Addresses to joint meetings of the Australian Parliament

Parliament house flag post

Addresses to joint meetings of the Australian Parliament

Posted 11/11/2011 by Sophia Fernandes

 Following an invitation from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, United States President Barack Obama will visit Australia on 16–17 November 2011 to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of the ANZUS Alliance. On 3 November 2011, the House of Representatives passed a motion to invite President Obama to address the House on 17 November 2011 and to invite Senators to attend the House as guests at a joint meeting of the Houses. President Obama's address will be the tenth occasion that a foreign Head of State or dignitary addresses the Australian parliament and will be the fourth US President to do so. Table 1 lists all addresses to joint meetings of the Australian parliament by Heads of State and foreign dignitaries.

Joint sittings versus Joint meetings
Section 57 of the Constitution provides for joint sittings of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as a means of resolving disagreements between the Houses after a double dissolution election, if the disagreement still persists. This has occurred on only one occasion in 1974.

In 1992 a 'joint meeting' of the Houses was proposed by resolution that the Senate and the House of Representatives would meet concurrently in the chamber of the House of Representatives to hear the address of US President (President George H.W. Bush). This was to be a reciprocal honour provided to the visiting US President, as the Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke had addressed a joint sitting of Congress on 23 June 1988. Table 2 lists Australian Prime Ministers who have addressed Congress.

A joint meeting was again held for the visit of US President Bill Clinton on 20 November1996 and in 2003 for the visits of both US President George W. Bush and President Hu Jintao of China.

Joint meetings are not provided for in the Constitution, and prior to 2004, were not provided for in Standing Orders. Prior to 2004, the procedure that was developed for a joint meeting was to have both Houses invite the foreign dignitary to address each chamber, by resolution, and for the House of Representatives to invite the Senate to meet in the House chamber to hear the address, with the Senate accepting that invitation. The Speaker would preside over the meeting and apply the procedures of the House of Representatives where applicable.

On 23 October 2003 an incident occurred where the Speaker of the House of Representatives named and suspended two Greens Senators, Senator Brown and Senator Nettle from the House for 24 hours. This was after they had interjected during President Bush's address and defied the Chair's orders to leave the address. The suspension then prevented them from attending the second address, that of President Hu Jintao, on the next day. This incident prompted a reference by the Senate to the Senate Procedure Committee to draw up and formalise guidelines on future joint meetings. The Committee recommended that the Senate pass a resolution 'that any future parliamentary addresses by visiting foreign heads of state should be received by a meeting of the House of Representatives in the House chamber, to which all senators are invited as guests'. This is now codified in the Senate Standing Orders as a resolution expressing the opinion of the Senate.

The House of Representatives Procedure Committee also considered the matter and made recommendations to the same effect.

On 27 March 2006, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed parliament under the new arrangements. The same arrangements will occur for President Obama's address.

Table 1: Addresses to the Australian Parliament by foreign dignitaries
29 November 1951Delegation from the House of Commons: Rt Hon Richard Law. MP (Chairman), Rt Hon David Rhys Grenfell, MP and Mr Joseph Grimond, MP each addressed the House of Representatives when they presented the Mace to the Parliament on the occasion of its jubilee.
2 January 1992US President George H.W. Bush
20 November 1996US President Bill Clinton
23 October 2003US President George W. Bush
24 October 2003Chinese President Hu Jintao
27 March 2006UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
11 September 2007Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
10 March 2010Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
20 June 2011New Zealand Prime Minister John Key
17 November 2011 (due)US President Barack Obama

Table 2: Address to Congress by Australian Prime Ministers*
1 August 1950Prime Minister Robert Menzies (addressed the House of Representatives, then the Senate)
16 March 1955Prime Minister Robert Menzies (addressed the Senate, then the House of Representatives)
23 June 1988Prime Minister Bob Hawke
12 June 2002Prime Minister John Howard
9 March 2011Prime Minister Julia Gillard
* Prime Minister Robert Menzies addressed the Houses separately not at a joint sitting of Congress.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment Sport illicit drugs people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations health financing Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA emissions trading dental health Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations people smuggling National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service constitution International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs health reform Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing health system money laundering asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency productivity human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits

Show all
Show less
Back to top