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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27041


Mr TIM FISCHER (3:28 PM) —Mr Speaker, following the Federation sitting in Melbourne, will you convey to the staff involved our ongoing thanks for their help in Melbourne in bringing about a very successful set of sittings? I must say that it was a privilege to be there. Will you also confirm that, owing to the footwork of the Serjeant-at-Arms, money was saved by not having to transport the mace from this chamber to Melbourne for the special centenary sitting? Is it not a fact—for the record—that the mace used was in fact the original mace used by the federal parliament in the House of Representatives for its first 50 years?

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr SPEAKER —I would remind members of their obligations when the Speaker is on his feet. I thank the honourable member for his courtesy in advising me in advance of his intention—



Mr SPEAKER —Is it the intention of the member for Chifley to apologise, or to be removed from the House?


Mr Price —I apologise.


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Chifley will not be recognised in his present position.


Mr Price —I apologise, Mr Speaker.


Mr SPEAKER —I thank the honourable member for his courtesy in advising me in advance of his intention to raise this matter. I have already expressed my appreciation to the staff who were so helpful in ensuring the success of the centenary sittings in Melbourne, and I will in fact check the record to make sure that no-one has been overlooked.

I can confirm that there was a cost saving in not transporting this House's current mace to Melbourne for the centenary sitting. However, the decision to accept the Victorian offer to use the mace of the Legislative Assembly of the parliament of Victoria was not made on economic grounds; it was for appropriate historical reasons. The mace carried by the Serjeant-at-Arms in Melbourne on 10 May 2001 was the mace used by this House from 10 May 1901 to 29 November 1951 when the British House of Commons presented our current mace. The Victorian mace, which began its service in the parliament of Victoria in 1857, was returned to its Victorian home from Canberra in 1952 and is displayed near Queens Hall. Its brief return to service on 10 May 2001 seemed a fitting way to mark the centenary of this House.

Honourable members—Hear, hear!