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Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events



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ISSN 2203-5249

RESEARCH PAPER SERIES, 2017-18 14 DECEMBER 2017

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events Anna Hough

Politics and Public Administration Section

with Dr Dianne Heriot, Parliamentary Librarian

Intro duction Parliament House, which was officially opened in 1988, is the home of the Parliament of Australia. It is located on a 32-hectare site on Capital Hill in Canberra.

In 2013 the Parliamentary Library published a chronology of events, Australia’s Parliament House—More Than 25 Years in the Making!, in recognition of the building’s 25th anniversary. Australia’s Parliament House in 2014 and 2015: a Chronology of Events highlighted significant milestones associated with Australia’s Parliament House and the Parliament itself between January 2014 and December 2015. This chronology continues the story, commencing in January 2016 and finishing in December 2016.

This chronology of events has been compiled from published sources and includes images and links to audio-visual and documentary records. Appendix 1 presents a list of key legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament in 2016.

Abbreviations AG Australian Greens ALP Australian Labor Party DHJP Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party FFP Family First Party Hon. Honourable Ind. Independent JLN Jacqui Lambie Network Lib. Liberal Party of Australia NP The Nationals

NXT Nick Xenophon Team PHON Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Retd Retired

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Milestones

2 February

Larissa Waters moves a motion in the Senate while breastfeeding her baby (22 June 2017)

Image source: ParlView

2 February

Trent Zimmerman

Image source: Auspic

3 February

Details

Infants in the House

The Leader of the House of Representatives, Christopher Pyne (Lib., Sturt, SA) introduces the necessary changes to amend Standing Order 257 to allow infants to be brought into the House of Representatives Chamber and the Federation Chamber by members. In a media release Mr Pyne states that ‘No Member of Parliament, male or female, will ever again be prevented from participating fully in the law making

processes of Parliament because they are also caring for their child.’1 Previously, a member caring for a child during a division was able to cast a proxy vote, but not to bring the child into the chamber.

The amendment, which is passed,2 implements a recommendation of the December 2015 report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure, Provisions for a more family-friendly Chamber.3

A similar change is made to the Senate’s standing orders in November 2016.

First Member of the House to have an office on the Senate side of Parliament House

Trent Zimmerman (Lib., North Sydney, NSW), who is sworn in on this date having won his seat in a December 2015 by-election (following the resignation of Joe Hockey), becomes the first Member of the House of Representatives to have an office located on the Senate side of the building.4 This is, however, a temporary measure pending space becoming available in the House of Representatives wing.5

This unusual arrangement is the subject of questions from the Opposition during Senate Estimates hearings on 8 February. Correspondence from the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the President of the Senate on the matter is tabled during the hearings.

Subsequently, other members are also given temporary offices on the Senate side.

Work of Committees 2015

The Work of Committees report released on this date notes that, in the 2015 calendar year, Senate committees held 1,024 meetings, had 186 references, met for 2,391.57 hours,

1. C Pyne (Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Leader of the House), Family friendly changes to the House of Representatives, media release, 2 February 2016. 2. ‘Standing and Sessional Orders’, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 February 2016, p. 11. 3. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure, Provisions for a more family-friendly Chamber, Department of the House of

Representatives, Canberra, 2 December 2015. 4. R Lewis, ‘Why new MP’s getting red-carpet treatment’, The Australian, 5 February 2016, p. 4. 5. Ibid.

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tabled over 170 reports, received 13,657 submissions and heard evidence from 8,808 witnesses.6

The workload of Senate committees is the subject of a statement by the Clerk of the Senate, Dr Rosemary Laing, at Senate estimates hearings on 8 February.

In the 2015-16 financial year (to 10 May 2016) committees supported by the House of Representatives Committee Office tabled 72 reports and held 55 meetings (public and private).7

8 February ‘Father of the House’ announces his retirement

Philip Ruddock (Lib., Berowra, NSW) announces his retirement from Parliament after a 42-year parliamentary career,8 which included service as a Minister and a Shadow Minister. Mr Ruddock had been the ‘Father of the House’9— that is, the Member of the House of Representatives with the longest continuous service. William (Billy) Hughes (1862-1952) retains the record for the longest service—51 years, including serving as Prime Minister from 1915 to 1923.

Following Mr Ruddock’s retirement from Parliament, Kevin Andrews (Lib., Menzies, Vic.) becomes the new Father of the House.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop (Lib., Curtin, WA), announces Mr Ruddock’s appointment as Special Envoy for Human Rights.10

Philip Ruddock

Image source: Auspic

10 February Closing the Gap statement

Delivering the 2016 Closing the Gap statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Lib., Wentworth, NSW) states:

In 2008, the national apology to the stolen generations was a great milestone in the healing of the nation … And our generation seeks to make a further amends, a further setting right, through formal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution …

In the eight years since the Closing the Gap targets were set, there has been mixed progress towards meeting them, and today again we are seeing mixed results … We have to stay the course on the key policy priorities: the transformative power of education, the fulfilment that comes from employment, and the right of all people to be safe and free from family and domestic violence,

6. Department of the Senate, Work of Committees, Canberra, 3 February 2016, p. 7. 7. Department of the House of Representatives, Annual report 2015-16, p. 32. 8. P Ruddock, Statement by the Hon. Philip Ruddock MP, media release, 8 February 2016. 9. S Maher, ‘Father leaves the House’, The Australian, 9 February 2016, p. 11. 10. J Bishop (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Special Envoy for Human Rights, media release, 8 February 2016.

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especially women and children. 11

The Prime Minister also announces $20 million in additional funding over two years for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, to ‘enable the collection of critical cultural knowledge and promote an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present.’12

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten (ALP, Maribyrnong, Vic.), says:

Including the first members of our Australian family on our national birth certificate should be the shared goal of all Australians. It is well past the hour for our Constitution to speak the truth about our past and point the way forward to a more equal future …

The gap stands as an affront to our national sense of fairness. Closing the gap demands the best of us, the best of our collective energies and intellect, but that is what we should aim for—the best.

13

11 February Retirement of Warren Truss; new Nationals leadership team

Barnaby Joyce (NP, New England, NSW) becomes the new Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals,14 following the announcement by Warren Truss (NP, Wide Bay, Qld), of his forthcoming retirement.15 Senator Fiona Nash (NP, NSW) becomes Deputy Leader of the party, and is the first woman to hold the position.

Barnaby Joyce

Image source: Auspic

11. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), Ministerial statements: Closing the gap, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 February 2016, p. 1171-1175. 12. Ibid., p. 1172. 13. B Shorten (Leader of the Opposition), Ministerial statements: Closing the gap, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 February 2016, p. 1175- 1179.

14. D Hurst, ‘Barnaby Joyce elected Nations leader and Fiona Nash deputy leader’, The Guardian (Australia), 11 February 2016. 15. W Truss (Deputy Prime Minister), Address to the House, Canberra, media release, 11 February 2016.

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12 February Ministerial resignation

Stuart Robert (Lib., Fadden, Qld) resigns from the ministry following an investigation by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet into his August 2014 visit to China.16 During the visit, which Mr Robert said was in a private capacity, he attended a signing ceremony involving Nimrod Resources, the company of his friend and travelling companion Paul Marks.17 Mr Robert told the House ‘I am confident I have not acted inappropriately’.18 However, the investigation found that Mr Robert held shares in a company associated with Nimrod Resources and concluded that he had acted inconsistently with ministerial standards.19 The Prime Minister stated that Mr Robert had ‘asked me not to consider him in the pending reshuffle of the ministry’.20

Stuart Robert

Image source: Auspic

14 February 50th anniversary of decimal currency in Australia

To mark the 50th anniversary of Australia’s switch from pounds, shillings and pence to dollars and cents, an exhibition by the Royal Australian Mint called The Changeover is held at Parliament House during February and March.21

Decimal currency

Image source: Auspic

18 February New ministry sworn in; number of women in Cabinet increases

The new ministry, announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 13 February, is sworn in. The reshuffle follows announcements by Warren Truss and Andrew Robb (Lib., Goldstein, Vic.) of their forthcoming retirements.22

The number of women in Cabinet increases from five to six with Fiona Nash’s elevation to Minister for Rural Health, Regional Communications and Regional Development. The total number of women in the ministry rises from nine to ten with Jane Prentice (Lib., Ryan, Qld) becoming Assistant Minister for Disability Services.

Fiona Nash

Image source: Auspic

16. J Wilson and M Healy, That’s it-I’m leaving: ministerial departures 1901-2017, Research paper series, 2017-18, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 12 July 2017, p. 56. 17. M Grattan, ‘Stuart Robert quits ministry amid new disclosures’, The Conversation, 12 February 2016. 18. S Robert, ‘Answer to Question without notice: Minister's trip to China in August 2014’, [Questioner: M Dreyfus], House of Representatives,

Debates, 9 February 2016, p. 1043. 19. Wilson and Healy, op. cit. 20. Ibid.

21. Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS), Annual report 2015-16, DPS, Canberra, p. 74. 22. A Smethurst, ‘Turnbull introduces new-look ministry’, Herald Sun, 19 February 2016, p. 8.

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22 February Condolence motion for former Speaker Bob Halverson

The House pauses to acknowledge former Speaker Bob Halverson who died on 9 February 2016. He served as Speaker from 1996 to 1998.

In his condolence motion, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says:

Bob believed that the position of the Speaker had become too partisan and he sought to restore independence during his tenure … As Speaker, Bob Halverson was the first to introduce legislation from the chair. The bill provided an arrangement we all benefit from—the establishment and administration of the Department of Parliamentary Services.

23

Bob Halverson

Image source: Auspic

25 February Defence White Paper released

The 2016 Defence White Paper is launched by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne (Lib., NSW). Work on the White Paper commenced in early 2014, with its preparation having taken place under two prime ministers and three defence ministers.24

The funding plan outlined in the White Paper raises Defence funding to two per cent of Gross Domestic Product by 2020- 21.25 For the first time, all elements of the Government’s defence investment are outlined in an Integrated Investment Program, published with the White Paper.26 The White Paper also states that the Government will invest in 12 new submarines, ‘with a commitment to maximise Australian industry involvement in acquisition and sustainment’.27

On 18 April the ‘build locations of 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels and up to 21 Pacific Patrol Boats, in addition to nine Future Frigates previously announced’ was revealed.28 Major warships will be built in Adelaide and minor vessels in Henderson, Western Australia - an investment of ‘close to $40 billion’ which will ‘secure more than 2,500 jobs for decades to come’.29

On 26 April, the Government announces that the submarines will be built in Adelaide, and that French company DCNS has

Malcolm Turnbull, Marise Payne and Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett on 18 April 2016, announcing the location of ship building facilities for patrol vessels and frigates.

Image source: ParlView

23. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Condolences: Halverson, Hon Robert George (Bob), OBE’, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 February 2016, p. 1593. 24. M Grattan, ‘Defence white paper: an extra $29.9 billion spending over a decade’, The Conversation, 25 February 2016. 25. Department of Defence, ‘2016 Defence White Paper: capability overview’, Department of Defence website. 26. Department of Defence, ‘2016 Defence White Paper’, Department of Defence website. 27. M Turnbull (Prime Minister) and M Payne (Minister for Defence), 2016 Defence White Paper, joint media release, 25 February 2016. 28. M Turnbull (Prime Minister) and M Payne (Minister for Defence), Continuous naval shipbuild, joint media release, 18 April 2016. 29. Ibid.

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been selected as the international partner for the design of the submarines.30 The ‘$50 billion investment’ is expected to ‘directly sustain around 1,100 Australian jobs and a further 1,700 jobs through the supply chain.’31

Opposition defence spokesperson Stephen Conroy says the ALP is broadly supportive of the White Paper, but intends to closely scrutinise the funding commitment.32

29 February Ministerial statement on the 25th anniversary of the First Gulf War

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan (Lib., Wannon, Vic.) delivers a ministerial statement to:

… remind the House of the debt of gratitude our nation owes to the brave men and women who served in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991 …

He continues:

Over 1,800 Australian Defence personnel were deployed to the Gulf from August 1990 to September 1991 … It was the first time that Australia’s Defence Forces went to war under arrangements where it was commanded by a Chief of Defence Force … The tanker HMAS Westralia also made naval history by carrying into the war seven women—two of them officers—for the first time.

33

The Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, David Feeney (ALP, Batman, Vic.) also speaks in acknowledgement of the anniversary. The ministerial statement is tabled in the Senate on 1 May, with Senators Stephen Conroy (ALP, Vic., Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) and Jacqui Lambie (JLN, Tas.) speaking in response.34

Dan Tehan delivers a ministerial statement on the 25th anniversary of the First Gulf War

Image source: ParlView

30. M Turnbull (Prime Minister) and M Payne (Minister for Defence), Future Submarine program, joint media release, 26 April 2016. 31. Ibid.

32. M Grattan, ‘Strategic environment the most challenging Australia has faced in peace time: Turnbull’, The Conversation, 25 February 2016. 33. D Tehan (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs), ‘Ministerial statements: 25th anniversary of the First Gulf War’, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 February 2016, pp. 2380-2381. 34. S Conroy, ’Ministerial statements: 25th anniversary of the first Gulf War’, Senate, Debates, 1 March 2016, p. 1473; J Lambie, ‘Ministerial

statements: 25th anniversary of the first Gulf War’, Senate, Debates, 1 March 2016, p. 1474-1475.

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29 February Statement by President of the Senate on parliamentary language

The President of the Senate, Stephen Parry (Lib., Tas.), makes a statement concerning ‘Parliamentary Language’. His statement follows concerns about senators quoting inappropriate language in the chamber. He states:

It is a longstanding practice, dating back to at least 1908 in the Senate and observed in other parliaments, that quoting another source does not allow a senator to bypass the normal rules in relation to unparliamentary language …

In exercising their judgement on whether to quote in full from sources containing offensive material, I would encourage senators to be mindful of the wider audience that views or listens to proceedings, including the frequent presence of young students in the public galleries.

35

The President also states that he intends to refer his statement and the associated submissions to the Procedure Committee for consideration.36

Stephen Parry

Image source: Auspic

2 March Motion to bring forward vote on marriage equality Bill

In the House of Representatives, Terri Butler (ALP, Griffith, Qld) seeks to move a motion that the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 be ‘called on immediately and … given priority over all other business for passage through all stages’ that day.37 The Bill seeks to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to define marriage as a union of two people (rather than of a man and a woman).38

The Government does not support the motion and it is voted down.39

35. S Parry (President), ‘Statement by the President: Parliamentary language’, Senate, Debates, 29 February 2016, pp. 1234 ff. 36. Ibid.

37. T Butler, ‘Business: Rearrangement’, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 March 2016, pp. 2838. 38. Parliament of Australia, ‘Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 homepage’, Australian Parliament website. 39. ‘Business: Rearrangement’, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 March 2016, pp. 2838.

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3 March Ministerial statement marking second anniversary of flight MH370 disappearance

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester (Nat., Gippsland, Vic.), notes:

Tuesday, 8 March 2016 marks two years since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 … [which] disappeared with 239 people on board, including seven people who called Australia home, six of them Australian citizens. It is fitting today that we take time to remember the people on board and those who grieve for them ...

The Australian government is working systematically and intensively to locate the aircraft, together with our search partners, Malaysia and China … Around 90,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far—of a total search area of 120,000 square kilometres … As we search the remaining area, I remain hopeful the aircraft will be found.

40

On 17 January 2017 the Malaysian, Australian and Chinese transport ministers jointly announce that the aircraft has not been located and the search has been suspended.41

In October 2017 the Malaysian Government subsequently enters into an agreement with US company Ocean Infinity to commence a new search, for which Australia, at Malaysia’s request, will provide technical assistance.42

Darren Chester delivers a ministerial statement marking the second anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370

Image source: ParlView

15 March New Senator for Victoria

Senator James Paterson (Lib., Vic.) is sworn in, having been chosen by the Parliament of Victoria under section 15 of the Australian Constitution. He fills the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Senator Michael Ronaldson (Lib., Vic.) on 28 February 2016.43 Senator Paterson makes his first speech on 16 March 2016.

James Paterson

Image source: Auspic

40. D Chester (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport), ‘Ministerial statements: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 March 2016, p. 2985. 41. Liow Tiong Lai (Malaysian Minister of Transport), D Chester (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) and Li Xiaopeng (Chinese Minister of Transport), ‘MH370 Tripartite Joint Communique’, 17 January 2017. 42. D Chester (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport), ‘Statement: [Malaysia Airlines flight MH370]’, 19 October 2017. 43. Australia, Senate, ‘Parliamentary Representation’, Senate, Debates, 15 March 2016, p. 1857.

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17 March Phil Bowen reappointed as Parliamentary Budget Officer

The Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, Ian Macfarlane (Lib., Groom, Qld) informs the House that the Committee has approved the Presiding Officers’ proposal that Phil Bowen be reappointed as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a further 12 months, commencing on 23 July 2016.44

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has a four-year term, but not for a total of more than eight years. The Parliamentary Service Act 1999 requires the Presiding Officers to not appoint a Parliamentary Budget Officer without the Committee’s approval. Mr Bowen has served as Parliamentary Budget Officer since the position was established in 2012.

Phil Bowen

Image source: Auspic

18 March Passage of the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill

The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 passes both Houses. The Bill responds to parts of the interim and final reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters Inquiry into the 2013 federal election, abolishing group voting tickets in the Senate and allowing optional preferential voting above the line. When the Bill was introduced in the House, standing orders were suspended to allow it to be introduced and passed despite the Bill having been referred to a committee for inquiry and no advisory report having been presented.45

After a total of 39 hours of debate in the Senate (at multiple sittings),46 the Bill passes with the support of the Australian Greens.47

The sitting of the Senate on 17-18 March to finalise the Bill lasts for 28 hours and 56 minutes and ‘appears to be unique in the Senate’s history in being a continuous sitting without breaks of any kind’ (although not the longest debate on a single Bill).48 Senator Nick Xenophon (NXT, SA) marks the duration by appearing in the chamber wearing pyjamas and carrying a pillow.49

A subsequent High Court challenge to the validity of the legislation brought by Senator Bob Day (FFP, SA) and others, is dismissed by the Court on 13 May 2016.50 Senator Day and the other plaintiffs had argued that the legislation

Victorian senate ballot paper 2016

Image source: Hshook, Wikimedia Commons

44. I Macfarlane, ‘Committees: Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit’, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 March 2016, pp. 3492-3. 45. House of Representatives, Procedural Digest, 136, 22 February-3 March 2016. 46. Department of the Senate, ‘Bills generating lengthy debates: 44th Parliament’, 12 November 2013-4 May 2016, StatsNet website. 47. S Medhora, ‘Malcolm Turnbull hails passage of Senate voting changes after marathon debate’, The Guardian (Australia), 18 March 2016. 48. Department of the Senate, Procedural Information Bulletin, 303, Occasional note, Long sitting days, 23 March 2016. 49. J Marszalek, ‘Mock around the clock’, The Courier Mail, 19 March 2016, p. 34. 50. Day v Australian Electoral Officer for the State of South Australia; Madden v Australian Electoral Officer for the State of Tasmania, (2016) 331

ALR 386, [2016] HCA 20.

