8 March 1977

30th Parliament · 2nd Session

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The Senate met at 3 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Condor Laucke) took the chair.

The Clerk read the proclamation.

The Usher of the Black Rod announced the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

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Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness entered the chamber, and, being seated, with the President on their right, Her Majesty commanded that a message be sent to the House of Representatives intimating that Her Majesty desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. Honourable members thereupon attended with their Speaker.

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Her Majesty was pleased to deliver the following speech:

Mr President, members of the Senate.

Mr Speaker, members of the House of Representatives.

It is with great pleasure that I have returned to Australia in this the silver jubilee year of my reign and once again address this Parliament as Queen of Australia.

As I look back over Australia’s development since my first visit in 1954, I am impressed, as you must be, by this nation’s many social, economic and cultural achievements.

Today the qualities of the Australian people, the character of Australian society and the resources of the Australian continent hold out a great promise and a great challenge.

My Government is determined to establish the conditions in which this challenge can be met, this promise realised.

At the heart of my Government’s policies lie a commitment and a concern: commitment to increasing the freedom, opportunity and equality of the Australian people; and concern with enhancing people’s ability to make their own choices and live their own lives in their own way.

The commitment of my Government to these goals stems from the conviction that the progress of Australia as a nation depends on creating the conditions which foster the strength, independence and creativity of its people.

Australia has experienced economic difficulties in recent years; my Government has given first priority to restoring the economy and will use all the resources at its disposal to achieve this goal.

The prosperity of the Australian people depends on the strength of its productive private sector, on its manufacturing, mining and rural industries.

My Government is providing incentives and encouragement to the private sector, and is reducing its own relative demands on national resources so that private industry may have room to grow, provide employment and increase the well-being of all Australians.

My Government is not only taking action to restore the economy, it is also making social reforms which are of fundamental importance to the freedom and well-being of the Australian people.

My Government is committed to assisting people overcome poverty and disadvantage, and is giving priority to assisting those most in need in a manner increasing their choice, dignity and self-respect.

The new family allowance scheme places in every mother’s hand an allowance to spend as she thinks is best for the welfare of her family.

A housing voucher pilot scheme enabling low income earners to choose for themselves the accommodation most suited to their needs is being examined.

The Income Security Review will report progressively to my Government on the rationalisation of income security programs and on how assistance can first of all be directed to those most in need.

My Government is improving the existing arrangements in education in pursuit of equality of opportunity for all Australian students.

My Government’s economic program is designed to overcome unemployment. However, at the same time, a number of special programs to assist the young unemployed and provide them with opportunities to acquire job skills has been initiated.

With the growth over the years of the power of public and private bureaucracies, particular care needs to be taken to protect individual liberties and human rights against unwarranted intrusions.

My Government is acting to secure individual rights. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is now operating, legislation to appoint a Commonwealth Ombudsman has been passed, the Human Rights Commission will be established and a Bill relating to freedom of information will be placed before the Parliament.

In the area of industrial relations, one of vital importance to the economic and social well-being of the Australian community, my Government will bring down legislation to protect the rights of individuals and the community, and establish an Industrial Relations Bureau.

My Government is acting also to protect and expand political rights and strengthen the responsibility and responsiveness of governments to their citizens.

Measures are being taken to secure the rights of those living in Commonwealth territories and a referendum will be held to seek approval for territorial voters to vote in future referenda.

Other referenda will be held at the same time to make necessary amendments to the Constitution.

Steps have been taken to reverse the trend towards the concentration of power in the hands of the Commonwealth Government.

Income tax indexation has been introduced, halting automatic increases in the tax burden arising from inflation. This measure will also make it even more necessary for governments to explain and justify their expenditure priorities to the Australian people.

Historic reforms are being made to the nation’s federal financial relations which will return power and responsibility to the State and local levels of government.

My Government recognises the importance of sustaining the diversity and multi-cultural nature of Australian society.

New arrangements have been made for more extensive consultation with migrant communities and imaginative experiments with migrant resource centres are under way.

The implementation of Aboriginal land rights legislation is proceeding and my Government will continue to review the effectiveness of government programs for Aboriginals.

My Government is pursuing constructive foreign and defence policies.

Through its foreign policy my Government seeks to contribute to the establishment of a stable international environment in which all people can live in peace, co-operation and self-respect.

