Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 9 May 2000
Page: 16052

Mr TIM FISCHER (3:13 PM) —Mr Speaker, I ask you a question without notice and I refer to section 125 of the Constitution, which states that `The Parliament shall sit at Melbourne until it meet at the seat of Government' and provides that that `shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney'. I refer further to section 52, which says that parliament does, in effect, have the right to make provisions with regard to the seat of government of the Commonwealth. Since I last raised this matter, and given that this is the 99th anniversary of the first sitting of this parliament, can you update the House with regard to preparations for the centenary sitting of this parliament. Is there now a green light with regard to the legal complications, and has the red light over there now changed to amber?

Mr SPEAKER —I would like formally to respond to the member for Farrer whose question is, as usual, topical for 9 May. The member for Farrer is right that today marks the 99th anniversary of the formation of the federal parliament. He is also right that there were some concerns about section 125 of the Constitution. The Presiding Officers have sought advice on this, and the advice has concluded that section 125 does not prevent the parliament from sitting outside of Canberra on those occasions when it is necessary or appropriate for the parliament to sit elsewhere. The Centenary of Federation was seen to be such an occasion. I can also confirm that plans to allow both houses to sit jointly and separately on 9 and 10 May 2001 in Melbourne are proceeding. Such a sitting will commemorate the opening of the first federal parliament in the Royal Exhibition Building on 9 May 1901 and the first sitting of both houses in Parliament House in Melbourne on 10 May.

The House may be interested to know that, as far as the President of the Senate and I are aware, the formal resolution of both houses of the Victorian parliament inviting the houses of the Commonwealth parliament to meet in Melbourne next year is to be considered by the Victorian parliament tomorrow. After this has occurred, the President of the Senate and I intend to report the invitation to both houses with a view to consideration of a joint motion to accept the Victorian invitation for a sitting in Melbourne on 9 and 10 May 2001.