Official Opening of the 27th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Queensland Seminar
The Honourable Peter Wellington MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in Queensland; Members of Queensland Parliament, and members of the many parliaments represented here today; ladies and gentlemen. I thank our Clerk here in Queensland, Mr Neil Laurie, for the kind invitation that I officially open this morning the 27th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar; it was an invitation I accepted with alacrity, imbued as I am – as are we all – with the absolutely fundamental significance of our parliamentary institutions.
I also acknowledge, with respect to Elders, the Traditional Custodians of these lands, and I thank Aunty Carol and the Excelsior dancers for their welcome and performance this morning.
It is a great source of pride for my State that, for the first time, this Seminar is taking place here in Brisbane.
You will, I know, be aware of our State’s wonderfully mild climate, which is conducive to discovering Queensland’s iconic natural beauty, which I am pleased to learn you will do when you later visit Noosa on our reliably named Sunshine Coast – allowing of course for the occasional anomaly, as exemplified over the weekend.
More centrally, this week will also provide you a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our State’s rich history and heritage, parliamentary and otherwise.
And on matters historical, I trust Mr Speaker will forgive me, my being here in his Parliament House “domain”, for the following interpolation.
Just up the hallway, in the Alice Street wing of this edifying parliamentary precinct, is the Lucinda Room.
Its name, and the magnificent wooden bar and panelling within, are taken from the 19th century Queensland Government paddle-steamer, the Lucinda (named after Jeannie Lucinda Field, the second wife of Queensland’s 6th Governor Sir Anthony Musgrave) aboard which early versions of the Australian Constitution were drafted under the guidance of former Queensland Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor, then Premier, then first Chief Justice of Australia’s High Court – if you get the gist, someone we might term a polymath, Sir Samuel Griffith.
That happened at Easter time 1891, in Refuge Bay off the Hawkesbury River in… New South Wales: which I am pleased to acknowledge notwithstanding current inter-State friendly rivalry in another field.
For our international guests, I am referring to the annual rugby league series, the State of Origin, the foundations of which we celebrate, in no small way, today, on Queensland Day: 157 years ago, in 1859, the Order-in-Council having been signed, and the Letters Patent issued, establishing Queensland as a colony separate to New South Wales.
Reverting to task, although this week’s discussions may not occur at such a crucible time as those which took place on the Lucinda, they will, no doubt, be at times as equally robust.
They may also be called upon by future generations anxious for a more nuanced understanding of Westminster principles.
I therefore wish you all a week of fruitful discussions, as you consider ways of giving further strength and substance to the enduring values – responsible and representative government, the rule of law, ensuring opportunity of participation in the institutions upon which our contentment reliably depends – which have brought great benefit to the world, and particularly throughout the Commonwealth.
I thank the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for their leadership and organisation in hosting these Seminars, and our Queensland representatives for their advocacy in bringing it to our State.
I very much look forward to seeing many of you at Government House for tonight’s reception. But for now, it gives me great pleasure to declare officially open the 27th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar.