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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3899..


CENTENARY OF FEDERATION - CENTENARY MEETING OF THE COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENT

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Care) (8:14): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) noting the intention of the Commonwealth Parliament, at the invitation of the Victorian Parliament and the Victorian Government, to return to Melbourne to commemorate and celebrate the centenary of the first meeting of the Commonwealth Parliament which occurred at the Royal Exhibition Building on 9 May 1901 and the first sittings of each of the Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament which were held in the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly chambers of the Victorian Parliament respectively on 10 May 1901;

(2) resolves that the Members of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory should join with the members of other Australian State and Territory legislatures to be present at the historic centenary meeting and sittings of the Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne on 9 and 10 May 2001.

Mr Speaker, I think this is an extraordinarily important motion, not so much for this Assembly in one sense but in the sense of our part in recognising the important history of Australia, because with the centenary of federation we mark 100 years of the way our democracy runs across this country.

It is interesting to watch the United States at the moment, Mr Speaker. I am sure all of us keep a close eye on the presidential election there and recognise just how effective our system of democracy is here in our federation in Australia by contrast. There are times when we have had long counts following elections. Certainly, the five members who were elected in the first election know that well. The other people who were candidates in that election also recognise that issue.

Mr Speaker, the Council of Australian Governments established the National Council for the Centenary of Federation to oversee the centenary of federation celebration and commemorations. In each state and territory there are committees charged with delivering the opportunities for participation and involvement for all Australians. I have noticed how many members over the last few years have been wearing their federation of Australia badge. It is a very striking badge, Mr Speaker, and one that I notice that overseas visitors are always attracted to. I wear it with great pride because I think that our centenary of federation marks an important part in our democratic processes.

In the ACT, as the national capital, there will be a number of celebrations, including one from 10 to 12 March, which will not only celebrate the centenary of federation but also the naming of the capital on 12 March 1913 by Lady Denman, the wife of the then Governor - General, and a series of other things. Along with our celebrations here in the ACT, there will be celebrations right across Australia in different jurisdictions. These will come to a head, Mr Speaker, when we commemorate that first meeting of federal parliament which occurred in Melbourne in 1901.

In May the focus will be on Victoria. It will be a national focus. On 9 May there will be a very significant event to mark 100 years of nationhood and the centenary of the Commonwealth parliament, the commencement of the journey of our parliamentary democracy. On 9 May 1901, at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne,


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