The button has been pressed and the final numbers are in! Welcome to the new and returning members of the New South Wales Legislative Council. While we saw the re-election of twelve members from previous parliaments, we will see the following nine brand new faces in the Legislative Council Chamber this year:
- Tara Moriarty – Labor
- Mark Latham – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
- Mark Banasiak – Shooters Fishers and Farmers
- Abigail Boyd – The Greens
- Damien Tudehope – Liberal
- Anthony D’Adam – Labor
- Mark Buttigieg – Labor
- Emma Hurst – Animal Justice Party
- Rod Roberts – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
The new members won’t have much time to celebrate. Having just been officially declared as members on Tuesday, the members undertook a two day induction starting the very next day. The new members were briefed about the role and responsibilities of a NSW parliamentarian and will soon participate in a further workshop on Legislative Council practice and procedure.
In the lead up to the official opening of the 57th Parliament on 7 May, the members will have a short time to hire staff, set up their parliamentary office and finalise other arrangements for their new parliamentary life.
The oath of allegiance or pledge of loyalty
The new members will officially commence as members of the Legislative Council once they have sworn an oath of allegiance or a pledge of loyalty on the first sitting day, following the opening of the 57th Parliament.
Each new member will take and sign an oath (on a bible or religious text) or an affirmation. They will then sign the official Roll of the House at which point they can officially sit as a member.
The inaugural speech
At various times throughout the first session of 57th parliament, the ordinary business of the house will be interrupted to allow the new member to make their first or ‘inaugural’ speech. Formerly called “maiden speeches”, they are a significant step in the parliamentary life of a Member of Parliament.
While members do not have to wait to give their inaugural speech before initiating business such as motions or questions to Ministers, most members do so as the inaugural speech is the member’s first opportunity to introduce themselves to the parliament and provide a personal biography of their personal and professional life. The member may set out their goals and aspirations for their time in parliament or discuss their views on issues likely to come before the House.
Family, friends and colleagues will often attend to witness this important event in the member’s political career. The inaugural speech is considered a moment of achievement or ‘a setting off point’, as the member steps onto the parliamentary stage for the first time.
Once the speech has concluded, other members will take turns to shake the new member’s hand or congratulate them on their speech. From this point, members will begin giving second reading speeches, asking questions and participating in other business of the House.