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Joan Child, First Female ALP Member Of House, First Female Speaker, Dies, 91

Joan Child, the first female Labor member of the House of Representatives, and the first female Speaker, has died. She was 91.

Child was elected to the Melbourne electorate of Henty, centred around Oakleigh, in 1974. She had unsuccessfully contested the electorate in 1972.

She was defeated at the 1975 election and again in 1977. She returned to the House in 1980, securing re-election to Henty in 1983, 1984 and 1987.

Child became the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives in February 1986. She relinquished the position in August 1989, ahead of her retirement at the 1990 election. [Read more…]


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: