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Joint Sitting Of Parliament: Whitlam’s Opening Speech

Following the May 1974 double dissolution election, the Senate continued to reject six pieces of legislation. Under Section 57 of the Constitution, a joint sitting was held to resolve the deadlock.

The legislation sought to establish the Medibank universal health insurance scheme which is now known as Medicare. Another bill aimed to establish one-vote-one-value in electoral distributions. Another provided for Senate representation for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, whilst the final bill established the Petroleum and Minerals Authority.

This is Whitlam’s opening speech to the Joint Sitting. He specifically deals with the introduction of one-vote-one-value in electoral distributions through establishing a maximum 10% variation in voter numbers in House of Representatives seats. [Read more…]

Historic Joint Sitting Of The Australian Parliament

The Joint Sitting of the Australian Parliament that followed the May 1974 Federal Election was a historic occasion.

The Joint Sitting, the first and only ever held, took place over two days, August 6 and 7, 1974.

Gough Whitlam described the sitting as “a last resort to enable the democratic will of the Australian people to prevail over blind obstruction”.

Joint Sitting [Read more…]