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contravened constitutional provisions that senators be ‘directly chosen by the people’.51

18 March Passage of the Territories Legislation Amendment Bill

The Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 passes both Houses. The Bill (among other provisions) amends other legislation to extend all Commonwealth laws to Norfolk Island, unless expressly provided otherwise; and requires eligible Norfolk Island residents to enrol and vote in federal elections.52 In his second reading speech, the Minister for Territories, Paul Fletcher (Lib., Bradfield, NSW), says the Bill:

… is another step towards the Turnbull government meeting its commitment to provide reform in relation to Norfolk Island … in addition to applying Commonwealth laws, the territories bill will ensure the Norfolk Island community is properly represented in the Commonwealth parliament …

53

The changes follow reforms to Norfolk Island’s governance in 2015 which abolished the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, replacing it with an Advisory Council, to transition to an elected Regional Council from July 2016.54

In April, former Norfolk Island Chief Minister Lisle Snell called for a royal commission into what he referred to as the ‘Australian takeover’ of Norfolk Island, and human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson delivered a petition against the perceived takeover signed by Norfolk Islanders to the United Nations in New York.55

Norfolk Island

Image source: Steve Daggar, Wikimedia Commons

51. J Lee, ‘Day loses his Senate voting reform dispute’, The Canberra Times, 14 May 2016, p. 5. 52. Parliament of Australia, ‘Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 homepage’, Australian Parliament website. 53. P Fletcher, ‘Second reading speech: Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 2016; Passenger Movement Charge Amendment (Norfolk Island) Bill 2016’, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 March 2016, pp. 3184-85.

54. C Madden, Norfolk Island Legislative Amendment Bill 2015, Bills digest, 102, 2014-15, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 12 May 2015. See also: A Hough, J McCann and D Heriot, Australia’s Parliament House in 2014 and 2015: a chronology of events, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 23 December 2016, pp. 7, 32.

55. M Davey, ‘Norfolk Island leader calls for royal commission into “Australian takeover”’, The Guardian (Australia), 27 April 2016.

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21 March Request to prorogue Parliament

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull writes to the Governor-General, Peter Cosgrove, requesting that Parliament be prorogued on Friday 15 April and summoned to sit again on Monday 18 April.56 The request, made under section 5 of the Constitution (which enables the Governor-General to prorogue the Parliament) is agreed to and proclaimed by the Governor-General.57

The Prime Minister states that Parliament is being prorogued and then recalled in order to consider two sets of legislation:

Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 and Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013 (ABCC Bills); and Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014.58

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, responds:

… Labor will not get distracted by Mr Turnbull’s games. If he wants Parliament to sit on April 18th, we will turn up, of course we will, but we won’t be distracted on behalf of the interests of the Australian people by Mr Turnbull’s games.

59

The Prime Minister’s letter to the Governor-General

Image source: Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

15 April Parliament is prorogued

Proroguing a Parliament, in effect, terminates the current session of Parliament without dissolving either House, and therefore without requiring an election.60 As a result of prorogation, all business on the Senate and House notice papers lapses.61

Although in recent times it has been unusual to prorogue the Parliament, it was more common in the 1960s and earlier.62 Until 1925 ‘Parliament was prorogued before a dissolution of the House of Representatives and once or twice each Parliament, but, after 1925, for reasons unknown, the practice of proroguing before a dissolution was discontinued and not restored until 1993’.63 Parliament was last prorogued

56. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), Prorogue of Parliament, request for prorogation to the Governor-General, media release, 21 March 2016. 57. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), Press conference, Parliament House, Canberra, 21 March 2016: return of both houses of Parliament on April 18; federal budget on 3 May 2016; ABCC and Registered Organisations Bills; possible double dissolution election, media release, 21 March 2016. Further information about the power of the executive government to determine sessions of parliament is set out in Chapter 7 of R Laing (ed),

Odgers’ Australian Senate practice, 14th edn, Department of the Senate, Canberra, 2016, p. 185. 58. D Muller, ‘So you've been prorogued - common questions answered’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library blog, 23 March 2016. 59. B Shorten (Leader of the Opposition), ‘Press conference, Sydney’, transcript, 21 March 2016. 60. Muller, ‘So you've been prorogued’, op. cit. 61. Ibid.

62. Ibid.

63. Department of the Senate, Procedural Information Bulletin, 303, Occasional note, Prorogation and a new session of Parliament, 23 March 2016.

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and then recalled before an election in 1977 to allow the Queen to open Parliament.64

Proroguing the Parliament with the express aim of recalling the Senate to consider legislation is unusual. 65 Had the Parliament not been prorogued, there was a risk that the Senate may not have agreed to return early from its scheduled recess. On 17 March, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, had stated:

I want to make it very clear, from the Labor Party’s perspective, that we will not be agreeing to a sitting of the Senate that is not currently scheduled simply to assist this government in an election timetable.

66

The successful prorogation sets the stage for the possibility of a double dissolution election.

18 April Parliament resumes after prorogation

Following the prorogation of Parliament on 15 April Parliament is opened by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, for a new session. In his speech opening the new session of parliament, he says:

The cause for which I have recalled the Parliament is to enable it and, in particular, the Senate to give full and timely consideration to two important parcels of industrial legislation—the Bills to provide for the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and the Bill to improve the governance and transparency of registered organisations. These Bills are critical to my Government’s reform agenda.

67

The Senate receives a message from the House of Representatives requesting that the Senate resume consideration of the Building and Construction Industry Bills.68 The Senate complies and the legislation is defeated a second time.69 This action sets in motion the process for a double dissolution election by providing a double dissolution ‘trigger’.70

Image: Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove opens the 2nd Session of the 44th Parliament

Image source: ParlView

Watch: Opening of the 2nd Session of the 44th Parliament (ParlView)

64. Muller, ‘So you've been prorogued’, op. cit. 65. Ibid.

66. P Wong (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate), ‘Adjournment’, Senate, Debates, 17 March 2016, p. 2731. 67. ‘Governor-General’s speech’, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 April 2016, p. 3651. 68. Politics and Public Administration Section, 44th Parliament in review, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 24 November 2016, p. 8. 69. Australia, Senate, Journals, 149, 2013-16, 18 April 2016, p. 4115. 70. Politics and Public Administration Section, 44th Parliament in review, op. cit.

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19 April Prime Minister announces likely date of double dissolution election

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull states that he intends to advise the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of parliament under powers provided by section 57 of the Constitution.71 Mr Turnbull says he expects a federal election will be held on 2 July.72

Malcolm Turnbull

Image source: Auspic

2 May Supply Bills introduced

Peter Hendy (Lib., Eden-Monaro, NSW), the Assistant Cabinet Secretary and Assistant Minister for Finance, introduces supply Bills into the House.73 Supply Bills seek appropriations to facilitate the continuation of normal government business. They were common between Federation and 1993 but, since then, governments have ‘generally delivered the Budget and tabled the annual Appropriation Bills in May, prior to the commencement of the next financial year’, thereby negating the need for supply Bills.74

The passage of the supply Bills on 3 May allows the government to fund ordinary services during the (anticipated) election period, before the 2016-17 Budget Bills are considered and passed by the new Parliament.75 The appropriation Bills are passed by both Houses on 7 November.76

71. D Muller, ‘(Almost) everything you need to know about double dissolution elections’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library blog, 29 April 2016. 72. Ibid.

73. P Hendy, ‘First reading: Supply Bill (No. 1) 2016-17’, ‘First reading: Supply Bill (No. 2) 2016-17’ and ‘First reading: Supply (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2016-17‘, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 May 2016, pp. 3945-47. 74. D Weight, ‘Supply Bills—a reprise’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library Blog, 29 April 2016. 75. Malcolm Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Documents relating to the calling of the double dissolution election [Election 2016]’, 8 May 2016. 76. Parliament of Australia, ‘Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2016-17 homepage’, ‘Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2016-17 homepage’ and ‘Appropriation

(Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2016-17 homepage’, Australian Parliament website.

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2 May New Senator for Western Australia

Patrick Dodson (ALP, WA) is sworn in, having been chosen by the Parliament of Western Australia under section 15 of the Constitution to represent that state in the Senate.77 He fills the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Joe Bullock (ALP, WA). In his valedictory speech on 1 March, Senator Bullock stated that he was resigning due to his disagreement with his party’s policy on same-sex marriage, adopted at its 2015 national conference.78 Senator Dodson makes his first speech on 1 September, saying:

I will be working in this place to: make sure that fewer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are locked up in our prisons; help develop northern Australia, in partnership with regional communities, industries and Aboriginal people; build consensus on changing our constitutional framework, recognising the need for meaningful discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on a treaty or treaties; and ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and their organisations are key decision makers and empowered partners in programs to transform the current levels of injustice and bureaucratic domination.

79

As at the date of publication, Senator Dodson is one of five Indigenous senators and members in the Parliament, the others being: Senators Lambie (JLN, Tas.) and McCarthy (ALP, NT), Assistant Minister Ken Wyatt (Lib., Hasluck, WA) and Ms Linda Burney (ALP, Barton, NSW).

Following the retirement of shadow minister Gary Gray, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, announces a reshuffle of shadow cabinet on 4 May. Senator Dodson is appointed— on his third day in parliament—Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader.80

Patrick Dodson

Image source: Auspic

77. Australia, Senate, ‘Vacancy in the Representation of Western Australia: choice of Patrick Lionel Dodson’, Journals, 151, 2013-16, 2 May 2016, p. 4164. 78. J Bullock, ‘Adjournment: valedictory’, Senate, Debates, 1 March 2016, p. 1521. 79. P Dodson, ‘First speech’, Senate, Debates, 1 September 2016, pp. 448. 80. B Shorten (Leader of the Opposition), ‘Retirement of Gary Gray from shadow cabinet and changes to the shadow executive’, media release,

4 May 2016.

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3 May Constitutional questions raised by Senate amendments to a Bill

The Speaker, Tony Smith (Lib., Casey, Vic.) informs the House that Senate amendments to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016 ‘raise an important point of constitutional principle’.81 He explains:

The amendments propose to amend the definition of ‘Northern Australia’ in the bill. Such change in the definition would change the destination of the appropriation in clause 41 of the bill.

