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New Parliament House Opened By The Queen

New Parliament House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on May 9, 1988.

The building’s opening occurred during Australia’s bicentenary year. Construction of the new Parliament House began in 1981, at the initiative of the Fraser government.

The building replaced the provisional Parliament House which was opened by the Queen’s father, the Duke of York and later King George VI, in 1927, also on May 9.

Earlier, the first sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament took place on May 9, 1901, in Melbourne.

These are some videos of the opening ceremony. They formed part of the ABC’s live broadcast of the occasion:

  • Former minister in the Whitlam government, Fred Daly, is interviewed about the new Parliament House:
  • The Queen arrives for the opening and ceremonially unlocks the doors to new Parliament House:
  • Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s speech:
  • Opposition Leader John Howard’s speech:
  • The Queen officially opens Parliament House:
  • Speeches from the House Speaker, Joan Child, and the Senate President, Kerry Sibraa. The Queen meets official guests and then departs:



Whitlam Steps Down As ALP Leader

Gough Whitlam announced he would step down as leader of the ALP on the night of the 1977 Federal Election.

Counting of votes in the election showed that the ALP had experienced a defeat similar to 1975’s disastrous result.

Whitlam appeared briefly in the Tally Room and announced that when he called the new Caucus together to elect an executive he would not be a candidate for the position of leader. [Read more…]


Bill To Lower Voting Age To 18: Fred Daly Second Reading Speech

One of the Whitlam government’s first legislative acts was to introduce a bill to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

The Minister for Services and Property, Fred Daly, introduced the Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1973 at 3.30pm on February 28, 1973. It was debated and passed in both houses over the next two weeks, receiving bipartisan support. It received Royal Assent on March 16, 1973.

This is the bill:

73-02-28_commonwealth-electoral-act-1973

Second Reading Speech by Fred Daly on the Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1973.

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property) – I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

DalyThe purpose of this Bill is to bring forward legislation to lower the franchise age and the age of candidature to 18 years for Federal elections. At present, the Commonwealth Electoral Act provides that persons who are not under the age of 21 years are entitled to have their names placed on. the roll and, when enrolled, to vote at elections for sena tors and for members of the House of Representatives. However, under a special provision, a member of the defence forces serving in a war zone outside Australia, who is under 21 years of age, is entitled to vote at a Federal election.

This is an historic occasion – an occasion, Mr Speaker, too long delayed. This Government when in Opposition endeavoured to extend the democratic right of the franchise to the youth of Australia. Private members Bills were introduced into both Houses of the Parliament in 1968 and 1970 and debated at some length. The Liberal-Country Party Government declined to bring these Bills to a vote. It preferred to deny this well recognised democratic right to an important section of the Australian community – the youth of this country – although the franchise for those 18 years and above is well recognised throughout the world. I am delighted that the privilege of introducing these historic measures – of rectifying this denial of natural justice – has fallen to me and that it is one of the first legislative acts of this Parliament. For me it is a proud and significant moment. After many years in Parliament and in Opposition I am indeed honoured to be asked by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) to present this, the first legislative proposal of the new Government, in the first session of the 28th Parliament. [Read more…]