It will be clear from the White Paper on Defence tabled in the Parliament last year that my Government will pursue practical measures to secure the nation ‘s defence.

The program for the new session of the thirtieth Parliament reflects my Government’s determination to stabilise the economy and pursue the goal of social reform.

Mr President, members of the Senate.

Mr Speaker, members of the House of Representatives.

With confidence that you will fulfill to the utmost of your abilities the great responsibilities placed upon you, I leave you to carry on your high and important duties.

Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and members of the House of Representatives having retired,

The President took the chair again, and read prayers.

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Senator WITHERS:
Minister for Administrative Services · Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate · LP

- Mr President, I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move the following motions:

Sessional Orders

Days of Meeting

That the days of meeting of the Senate, unless otherwise ordered, be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week; and that the hour of meeting, unless otherwise ordered, be half-past 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 1 1 a.m. on Thursdays.

Suspension of Sittings

That, during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate, or of a Committee of the whole Senate, be suspended from 1 p.m. until a quarter-past 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Adjournment of Senate

That, during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, at half-past 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, the President shall put the question- That the Senate do now adjourn- which question shall be open to debate; if the Senate be in Committee at that hour, the Chairman shall in like manner put the question- that he do leave the Chair and report to the Senate; and upon such report being made the President shall forthwith put the questionThat the Senate do now adjourn- which question shall be open to debate: provided that if the Senate or the Committee be in division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put the quesion referred to until the result of such division has been declared; and if the business under discussion shall not have been disposed of at such adjournment it shall appear on the notice paper for the next sitting day.

Government and General Business- Precedence

That, on all sitting days of the Senate during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, Government Business shall take precedence of General Business except that General Business take precedence of Government Business on Thursdays, after 8 p.m.; and that, unless otherwise ordered, general orders of the day take precedence of general notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.

Answers to Questions on Notice- Incorporation in Hansard

That, the following precedure shall apply in lieu of that provided in standing orders 102 and 103.

The Clerk shall place notices of questions on the Notice Paper in the order in which they are received by him.

The reply to a question on notice shall be given by delivering the same to the Clerk. A copy thereof shall be supplied to the senator who has asked the question, and such question and reply shall be printed in Hansard. Provided that any senator who, pursuant to this standing order, has received a copy of a reply may, by leave, ask the question and have the reply read in the Senate.


That, notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders, the procedure for the presentation of petitions be varied as follows-

  1. A senator desiring personally to present a petition shall notify the Clerk when lodging the petition. When presenting such petition to the Senate, the senator may announce-

    1. That he presents a petition from a stated number of petitioners relating to a certain matter; or
    2. That he presents a petition from a stated number of petitioners similarly worded to one presented earlier by a senator.

The senator may ask that the petition be read by the Clerk: Provided that, unless otherwise ordered, a petition exceeding 250 words may not be read.

  1. The Clerk shall then make an announcement as to other petitions lodged with him, indicating in respect of each petition the senator who presents it, the number of signatures, the identity of the petitioners and the subject matter of the petition.
  2. Every petition presented shall be deemed to have been received by the Senate unless a motion, moved forthwith, that a particular petition be not received, be agreed to.
  3. The terms of the petitions presented shall be printed in Hansard.

Contingent Notices of Motion

  1. 1 ) Contingent on any Bill being reported from a Committee of the whole, I shall move- That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.
  2. Contingent on any Bill originating in the Senate having been read a first time, I shall move- that so much of the

Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through its remaining stages without delay.

Consideration of Standing Orders Committee Reports

Restoration to Notice Paper

That the orders of the day standing on the Notice Paper for 25 February 1 977 for the consideration in Committee of the Whole of the First and Second Reports of the FiftySeventh Session of the Standing Orders Committee, be restored to the Notice Paper, and be orders of the day for the next day of sitting.

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– I inform the Senate that I have received a copy of the opening Speech delivered by Her Majesty the Queen to both Houses of the Parliament this day.

Motion (by Senator Withers) agreed to:

That consideration of Her Majesty the Queen ‘s opening Speech be made an order of the day for the next day of sitting.

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Motion (by Senator Withers) agreed to:

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.

Senate adjourned at 3.28 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 8 March 1977, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.