There is doubt that the Senate may proceed in such circumstances by way of amendments because of the requirements of section 53 of the Constitution. Among other things, this section prohibits the Senate from amending a bill so as to increase ‘any proposed charge or burden on the people’.

82

The House resolves the issue by disagreeing to the Senate amendments, but making identical amendments in their place.83 The Senate agrees to the amendments, but the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Gavin Marshall, notes:

Amending a bill to change the allocation of proposed expenditure and the purposes for which money is to be appropriated has long been considered to be within the power of the Senate, provided that the total proposed, or available, expenditure is not increased. In these circumstances, the Senate has taken the view that changing definitions to extend the allocation of funding are appropriately made by amendments rather than requests for amendments.

84

Speaker Tony Smith addresses the House

Image source: ParlView

81. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016: consideration of Senate message’, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 May 2016, p. 4170. 82. Ibid.

83. Australia, House of Representatives, ‘Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016: consideration of House of Representatives message’, Senate, Debates, 3 May 2016, p. 3423. 84. G Marshall (Deputy President), ‘Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016: consideration of House of Representatives message’, Senate, Debates, 3 May 2016, p. 3424.

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3 May 2016-17 Budget delivered

Treasurer Scott Morrison (Lib., Cook, NSW) delivers the 2016- 17 Budget, his first. The Budget has been brought forward by a week to allow for a possible double dissolution election.

In his Budget speech Mr Morrison says:

Australians know that our future depends on how well we continue to grow and shape our economy as we transition from the unprecedented mining investment boom to a stronger, more diverse, new economy … This is a very sensitive time … This economic plan is the foundation on which we can build a brighter, more secure future, in a stronger new economy with more jobs.

85

In his speech in reply, on 5 May, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten responds:

This budget was meant to be Malcolm Turnbull’s justification for rolling Tony Abbott … Australians are left to wonder why he bothered … From Tony’s tradies to Malcolm’s millionaires, this is a budget for big business over the battlers.

86

Due to the expected dissolution of both Houses prior to an election, the Senate Estimates period is shortened to two days (5 and 6 May).87

Scott Morrison

Image source: Auspic

4 May Senator declines to appear before Privileges Committee

Senator Arthur Sinodinos (Lib., NSW) declines to appear before the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee and the matter is referred to the Privileges Committee.88

On 19 April the Senate had agreed to an ALP motion for the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee to inquire into associated entities of political parties, and ‘(that) Senator Sinodinos appear before the committee to answer questions’. 89

The resulting Privileges Committee inquiry lapsed at upon the dissolution of Parliament on 9 May 2016.

Arthur Sinodinos

Image source: Auspic

85. S Morrison, ‘Second reading speech: Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2016-17’, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 May 2016, p. 4255. 86. B Shorten (Leader of the Opposition), ‘Second reading speech: Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2016-17’, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 May 2016, p. 4620. 87. S Parry (President), ‘Adjournment’, Senate, Debates, 4 May 2016, p. 3663. 88. J McAllister, ’Privileges Committee: reference’, Senate, Debates, 4 May 2016, p. 3563. 89. Australia, Senate, Journals, 150, 2013-16, 19 April 2016, p. 4126.

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4 May Former member found guilty of contempt and reprimanded by the House

The House of Representatives passes a motion finding Craig Thomson, the former member for Dobell, guilty of contempt and reprimanding him.90 The motion follows the report of the Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests presented on 17 March 2016 which recommended that the House find Mr Thomson guilty of contempt in relation to his statement on 21 May 2012 and the findings made against him by the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 18 February 2014.91

Craig Thomson

Image source: Auspic

5 May Philip Lowe appointed new Governor of the Reserve Bank

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, announces to the House that Dr Philip Lowe has been appointed as the next Governor of the Reserve Bank, with his term commencing in September when the term of the current governor, Mr Glenn Stevens, ends.92 Dr Lowe has served as the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank since 2012.93

Reserve Bank of Australia building, Sydney

Image source: Danausi, Wikimedia Commons

8 May Governor-General accepts request to dissolve both Houses

The Prime Minister announces the Governor-General has accepted his request under section 57 of the Constitution to dissolve both houses of Parliament effective 9 May 2016, and to call a double dissolution election for both Houses for 2 July 2016.94 The announcement follows the Senate’s rejection of the Building and Construction Industry Bills on 18 April 2016.95

The 2016 federal election will be the seventh time Australia has had a double dissolution election. Double dissolution elections were also held in 1914, 1951, 1974, 1975, 1983 and

90. House of Representatives Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests, Report into whether the former member for Dobell, Mr Craig Thomson, in a statement to the House on 21 May 2012 deliberately mislead the House, Parl. Paper 84, March 2016. 91. Ibid.

92. S Morrison (Treasurer), ‘Statements on Indulgence: Reserve Bank of Australia’, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 May 2016, p. 4584. 93. Ibid.

94. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), Press conference: Election 2016: our economic plan, media release, 8 May 2016; Prime Minister's advice regarding a double dissolution election, media release, 8 May 2016. 95. Muller, ‘(Almost) everything you need to know about double dissolution elections’, op. cit.

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1987,96 making the 2016 election the first in almost thirty years.

9 May Dissolution of both Houses

Both houses of Parliament are dissolved by proclamation of the Governor-General. The Official Secretary to the Governor-General, Mark Fraser, reads the proclamation in front of Parliament House. The signed proclamation is then displayed inside the building.

9 May is also the anniversary of the opening of the first Federal Parliament in 1901, as well as the opening of the provisional and new parliamentary buildings in 1927 and 1988.97

Watch: Simultaneous Dissolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives

Source: ParlView

9 May Retirements and departures

The dissolution of both Houses marks the departure of 23 members and four senators who are not contesting the upcoming election. Between them, the departing parliamentarians have over 450 years of parliamentary experience,98 with many having served as Ministers. They include the second longest-serving MP in Australian parliamentary history, Philip Ruddock (Lib., Berowra, NSW), and the longest-serving female parliamentarian in Australian parliamentary history, Bronwyn Bishop (Lib., Mackellar, NSW). Mr Ruddock retires with over 42 years of parliamentary service (second only to Billy Hughes’ record of 51 years), while Mrs Bishop has served for 28 years (across both Houses).

Bronwyn Bishop

Image source: Auspic

9 May to 2 July Election campaign

The 2016 federal election campaign spans 55 days between the Prime Minister’s announcement of the election and polling day. It is the longest Australian federal election campaign since 1969 and almost twice the average campaign length since then.99

While the election was called after the Senate failed to pass industrial relations legislation, Medicare emerges as the most prominent issue of the campaign. 100

96. Muller, ‘(Almost) everything you need to know about double dissolution elections’, op. cit. 97. Department of the Senate, Procedural Information Bulletin, 305, Simultaneous dissolution, 9 May 2016. 98. S Wright, ‘Election signals mass exodus’, The West Australian, 28 March 2016, p. 6. 99. D Muller, Double, double toil and trouble: the 2016 federal election, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra,

30 June 2017, p. 4. 100. D Muller, ‘The 2016 federal election’, Briefing book: key issues for the 45th Parliament, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2016.

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16 May Death of Romaldo Giurgola

Romaldo (Aldo) Giurgola, the architect of Australia’s Parliament House, dies at age 95. As senior partner of Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects, Mr Giurgola was the principal design architect for the building from its inception until 1999.

In a media release, the Presiding Officers:

… acknowledge Mr Giurgola not only as an exceptional architect of Parliament House but one who, along with a great team of architects, helped to make the Australian Parliament House the iconic symbol of democracy that it has become.

101

Mr Giurgola’s career began in Italy, continued in the United States of America, and culminated in Australia.102 He also had a distinguished academic career, which included serving as head of the Department of Architecture at Columbia University, New York.103 Mr Giurgola received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Officer of the Order of Australia, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, the Australian Centenary Medal and the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings.104

A celebration of Mr Giurgola’s life and his contribution to architecture is held in the Great Hall of Parliament House in August. 105 An exhibition in the Marble Foyer in November and December also celebrates Mr Giurgola and his achievements.

2 July Election Day

The 2016 federal election is held. The election is the first to be conducted under the new optional preferential voting system for the Senate.106

The close result means that no party claims victory until 10 July, when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declares ‘We have won the election’ and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten concedes defeat.107

The Australian Electoral Commission returns the writs for the election on 8 August. Ultimately, the Coalition is returned with 76 seats, a slim majority of one in the House of Representatives, and faces an enlarged crossbench in the

Image source: Dude7248 (Own workown), Wikimedia Commons

101. S Parry (President) and T Smith (Speaker), ‘Death of Romaldo Giurgola AO’, joint media release, 17 May 2016. 102. Ibid. 103. Ibid. 104. Ibid. 105. Ibid. 106. Muller, Double, double toil and trouble, op. cit., p. 1. 107. M Knott, ‘Turnbull claims election victory, Shorten concedes defeat’, The Canberra Times, 11 July 2016, p. 1.

