House of Representatives Practice, 6th edition – HTML version

9 - Motions

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Motions of thanks

As with motions of condolence, precedence is ordinarily given to a motion of thanks of the House.[385] Motions of thanks (formerly called votes of thanks) have been comparatively rare and are confined to the following cases:

  • to members of the Armed Forces and others following World Wars I and II;[386]
  • recording the gratitude of the House to the International Health Board (Rockefeller Institute) for assistance in connection with the public health of the Commonwealth;[387]
  • to the United Kingdom Branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association in relation to its offer to present a Speaker’s Chair;[388]
  • to presenters of gifts to Australia’s new Parliament House;
  • to persons and organisations associated with the planning and construction of the new Parliament House;[389] and
  • on the 60th anniversary of VE day, honouring and remembering Australians who fought in the war and gave their lives, and recording the gratitude of the House.[390]

Motions, not being motions of thanks, but containing sentiments of congratulation, appreciation or gratitude, have in practice received similar precedence. Such motions have for the most part been moved by leave, although they have also been moved following a motion being agreed to for the suspension of standing orders.[391] Contrary to the usual practice of such motions being moved by the Prime Minister or a Minister, a case has occurred of such a motion being moved by an opposition leader.[392]


385. S.O. 49.
386. VP 1920–21/137; VP 1945–46/222. On the former occasion the motion of thanks was presented by the Speaker, accompanied by Members, to representatives of the services in Queen’s Hall (Melbourne), VP 1920–21/184.
387. VP 1923–24/197.
388. VP 1925/67.
389. VP 1987–89/621.
390. VP 2004–07/285. A motion on the 60th anniversary of VP day, inter alia also expressing gratitude, was not recorded as a motion of thanks, VP 2004–07/516.
391. Such motions have included: a motion expressing congratulations and gratitude to General McArthur at the end of World War II (VP 1945–46/222); motions of congratulation on Australian sporting successes: Americas Cup (VP 1983–84/253), ascent of Mt Everest (VP 1983–84/929, moved after suspension of standing orders); 15th Commonwealth Games (VP 1993–95/1259); a motion congratulating and expressing appreciation of the Royal Military College on the occasion of its 75th anniversary (VP 1985–87/1234); motions recognising the success of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and congratulating athletes, organisers and volunteers (VP 1998–2001/1749–50, 1819); motions ‘of appreciation’ on the occasion of the retirement of Clerks of the House (moved without notice or leave) VP 1980–83/905; VP 1985–87/319; VP 1990–92/598; VP 1996–98/1817.
392. A motion congratulating the Navy on the occasion of its 75th anniversary and expressing thanks to allied naval forces for participation in the celebrations, VP 1985–87/1169.

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