form a new Government on 5th December 1972. My new advisers have proceeded with all possible speed to act upon the mandate for change which they are firmly convinced was bestowed upon them by the people of Australia in the House of Representatives elections. My advisers will now ask this Parliament – itself the fundamental means by which the will of the people can be expressed – to pass legislation embodying the central parts of the program which the people have instructed them to implement. [Read more…]