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Senate—with 20 members it is the largest since Federation.108 The election also sees the return of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which gains four Senate seats including a Queensland Senate seat for Pauline Hanson herself.109

In the House, there are five crossbenchers, including Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo, SA), the first member of the Nick Xenophon Team to be elected to the lower house.110 A majority of crossbenchers in the House agree to support the government on matters of supply and confidence.111 The 45th Parliament includes 39 new members of the House of Representatives and 14 new senators.112

One of the new members, Linda Burney (ALP, Barton, NSW), becomes the first Indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives.113 Anne Aly (ALP, Cowan, WA) becomes the first Muslim woman elected to the federal parliament.114

12 July Parliament House lawns vandalised

The lawns on the House of Representatives side of Parliament House are damaged by vandals who used chemicals to write political messages on the grass. The Department of Parliamentary Services immediately commences restoration work on the lawns.115 The messages appeared to include references to ‘hemp’.116

Parliament House lawns (undamaged)

Image source: Wilson Afonso, flickr

108. Muller, Double, double toil and trouble, op. cit. 109. Ibid., p. 15. 110. Ibid., p. 13. 111. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Press conference: [election], media release, 10 July 2016. 112. H Gobbett, Composition of the 45th Parliament: a quick guide, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra,

29 August 2016, p. 2. 113. Ibid. 114. G Parker, ‘Diversity a key word as Aly claims win’, The West Australian, 12 September 2016, p. 7. 115. T McIlroy, ‘Political protest blamed for chemical damage to Parliament House lawn’, The Canberra Times, 12 July 2016, p. 4. 116. Ibid.

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24 August Police raid at Parliament House

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) executes a search warrant at Parliament House as part of an investigation into the alleged leak of NBN Co documents.117 This follows AFP raids on Senator Stephen Conroy’s (ALP, Vic.) Melbourne electorate office and the home of a staff member for then opposition communications spokesperson Jason Clare (Blaxland, NSW) in May 2016, during the federal election campaign.118 Senator Conroy and Mr Clare claim parliamentary privilege over the material seized by the AFP.119

Within Parliament House ‘the police are subject to the authority of the Speaker and the President and their powers are limited by the powers and privileges of the respective Houses’.120

In a statement to the House on 13 September the Speaker, Tony Smith, advises:

… this material is now being held securely in the office of the Clerk of the House. The member for Blaxland is seeking a ruling from the House in relation to his claim of parliamentary privilege, as is provided under the guideline.

This is the first occasion on which a ruling has been sought from the House under the guideline. 121

The matter is referred to the House Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests and the Committee presents its report to the House on 28 November, upholding the claim of parliamentary privilege over the material.122

The Senate Standing Committee of Privileges conducts its own inquiry into Senator Conroy’s claim of parliamentary privilege. The Committee’s preliminary report makes no recommendation on the matter of parliamentary privilege, but a further report tabled on 28 March 2017 recommends that the Senate adopt the Committee’s finding that privilege should be upheld.123 The Senate also establishes a separate inquiry into parliamentary privilege and the use of intrusive powers.

Australian Federal Police patch

Image source: Dave Conner, flickr

117. P Karp, ‘Federal police raid Parliament House over alleged NBN leak’, The Guardian (Australia), 24 August 2016. 118. D Crowe, ‘AFP raids Conroy office, Labor adviser’s house’, The Australian, 20 May 2016, p. 1. 119. Karp, op. cit. 120. BC Wright and PE Fowler (eds.), House of Representatives practice, 6th edn, Department of the House of Representatives, Canberra, 2012,

p. 129.

121. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Statement by the Speaker: Privilege, Petitions’, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 September 2016, p. 675. 122. R Broadbent, ‘Privileges and Members’ Interests Committee: report’, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 November 2016, p. 4505. 123. Senate Standing Committee of Privileges, Search warrants and the Senate, 164th report, The Senate, Canberra, March 2017, p. 8.

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30 August Opening and composition of the 45th Parliament

The opening of the 45th Parliament begins with a Welcome to Country address by Ngunnawal elder Tina Brown and a smoking ceremony. Such ceremonies have been held at the opening of each parliament since 2008. Next, the 45th Parliament is officially opened by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. In his speech, the Governor-General outlines the Government’s agenda for the 45th Parliament.

At the commencement of the 45th Parliament, the House of Representatives comprises: 76 Coalition members; 69 ALP members; two Independents; one Australian Greens member; one Katter’s Australian Party member; and one member of the Nick Xenophon Team.124 The Senate comprises: 30 Coalition senators, 26 ALP senators; nine Australian Greens senators; and 11 minor party senators.125

The number of women in Parliament has risen from 69 (31 per cent) in the 44th Parliament to 73 (32 per cent) in the 45th Parliament.126 For the first time at the commencement of a Parliament, all major parties have a female leader or deputy leader.127

One of the first orders of business for the new Parliament is the election of the Presiding Officers. The Speaker of the House,128 Tony Smith, and the President of the Senate, Stephen Parry, are both re-elected unopposed.129 In keeping with tradition, the Speaker is symbolically dragged to the chair by colleagues.130

Tina Brown gives the Welcome to Country address

Image source: ParlView

Sir Peter Cosgrove inspects the Guard

Image source: Auspic

Watch: The opening of the 45th Parliament

Tony Smith is dragged to the Speaker’s chair by colleagues Michael Sukkar and Lucy Wicks

Image source: ParlView

124. H Gobbett, Composition of the 45th Parliament: a quick guide, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra 29 August 2016. 125. Ibid. 126. Ibid. 127. Ibid. 128. M Sukkar, ‘Parliamentary office holders: Speaker’, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 August 2016, p. 5. 129. G Brandis, ‘Parliamentary office holders: President’, Senate, Debates, 30 August 2016, p. 2. 130. Australia, House of Representatives, The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia website, p. 3.

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30 August Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, congratulates the Australian athletes who competed in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, saying:

For a country of 24 million we have again punched above our weight—an outstanding achievement and a credit to each of our athletes. The team brought home eight gold medals, 11 silver and 10 bronze … I speak on behalf of all honourable members and indeed all Australians in saying congratulations on a job well done.

131

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, says:

It is a pleasure to join the Prime Minister in congratulating all 422 of our Australian Olympians on their efforts in Rio. Before we go any further, we send the goodwill and best wishes of this House and the Australian people to the 178 members of our Paralympic Team who are preparing for their games which will begin on 7 September.

132

Olympic rings

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

31 August Rotation of senators

Section 13 of the Constitution states that, following a double dissolution election, the Senate must decide which senators will serve a full six-year term, and which will serve a three-year term and face election at the next federal election. At each federal election, other than a double dissolution election, half of the State senators are elected on a rotating basis for a six-year term. Territory senators, however, must face re-election at each federal election.

The Senate resolves the issue on its second sitting day.133 Senator Mitch Fifield (Lib., Vic.) moves:

That, pursuant to section 13 of the Constitution, the senators chosen for each state be divided into two classes, as follows:

Senators listed at positions 7 to 12 on the certificate of election of senators for each state shall be allocated to the first class and receive 3 year terms.

Senators listed at positions 1 to 6 on the certificate of election of senators for each state shall be allocated to the second class and receive 6 year terms. 134

Senate chamber

Watch: Motion on the rotation of Senators

Source: ParlView

131. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Statements on Indulgence: Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games’, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 August 2016, p. 32. 132. B Shorten (Leader of the Opposition), ‘Statements on Indulgence: Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games’, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 August 2016, p. 32. 133. D Muller, ‘Rotation of Senators - Parliament of Australia’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library blog, 9 September 2016.

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The motion is passed by 50 votes to 15, with Coalition and ALP senators voting in favour and those voting against including Senators Day, Hinch, Leyonhjelm and the Nick Xenophon Team and Australian Greens senators.135

31 August First speech by the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the House of Representatives

Linda Burney (ALP, Barton, NSW), the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, is sung into the Parliament by her Wiradjuri sister Lynette Riley, before making her first speech.136 In her speech, she speaks briefly in the Wiradjuri language.137

Ms Burney previously served in the New South Wales (NSW) Parliament, becoming the first Indigenous member of that Parliament upon her election in 2003.138 In 2007 she became the first Indigenous person to serve as a minister in the NSW Parliament.

Linda Burney

Image source: Auspic

Watch: Linda Burney’s first speech

Source: ParlView

31 August Building and Construction Bills and Budget Bills reintroduced

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull re-introduces the Bills that triggered the double dissolution election: the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, the Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013 (ABCC Bills), and the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014.139 The Budget Savings Omnibus Bill 2016 is introduced by the Treasurer on the same day.140

31 August Largest number of sponsors for a Bill

The Racial Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016 is sponsored by 20 senators on its introduction to the Senate, making it the Bill with the largest number of sponsors in the history of the Parliament.141 The Bill seeks to amend section 18C of the

134. M Fifield (Manager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and the Arts), ‘Parliamentary Representation: Rotation of Senators’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 2016, p. 157. 135. Muller, ‘Rotation of Senators’, op. cit. 136. L Burney, ‘Governor-General’s speech: Address-in-Reply’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 2016, p. 163-168. 137. Ibid. 138. H Gobbett, Indigenous parliamentarians, federal and state: a quick guide, Research paper series, 2017-18, Parliamentary Library, Canberra,

updated 11 July 2017, p. 2. 139. M Turnbull, ‘Second reading speech: Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 2016, p. 81; M Turnbull, ‘Second reading speech: Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional

Provisions) Bill 2013’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 2016, p. 85; M Turnbull, ‘Second reading speech: Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 2016, p. 85. S Morrison, ‘Second reading speech: Budget Savings Omnibus Bill 2016’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 August 2016, p. 91. 140. Ibid. 141. H Gobbett, S Speldewinde and R Lundie, First, most and more: facts about the federal parliament, Research paper series, 2016-17, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 10 May 2017, p. 15.

