Chapter 1 - The opening of parliament

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Standing Orders

1 Proceedings on opening

(1) On the first day of the meeting of a session of Parliament, after a general election for the Senate and the House of Representatives, or after a general election for the House of Representatives:

(a) If there is a President the President shall take the chair at the time specified in the proclamation.

(b) The Clerk shall read the proclamation calling Parliament together.

(c) Deputies appointed by the Governor-General shall be introduced by the Usher of the Black Rod to the Senate chamber.

(d) The Senior Deputy shall direct the Usher of the Black Rod to desire the attendance of the members of the House of Representatives to hear the commission read.

(e) Members of the House of Representatives shall sit in the Senate chamber and the Clerk shall read the commission.

(f) The Senior Deputy shall then inform the members of both Houses that the Governor-General will at a future time declare the cause of calling Parliament together.

(g) The certificate of election or choice of each senator whose term of office has begun since the last sitting of the Senate shall be laid on the table, and each such senator may then make and subscribe the oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the Constitution.

(h) If the office of President is vacant the Senate shall elect a President.

(2) On the first day of the meeting of a session of Parliament not after a general election for the Senate and the House of Representatives or a general election for the House of Representatives:

If there is a President:

(a) The President shall take the chair at the time specified in the proclamation.

(b) The Clerk shall read the proclamation calling Parliament together.

(c) The Governor-General shall be introduced by the Usher of the Black Rod to the Senate chamber.

(d) The certificate of election or choice of each senator whose term of office has begun since the last sitting of the Senate shall be laid on the table, and each such senator may then make and subscribe the oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the Constitution.

If there is no President:

(e) The Clerk shall at the time specified in the proclamation read the proclamation calling Parliament together.

(f) Deputies appointed by the Governor-General shall be introduced by the Usher of the Black Rod to the Senate chamber.

(g) The Clerk shall read the commission.

(h) The Senior Deputy shall inform the Senate that the Governor-General will at a future time declare the cause of calling Parliament together.

(i) The certificate of election or choice of each senator whose term of office has begun since the last sitting of the Senate shall be laid on the table, and each such senator may then make and subscribe the oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the Constitution.

(j) The Senate shall elect a President.

2 Governor-General’s speech

(1) When the Governor-General has arrived at the chamber, the Usher of the Black Rod shall announce and conduct the Governor-General to the chair, the President leaving the chair and sitting to the right.

(2) The Governor-General will direct the Usher of the Black Rod to command the immediate attendance of the House of Representatives in the Senate chamber.

(3) When the members of the House of Representatives have come with their Speaker into the Senate chamber the Governor-General will declare the cause of calling the Parliament together.

(4) The President and the Speaker will each receive a copy of the Governor-General’s speech, the Governor-General will withdraw from the Senate chamber, and the President shall again take the chair.

3 Address-in-reply

(1) Before the Governor-General’s speech is reported to the Senate, some formal business may be transacted, and petitions may be presented, notices of motion may be given, and documents laid upon the table.

(2) The President shall report to the Senate the speech of the Governor-General.

(3) Consideration of the Governor-General’s speech may be made an order of the day for a future day, or a motion for an address-in-reply to the speech may be made.

(4) Only formal business shall be entered into before the address-in-reply to the Governor-General’s opening speech has been adopted.

(5) When the address has been agreed to, a motion will be made that it be presented to the Governor-General by the President and senators.

(6) The President shall report to the Senate the presentation of the address and the reply of the Governor-General.

4 Opening of Parliament by the Queen

When Her Majesty the Queen is present in Australia and intends to indicate in person the cause of the calling together of Parliament, references in this chapter to the Governor-General shall be read as references to Her Majesty the Queen.

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