House of Representatives Practice, 6th edition – HTML version

9 - Motions

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Motion of apology

On 13 February 2008 the Prime Minister moved a motion of apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples. The motion was on notice, and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, standing orders having been suspended to permit the Prime Minister to speak for an unspecified period of time, and for the Leader of the Opposition to speak for an equivalent time.[393] Following these speeches Members signified their support for the motion by rising in their places.

After a pause in proceedings[394] debate was adjourned, the resumption of debate was referred to the Main Committee (now Federation Chamber) and the sitting was suspended.[395] Later, Members stood in silence as a mark of support in the Main Committee when the motion was referred back to the House, and again when the question was put and agreed to in the House.[396]

On 16 November 2009, following a speech of apology by the Prime Minister to an audience in the Great Hall, a Minister moved, by leave, ‘That the House support the apology given on this day by the Prime Minister, on behalf of the nation, to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants in the following terms…’.[397] Members signified support for the motion by rising in their places when debate in the House was initially adjourned, and also, following further debate in the Main Committee (now Federation Chamber), when the question was later put and agreed to in the House.[398]


393. VP 2008–10/10.
394. During the pause the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs met with representatives of Australia’s Indigenous peoples in the distinguished visitors gallery, after which the Prime Minister, together with the Leader of the Opposition, presented the Speaker with a gift on behalf of the representatives.
395. VP 2008–10/63–4, H.R. Deb. (13.2.2008) 167–77.
396. VP 2008–10/105, 134.
397. VP 2008–10/1438–9.
398. VP 2008–10/1533.

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