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Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (which makes unlawful certain offensive acts that are done because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin) to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’. 142

1 September Ministerial statement on national security

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, provides an update to the House on national security. In his ministerial statement, he says:

… Daesh [also known as ISIL or ISIS] is presently the most immediate security challenge that directly affects us all … and it is therefore my focus today … In order to defeat this despotic and barbaric movement, we are working closely with our friends and allies to destroy it at its core: its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq … That is why a 400-member Australian Defence Force Air Task Group is conducting air strikes over Daesh strongholds in Iraq and Syria and a similar number of ADF personnel are training and assisting Iraqi ground forces …Now the tide has turned in the Middle Eastern fight against Daesh.

143

The Prime Minister concludes:

We cannot be effective if we are creating division, whether by fomenting distrust within the Muslim community or inciting fear of Muslims in broader society … The aim of extremists, including those committing violence through a warped and nihilistic interpretation of religion, is to divide us and to turn our citizens against each other. But we will not let them win.

144

Malcolm Turnbull delivers a ministerial statement on national security

Image source: ParlView

1 September Government loses votes on the floor of the House of Representatives

The Coalition Government loses three votes on the floor of the House of Representatives: a motion to adjourn; a motion on the closure of debate; and an amendment requiring the House to consider a message (concerning the establishment of a banking royal commission) from the Senate immediately.145 The votes were lost because a number of Coalition members were absent from the House, some reportedly having left to fly home to their electorates.146

All of the lost votes were on procedural matters. In the third vote, the Speaker, Tony Smith, uses his casting vote to decide

Tony Smith

Image source: Auspic

142. Parliament of Australia, ‘Racial Discrimination Amendment Bill 2016 homepage’, Australian Parliament website. 143. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial statements: national security’, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 September 2016, pp. 235-239. 144. Ibid. 145. S Speldewinde, ‘Government losing votes on the floor of the House’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library blog, 5 September 2016. 146. M Koziol, ‘Ambush in the House’, The Canberra Times, 2 September 2016, p. 1.

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the matter, noting:

… the principles regarding a casting vote by the Speaker are outlined in House of Representatives Practice— specifically on page 183—and they include that the Speaker should vote to allow further discussion where this is possible.

147

The last time a majority government lost a division in the House was in 1962.148

The House of Representatives Practice notes that ‘[a]lthough it has been claimed that the loss of control of the business of the House is a matter over which Governments should resign, the loss of a vote on such an issue is not necessarily fatal for a Government’.149

12 September Ministerial statement on the economy and national security

Following the G20, ASEAN-Australian Summit, East Asia Summit and Pacific Islands Forums, the Prime Minister makes a statement in the House on the economy and national security. On the economy, the Prime Minister says:

… we must not respond to global and domestic volatility by giving in to populists peddling the empty promises of isolationism and the false hopes of protectionism … At the G20, all leaders acknowledged that subdued global economic growth and rapid change is playing into anxiety over industries that are left behind. There is understandable fear about what this means for economic circumstances, economic security in certain communities.

150

On national security, the Prime Minister says:

North Korea’s ongoing provocative, dangerous and destabilising behaviour aggravates tensions in the region and threatens peace and security. 151

Malcolm Turnbull makes a ministerial statement on the economy and national security

Image source: ParlView

147. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Resolutions of the Senate: Banking and Financial Services’, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 September 2016, p. 382. 148. Speldewinde, op. cit. 149. Ibid. 150. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial statements: economy and national security’, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 September

2016, pp. 449-454. 151. Ibid.

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12 September 30 millionth visitor to Parliament House

On or around this date, Parliament House welcomes its 30 millionth visitor since its opening in 1988.152

In the 2015-16 financial year, 725,992 people visited Parliament House.153

Parliament House on its opening day in 1988

Image courtesy of National Archives of Australia

13 September Electronic petitions in the House

The Speaker informs the House that an electronic petitions (e-petitions) website and system have been developed for the House.154 The system will allow members of the public to enter and sign petitions online and to track their progress. It becomes available later in September.155 Later that day the House amends its standing orders to enable e-petitions.

13 September Unusual Question on Notice

Terri Butler (ALP, Griffith, Qld) asks the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, a Question without Notice (on the subject of Mr Shorten’s private member’s Bill on marriage equality).156 It is rare, but not unprecedented, for a question on notice to be directed to a member other than a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary.157

Terri Butler in Question Time

Image source: ParlView

14 September Introduction of Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, introduces the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 into the House. In his second reading speech he says:

I present to the House today the commitment that we

152. Australian Parliament House (@Aust_Parliament), ‘Hear hear! We’re about to see our 30 millionth visitor’, tweet, 11 September 2016, https://twitter.com/aust_parliament/status/775168584058179584. 153. Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS), Annual report 2015-16, DPS, Canberra, p. viii. 154. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Statement by the Speaker: Privilege, Petitions’, Senate, Debates, 13 September 2016, p. 675. 155. R Vasta, ‘Petitions: Statements’, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 October 2016, p. 1224. 156. B Shorten, ‘Answer to Question without Notice: Marriage’, [Questioner: T Butler], House of Representatives, Debates, 13 September 2016,

p. 720.

157. Wright and Fowler, House of Representatives practice, 6th edition, op. cit., pp. 551-2.

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made in the election campaign to put the question of whether same-sex couples will be allowed to marry under Australian law to the Australian people in a plebiscite … I ask the opposition today, I ask the Leader of the Opposition today, to support this plebiscite.

158

The Bill is rejected by the Senate on 7 November.159

15 September Dr Rosemary Laing to retire as Clerk of the Senate

Dr Rosemary Laing, the Clerk of the Senate, annouces her forthcoming retirement. Dr Laing has worked for the Senate for 26 years, serving as Clerk since 2009.160

Rosemary Laing

Image source: Auspic

30 September Resignation of Senator Stephen Conroy

Senator Stephen Conroy (ALP, Vic.) resigns, creating a casual vacancy in the Senate.161 Senator Conroy served as a senator for twenty years, including as a Minister. Instead of giving his resignation speech he tables it during debate on the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016, taking colleagues and the media by surprise.162

Stephen Conroy

Image source: Auspic

158. M Turnbull, ‘Second reading speech: Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016’, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 September 2016, pp. 845-48. 159. Australia, Senate, ‘Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016’, Journals, 12, 2016, 7 November 2016, pp. 400-401. 160. L Tingle, ‘Turnbull loving job but others call it quits’, The Australian Financial Review, 17 September 2016, p. 4. 161. S Conroy, ‘Second reading speech: Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016’, Senate, Debates, 15 September 2016, pp. 1180-83. 162. M Grattan, ‘The strange case of Stephen Conroy’s invisible resignation’, The Conversation, 16 September 2016.

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10 October Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry—Lionel Murphy

The President of the Senate, Stephen Parry, and the Speaker of the House, Tony Smith, make statements in their respective Houses regarding the release of documents from the 1986 Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of Justice Lionel Murphy (a former senator). The Commission’s role was to determine whether Justice Murphy’s conduct constituted misbehaviour under section 72 of the Constitution.163 The inquiry was discontinued in August 1986 when Justice Murphy became terminally ill, and legislation was passed which gave the presiding officers exclusive possession of the documents of the Commission for 30 years from its commencement.164

Following the expiration of the 30-year period on 26 September 2016, the presiding officers advise that they:

… have determined that the Clerks of the Senate and the House of Representatives and other nominees approved by us can access and examine the records of the commission for the purposes of providing advice to assist in our responses to requests for access … We are awaiting advice on the contents of the records before determining any arrangements for wider access to them.

165

The class B records are made available on the Australian Parliament House website on 19 December 2016, while the class A records will be tabled in both houses on 14 September 2017.166

Lionel Murphy in 1973

Image source: Rob Mieremet/Anefo, Wikimedia Commons

10 October Equal rights motion

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull moves a motion in support of equal rights for all Australians. The motion states:

That this House:

(1) reaffirms its commitment to the right of all Australians to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour, creed or origin;

(2) reaffirms its commitment to maintaining an immigration policy wholly non-discriminatory on

Watch: Equal rights motion

Source: ParlView

163. S Parry (President of the Senate), ‘Statement by the President: Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry’, Senate, Debates, 10 October 2016, p. 1225. 164. Ibid. 165. Ibid. 166. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Statement by the Speaker: Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry’, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 September 2017,

p. 10411, and S Parry (President of the Senate), ‘Statement by the President: Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry’, Senate, Debates, 14 September 2017, p. 7281.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 31

Milestones Details

grounds of race, colour, creed or origin;

(3) reaffirms its commitment to the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the context of redressing their profound social and economic disadvantage;

(4) reaffirms its commitment to maintaining Australia as a culturally diverse, tolerant and open society, united by an overriding commitment to our nation, and its democratic institutions and values; and

(5) denounces racial intolerance in any form as incompatible with the kind of society we are and want to be. 167

The motion is referred to the Federation Chamber for debate on 23 November 2016.168 On the same day, members from the Government and the Opposition speak in support of the motion. 169

12 October Prime Minister of Singapore addresses the Parliament

The Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, addresses the Parliament—the first time a Singaporean Prime Minister has done so. In his address, Prime Minister Lee says:

I am honoured to address you in this Parliament House today. I am also very happy that with a comprehensive strategic partnership, the CSP, Singapore's relationship with Australia has reached another significant milestone.

