The 43rd Australian Parliament was officially opened by Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra today.
During an earlier ceremony, the country’s first indigenous Australian member of the House of Representatives was sworn in.
Ella Feinberg Large reports.
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In her address to the Parliament, the Governor General outlined the aims of the Gillard Government.
Highlighting the desire for greater uniformity.
Quentin Bryce, Governor General: “Over the next term the Government will strive not only to build a stronger economy, but a more inclusive society. So that as the economy grows, fewer people are left behind.”
Earlier the politicians were welcomed to Canberra by indigenous representatives from communities around Canberra.
New Western Australia member, Ken Wyatt, wore kangaroo skin and received a warm welcome for being the first Indigenous member.
The politicians were invited to cleanse themselves by walking around a traditional fire of eucalyptus leaves.
Matilda House, Ngambri elder: “With this welcome I express the hope of a united reconciled nation.”
A view shared by both the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “Friends, let us learn to make our journey together.”
Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition: “May this be a parliament that truly works for the interests of all Australia.”
The new members were then officially sworn in.
“Do each of you swear that you will be faithful and be true legends to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth the second her heirs and successors according to law, so help you god.”
Also, this afternoon, Harry Jenkins was re-elected unopposed as Speaker for the House of Representatives.
Harry Jenkins, re-elected speaker of House of Representatives: “Mr Clerk there are a number of options I could say, ‘why not’, ‘I suppose so’, but may the record show, definitely yes.”
“I declare that the honourable member proposed, Mr Jenkins has been elected as Speaker.”
Informal agreements to pair absentee votes are also under threat as the opposition refuses to guarantee the practice.
Ella Feinberg Large, QUT news.