Like other jurisdictions around the world, over the past two weeks the NSW Parliament has performed a role in the ceremonial and other events that have marked the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These have included the proclamation of the King by Her Excellency the Governor at NSW Parliament, and the offering of condolence books for members and the public to sign.
Following on from these ceremonial activities, on Tuesday a condolence motion to mark Her Late Majesty’s passing took precedence of other business in the Legislative Council. The House also received happier news that NSW would host a huge international conference in 2024, and that the Parliamentary Budget Officer had been reappointed.
PRESENTATION OF ADDRESSES TO HER EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR
In last week’s blog, we reported that on the House meeting on Tuesday 13 September for the first time since the announcement of the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the House had agreed to two motions, without debate, prior to immediately adjourning as a mark of respect. Those motions comprised of an Address of condolence to His Majesty King Charles III professing sorrow at the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and a second Address to His Majesty King Charles III offering congratulations on his accession to the throne.
On Tuesday, the President announced that later on the afternoon of Tuesday 13 September, he and the Usher of the Black Rod had presented the two Addresses to Her Excellency the Governor. They were accompanied by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the Serjeant-at-Arms, who had presented Her Excellency with similar Addresses for the King agreed to by the other place.
The President further reported that the receipt of a message from the Official Secretary to the Governor advising that the Addresses passed by the House had been conveyed to His Majesty King Charles III. A copy of the covering letter was later published by Government House – check it out below.
CONDOLENCE MOTION ON THE PASSING OF HER LATE MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH III
The Leader of the Government then moved a special conduct of business motion to provide that a condolence motion regarding the passing of Her Late Majesty take precedence of all other items of business on the Notice Paper for that day. The motion also provided that notices of motions be submitted either electronically, or by directing handing them to the Clerks at the Table, rather than by reading aloud in the House as required under the standing orders. This is a rare procedure utilised only when there is a particularly important matter that requires the focus of the House (such as the condolence motion), or when the volume of notices to be given is so great that the House must adopt measures to ensure the reading of notices does not delay the other business on the paper.
Members from across most parties spoke to the motion, marking Her Majesty’s tireless devotion to her duties; the role she had played in championing democracy; the considerable changes and challenges she had presided over during her 70 year resign; and her demanding role as Head of 56 Commonwealth nations. Members also reflected on the personal qualities of Her Late Majesty, including the quiet dignity with which she conducted herself; her role as a wife, mother and grandmother; her passion for animals; her genuine interest in and care for people; and her strong faith.
Members also acknowledged that for many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, the passing of Her Late Majesty was a time that prompted reflection on the Australia’s historical relationship with the monarchy, and on unresolved issues that remained from that relationship.
At the conclusion of debate, members and officers stood as a mark of respect to show their support for the motion, prior to the motion being formally agreed to.
NSW Parliament announced as the host of the 2024 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference
Also on Tuesday, the President advised the House that in late August, the NSW Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association had been announced as being successful in a bid to host the 67th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Sydney in November 2024. The conference is the world’s largest international parliamentary gathering, which will bring some 750 delegates from 53 Commonwealth countries to NSW.
The successful bid was announced at the 2022 conference held in Halifax, Novia Scotia in Canada, at which the President of the Legislative Council was also elected Vice President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and the Clerk of the Legislative Council presented a paper on the procedural reform adopted in the House since the 2019 election.
Parliamentary Budget Officer reappointed
The President also informed the House that, in accordance with section 6 of the Parliamentary Budget Officer Act 2010, Mr Stephen Bartos had been appointed as Parliamentary Budget Officer. Mr Bartos has previously served as the Parliamentary Budget Officer over the past two last election campaign periods. You can find more on the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer here.