170

In a press conference the following day with Prime Minister Lee, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says that the CSP ‘is the most comprehensive upgrade and update to an Australian free trade agreement to date’.171

Lee Hsien Loong

Image source: ParlView

Watch: Address by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, to Senators and Members

Source: ParlView

12 October Opposition second reading amendment passes the House

The Coalition Government accidentally votes in favour of a motion which calls on the Government to explain ‘why it has failed to close tax loopholes and increase transparency in

Watch: ParlView

167. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Motion: equal rights, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 October 2016, pp. 1251-1254. 168. N Marino MP (Chief Government Whip), ‘Motion: equal rights-reference to Federation Chamber’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 November 2016, p. 4075. 169. ‘Motions: Equal Rights’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 November 2016, p. 4259-4302. 170. H L Lee (Prime Minister of Singapore), ‘Address by the Prime Minister of Singapore’, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 October 2016,

pp. 1679-82. 171. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Press conference with the Prime Minister of Singapore [Lee Hsien Loong], Parliament House, Canberra’, transcript, 13 October 2016.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 32

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Australia’. 172 It is the first time a second reading amendment has passed the House of Representatives.173

Later in the day, the Speaker makes the following statement to the House:

Earlier today, the question on a second reading amendment moved by the member for Fenner on the International Tax Agreements Amendment Bill 2016 was put to the House and, as I understand it, called for the ayes … the amendment was validly passed and proceedings on the bill should have ceased at that point. I understand that questions on the second and third readings of the bill were then put. This should not have happened and those proceedings were not valid.

… House of Representatives Practice discusses the possibility of a second reading amendment being agreed to and states … ‘procedural actions could be taken to restore the bill to the notice paper and have the second reading moved on another occasion.’ … I consider this a reasonable course of action and I will permit that to occur.

174

13 October Senate photography ban lifted

A motion to lift restrictions on photography in the Senate chamber, moved by Senator Derryn Hinch (DHCP, Vic.), is passed by the Senate,175 bringing it into line with the media rules operating in the House of Representatives chamber.176

The Senate photography restrictions have been in place since 2002 and their removal follows an extended campaign by photographers and media organisations. 177

Derryn Hinch moves a motion to lift restrictions on photography in the Senate chamber

Image source: ParlView

18 October Ministerial statement—Iraq

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, updates the House on the battle against Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS). He says:

172. T McIlroy, ‘Embarrassing blunder “a first”’, The Age, 13 October 2016, p. 5. 173. Wright and Fowler, op. cit., p. 370. 174. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Statement by the Speaker: International Tax Agreements Amendment Bill 2016’, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 October 2016, p. 1769.

175. Australia, Senate, ‘Senate Chamber-Photography-Cessation of Order’, Journals, 11, 2016, 13 October 2016, p. 328. 176. D Hinch, ‘Motions: Photography in the Senate’, Senate, Debates, 13 October 2016, p. 1754. 177. M Knott, ‘Senate scraps archaic photography ban following 25-year fight for transparency’, The Sydney Morning Herald, (online edition), 13 October 2016.

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Milestones Details

… Iraqi security forces have commenced operations to liberate Mosul from the terrorist group Daesh, or ISIL. Australia is making a vital contribution to this campaign, as our forces have done in the successful recapture of other centres from Daesh, such as Ramadi …

The defeat of Daesh is critical for Iraq, for the region and for Australia. From Daesh controlled territory in Iraq and Syria, this Islamic terrorist network has directed and inspired attacks in Australia and around the world …

As we continue the fight against Daesh on the battlefield in the Middle East, our thoughts and prayers are with our service men and women, along with their families at home.

178

25 October New senator for Victoria

Kimberley Kitching is appointed by a joint sitting of the two houses of the Victorian Parliament to the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Senator Stephen Conroy on 30 September.179 Senator Kitching (ALP, Vic.) is sworn in on 7 November and makes her first speech on 9 November.180

Kimberley Kitching

Image source: Auspic

1 November Senator Bob Day resigns

Senator Bob Day (FFP, SA) resigns from the Senate, citing the withdrawal of a potential investor in his housing companies, which have been placed in liquidation. 181 He says ‘I will now devote my time and energy to assisting those who have been affected by the company’s closure’.182

His resignation comes amidst controversy about his eligibility under subsection 44(iii) of the Constitution, which disqualifies undischarged bankrupts or insolvents, and/or subsection 44(v) of the Constitution to sit in the Senate, a question subsequently resolved by the High Court in 2017.183 On 5 April 2017 the High Court ruled unanimously that he was ‘incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator by reason of s 44(v) of the Constitution’ and that ‘the resulting vacancy

Bob Day

Image source: Auspic

178. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial statements: Iraq’, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 October 2016, p. 2269. 179. S Parry (President of the Senate), ‘Parliamentary Representation: Victoria’, Senate, Debates, 7 November 2016, p. 1877. 180. K Kitching, ‘First speech’, Senate, Debates, 9 November 2016, pp. 2369-2373. 181. P Karp, ‘Bob Day resigns from the Senate, effective immediately’, The Guardian (Australia), 1 November 2016. 182. Ibid. 183. D Muller, ‘The departures continue: constitutional disqualification from Parliament’, FlagPost, Parliamentary Library blog, 21 July 2017.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 34

Milestones Details

should be filled by a special count of ballot papers’.

Section 44(v) states ‘Any person who:

… has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons; shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

2 November Visit by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

The King and Queen of the Netherlands visit Parliament House as part of a state visit to Australia from 31 October to 4 November. Their Majesties are accompanied by the Dutch Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Economic Affairs, and a commercial delegation.184 The state visit, their first to Australia, coincides with commemorative activities marking the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the landing in Western Australia of Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog.185

King Willem-Alexander

Image source: Royal House of the Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons

7 November Senate refers Day and Culleton matters to the High Court

Under section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Senate refers two matters to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.186 Both matters involve the qualification of senators under section 44 of the Constitution. The first involves a possible pecuniary conflict of interest relating to the lease for an electoral office for former Senator Day (FFP, SA). The second matter relates to Senator Culleton (PHON, WA) and his conviction for larceny which was subsequently annulled, but had stood throughout the election period.

Read: Related documents

7 November Ceremony commemorating members of the House of Representatives who died in office

A private rose planting ceremony is held in the Parliament House gardens in memory of the three members of the House of Representatives who died while serving in office since the building opened in 1988—Greg Wilton (2000), Peter Nugent (2001) and Don Randall (2015).

184. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Dutch royal visit to Australia’, media release, 2 November 2016. 185. Ibid. 186. Australia, Senate, ‘Qualification of Former Senator Day: reference to Court of Disputed Returns’ and ‘Qualification of Senator Culleton: documents: proposed reference to Court of Disputed Returns’, Journals, 12, 2016, 7 November 2016, pp. 374-376.

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Milestones Details

8 November Infants in the Senate

The Senate adopts a recommendation of the Procedure Committee’s First report of 2016,187 amending the Standing Orders to allow in the chamber an infant being breastfed or ‘briefly cared for’ by a senator, ‘provided the business of the Senate is not disrupted’.188 The amendment was proposed by Larissa Waters (AG, Qld).

The amendment follows similar changes implemented in the House on 2 February 2016 (see entry for that date).

Since 2003, Senate standing orders (175.3) had permitted a senator to bring an infant into the chamber while breastfeeding, but not at other times.189

21 November Member for Hotham sworn in

The member for Hotham, Clare O’Neil, is sworn in, having been on parental leave since the commencement of the 45th Parliament.

Clare O’Neil

Image source: Auspic

21 November Nationals senators cross the floor over shotgun ban

Two Nationals senators, Bridget McKenzie (Vic.) and John Williams (NSW) cross the floor to support a motion by crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm aiming to lift a ban on the importation of the Adler shotgun. 190 Other Nationals senators abstain.191 The motion is defeated, 45 votes to seven.192

Bridget McKenzie

Image source: ParlView

Watch: ParlView

187. Senate Procedure Committee, Photography in the chamber; Ministerial statements; Caring for infants, report, 1, The Senate, Canberra, October 2016. 188. Australia, Senate, ’23 Procedure—Standing Committee—First Report of 2016—Consideration’, Senate, Journals, 13, 2016, 8 November 2016, p. 420. 189. Dr R Laing, Annotated standing orders of the Australian Senate, Chapter 29, ‘Visitors’, Department of the Senate, Canberra, 2009. 190. D Meers, ‘Nats in the crosshairs’, The Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2016, p. 8. 191. Ibid. 192. Australia, Senate, ‘Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment (Shotguns and Shotgun Magazines) Regulation: proposed disallowance’,

Journals, 16, 2016, 21 November 2016, pp. 498-99.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 36

Milestones Details

22 November Visit by the King and Queen of Jordan

King Abdullah Il Ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan visit Parliament House as part of a state visit to Australia. During the visit, His Majesty and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sign a Joint Declaration on Enhanced Cooperation to elevate bilateral cooperation between Australia and Jordan.193

King Abdullah of Jordan and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Image source: ParlView

Watch: Press conference - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and King Abdullah of Jordan

23 November Ministerial statements on investment and national security

The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo (Lib., Moncrieff, Qld) presents the Annual Investment Statement, updating the House on the government’s work promoting Australia as a place for foreign investment. He advises the House that the major sources of foreign investment in Australia, as of 2015, were the United States, the United Kingdom, the remainder of the European Union, and Japan.194 He notes that new foreign direct investment into Australia in 2015 was down by roughly 24.7 per cent on the amount invested into Australia in 2014.195

Following his attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Peru, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, updates the House on international cooperation on counterterrorism. He says:

… the rising influence in our region of terrorist organisations, such as ISIL or Daesh, demands the attention of Australia and its neighbours … No one country can fight terrorism on its own … over the past decade we have built closer diplomatic and security relationships with our neighbours, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

196

Steven Ciobo delivers the Annual Investment Statement

Image source: ParlView

193. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Visit to Australia by the King and Queen of Jordan’, 22 November 2016. 194. S Ciobo (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment), ‘Ministerial Statement: Annual Investment Statement’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 November 2016, pp. 4075-80. 195. Ibid. 196. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial statement: national security’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 November 2016, pp. 4091-95.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 37

Milestones Details

23 November Domestic and family violence

Ahead of White Ribbon Day on 25 November, members of the House speak on ‘the need to address family violence as a national priority’. Emma Husar (ALP, Lindsay, NSW) speaks about her personal experiences:

In my first speech in this place, I said 29 out of my 36 years of life had been affected by domestic violence. I am a survivor of family violence, and it has taken me a long time to overcome the trauma of that and be where I am today. I know there are a lot of women out there, many of whom suffer in silence, and today I stand in solidarity with survivors and with those women who are afraid to speak.

197

Emma Husar

Image source: Auspic

Watch: ParlView

24 November Ministerial statement on infrastructure

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, makes a statement on infrastructure in the House. He says:

If Australia is to ride the wave of opportunity that the 21st century offers, we need better infrastructure … this is why the government has increased infrastructure investment to a record $80 billion to get vital projects underway across the country … with much more to come under the guidance of the independent, long-term vision provided by Infrastructure Australia’s long term plan.

198

29 November Susan Kiefel appointed Chief Justice of the High Court

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Attorney-General, George Brandis, announce the appointment of Susan Kiefel as the next Chief Justice to the High Court of Australia.199 She will be the first woman to hold the position. Justice Kiefel has served on the High Court Bench since 2007.200

The Chief Justice often acts in the Governor-General’s place, particularly at ceremonies such as the opening of Parliament. Susan Kiefel in 2011

Image source: Office of the Governor-General of Australia, Wikimedia Commons

197. E Husar, ‘Matters of Public Importance: Domestic and Family Violence’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 November 2016, p. 4174. 198. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial statement: infrastructure’, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 November 2016, p. 4343 ff. 199. M Turnbull (Prime Minister) and G Brandis (Attorney-General), ‘Appointments to the High Court of Australia’, joint media release, 29 November 2016.

200. Ibid.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 38

Milestones Details

30 November House of Representatives Question Time suspended due to protest

Around fifty people protesting against the Government’s treatment of asylum seekers disrupt Question Time from the public gallery of the House of Representatives. The Speaker, Tony Smith, suspends Question Time while the protestors, some of whom superglued their hands to railings, are removed by security staff.201 The Speaker tells the House:

Obviously, the action I took in suspending the sitting was a last resort … I wondered whether we could plough on in the extraordinary circumstances and made a judgement that we could not … The dignity of the House would have been severely compromised had we continued.

202

Seven of the protesters face trial in July 2017, pleading not guilty to damaging Commonwealth property.203

The following day, some of the protesters return to Parliament House, with two abseiling down the front of a building and others dyeing the water feature in the building’s forecourt red.204

Protesters abseil down the front of Parliament House on 1 December 2016

Image source: A Hough

Watch: ParlView

1 December Senate pays tribute to Dr Rosemary Laing on her upcoming retirement

The Senate pays tribute to Dr Rosemary Laing ‘for her distinguished work as Clerk of the Senate’ on her last sitting day in the Senate.205 The President of the Senate, Stephen Parry, thanks Dr Laing for ‘her judgement, her trust, her confidentiality and, above all, the way she has regarded the Senate’, noting that she ‘has never failed the Senate’.206

On 29 November the President of the Senate, Stephen Parry, had announced that Richard Pye, the Deputy Clerk of the Senate, would replace Dr Laing as Clerk of the Senate.207

Under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (Cth) the term of appointment for the Clerk of the Senate (and for the Clerk of the House of Representatives) is 10 years.

Richard Pye

Image source: Auspic

Watch: Tributes to Rosemary Laing

Source: ParlView

201. G Hutchens, ‘Pro-refugee protesters disrupt parliament and shut down question time’, The Guardian Australia, 30 November 2016. 202. T Smith, ‘Statement by the Speaker: Public Gallery: Incident’, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 November 2016, p. 4945. 203. A Back, ‘Not guilty plea to damaging Commonwealth property’, The Canberra Times, 13 July 2017, p. 10. 204. P Karp, ‘Refugee protesters abseil down Parliament House and dye fountain red’, The Guardian Australia, 1 December 2016. 205. ‘Clerk of the Senate’, Senate, Debates, 1 December 2016, p. 4116. 206. S Parry (President of the Senate), ‘Clerk of the Senate’, Senate, Debates, 1 December 2016, p. 4116. 207. S Parry (President of the Senate), ‘Clerk of the Senate’, Senate, Debates, 29 November 2016, p. 3505.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 39

Milestones Details

1 December Security changes at Parliament House approved by both Houses

The House and the Senate approve proposed perimeter security enhancements at Parliament House, which will include additional fencing. The Speaker advises the House:

All enhancements, those already completed and those being proposed today, are the result of advice from our security agencies and are based on many months of consideration.

208

In the Senate, the changes are opposed by the Australian Greens and by Senator Derryn Hinch (DHJP, Vic.).

Senator Hinch states:

… I think what you are planning is like putting barbed wire on the Opera House. This is an aesthetic building; it is the people's building. 209

The 2.6-metre high fence will form a new external perimeter for the building’s southern and northern grassed ramps.210

18 December Senator Rod Culleton quits Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

Senator Rod Culleton resigns from Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party to sit as an independent senator.211 His resignation comes amidst controversy about his eligibility under section 44(ii) of the Constitution to sit in the Senate, a question resolved by the High Court in 2017.212 On 3 February 2017 the High Court ruled that ‘By reason of s44(ii) of the Constitution, there is a vacancy in the representation of Western Australia in the Senate for the place for which Senator Rodney Norman Culleton was returned’ and that ‘The vacancy shall be filled by a special count of the ballot papers’.

Rod Culleton

Image source: Auspic

208. T Smith (Speaker), ‘Parliamentary Zone’, House of Representatives, Debates, 1 December 2016, p. 5089. 209. D Hinch, ‘Parliamentary Zone: Approval of Works’, Senate, Debates, 1 December 2016, p. 3945. 210. T McIlroy and M Koziol, ‘Public in dark over new fence’, The Canberra Times, 8 December 2016, p. 8. 211. M Grattan, ‘Blame game rages as Culleton quits Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’, The Conversation, 19 December 2016. 212. Ibid.

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 40

Appendix: Key Commonwealth Acts passed in 2016

ACT BILLS DIGEST PURPOSE OF ACT

Aged care

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Act 2016

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 94, 2015-16, 1 March 2016.

Will allocate home care packages (HCPs) directly to consumers, rather than to approved providers, create a national system for prioritising consumer access to HCPs and reduce regulation of the approval process for all aged care providers.

Budget

Budget Savings (Omnibus) Act 2016 Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 7, 2016-17,

12 September 2016.

This Bill containing 24 measures and totalling more than $6 billion in savings is part of the Turnbull government's $40 billion in budget improvement measures that the government will be seeking to legislate over the coming months, including some $25 billion in expenditure savings.

Courts

Courts Administration Legislation Amendment Act 2016

Courts Administration Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, Bills Digest, 76, 2015-16, 3 February 2016.

Will bring the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia into a single administrative entity and make legislative provision for the courts to share corporate services. (Also includes the National Native Title Tribunal).

Crime

Criminal Code Amendment (War Crimes) Act 2016 C Raymond and J Tomaras, Criminal Code Amendment (War

Crimes) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 43, 2016-17, 23 November 2016.

Proposes to amend the war crimes offences in the Criminal Code Act 1995 to address some anomalies in the treatment of acts done in the course of a ‘non-international armed conflict’ with the requirements of international humanitarian law (IHL). These anomalies are said to limit the capability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to undertake international security operations, and may expose members of the ADF to domestic criminal liability

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 41

despite acting in compliance with the requirements of IHL.

Education

VET Student Loans Act 2016 J Griffiths, VET Student Loans Bill 2016 [and] VET Student Loans

(Charges) Bill 2016 [and] VET Student Loans (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 41, 2016-17, 22 November 2016.

Part of a package of three Bills to replace the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme with a student loans program.

Employment

Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Act 2016

J Murphy, Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Bill 2014, Bills Digest, 40, 2016-17, 21 November 2016.

The Bill is framed partly as a response to widely publicised misconduct by officers of the Health Services Union and other evidence of poor governance of some trade unions uncovered by the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption. The stated aim of the Bill is to improve the standard of governance of registered organisations and deter wrongdoing by amending the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009.

Privacy

Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2016

MA Neilsen, Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 52, 2016-17, 8 December 2016.

Implements recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and the Australian Law Reform Commission by amending the Privacy Act 1988 to require agencies, organisations and certain other entities to provide notice to the Australian Information Commissioner and affected individuals of an eligible data breach.

Tax

Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Act 2016

K Sanyal, Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 116, 2015-16, 4 May 2016.

Ensures that the goods and services tax (GST) is applied consistently to all supplies of digital products and other imported services to Australian consumers.

Income Tax Rates Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Reform) Act 2016

K Swoboda and R Dossor, Income Tax Rates Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Reform) Bill 2016 [and related Bills], Bills Digest, 30,

The four Bills in this package implement the Government’s announcement on 27 September 2016 that working holiday makers would be taxed at a rate of 19

Australia's Parliament House in 2016: a chronology of events 42

2016-17, 4 November 2016. per cent for income from this work up to $37,000 (‘backpacker tax’).

Terrorism

Criminal Code Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Act 2016

M Biddington, Criminal Code Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Bill 2016, Bills Digest, 48, 2016-17, 29 November 2016.

Amends the Criminal Code Act 1995 to establish a scheme for the continuing detention of high risk terrorist offenders who are considered by a judge in civil proceedings to present an unacceptable risk to the community at the conclusion of their custodial sentence.

Please note: All internet sources in this chronology have been accessed between 27 November 2017 and 5 December 2017 unless otherwise stated

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