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12 March 1991 - Current

 
Parliament: Bendigo sitting
Page 1176
26 October 2000
ASSEMBLY Questions without Notice BRACKS
  Mr BRACKS (Premier) -- As the honourable member for Bendigo  East  said,  next
year marks an important year in the history of Victoria  and Australia. Prior to
1851 Victorians  were  governed  from  Sydney  --  not  a prospect we would ever
welcome again,  of course! Following its formal separation from  New South Wales
in  1851 Victoria  became  an independent  colony,  as  did Tasmania  and  South
Australia. From  1851  to 1901  Victoria,  as  a self-governing  colony,  had  a
colonial Parliament, not a state-government run authority or Parliament.

On  18 June 2001 we  will mark the 100-year anniversary  of the first sitting of
the state Parliament -- that is,  the  Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of
Victoria -- following the Federation of the Australian states on 1 January 1901.
To mark that important event, Honourable Speaker, I am  pleased to  say that  in
response to my letter you have agreed to  support the notion that on or close to
that day the Legislative Assembly be taken to the people for an historic one-day
sitting  to celebrate the centenary of Federation and Victoria's 100 years as  a
state.
Just before  question  time I communicated this information to the Leader of the
Liberal Party and the Leader of  the National Party. It is proposed that for the
first  time  ever  in  Victoria  -- I think it  is  the  first  time ever for an
Australian Parliament -- the Legislative Assembly will sit outside Melbourne, in
this case in Bendigo.

Honourable members interjecting.

  Mr BRACKS -- I appreciate and understand the comments of honourable members on
all  sides of  the house. There  are many  places where  the event  could occur.
Bendigo's position, as the geographic centre of Victoria, is the ideal place.
Bendigo has  also been  chosen because of its pivotal role in the events leading
to  Federation.  Sir John Quick, the first federal member for  Bendigo,  was  an
author of the  Australian  constitution.  Many other places lay claim to some of
our founding fathers -- for example,  Alfred  Deakin  was  the  first member for
Ballarat.  There  are  many claims, but the centrality of Bendigo makes  it  the
appropriate place.

I  am delighted  that by  taking the  Parliament to  Bendigo next  year  we  can
recognise  the crucial role  that  regional Victoria played  in  the history  of
Victoria, the  nation  and the formation of the Federation. I understand it will
be  an Australian  first and  apparently one  of the few  times it  has happened
anywhere in the world.
The  historic  sitting  will  occur  as  close  a practicable  to  the  100-year
anniversary date of 18 June 2001. Again that demonstrates the commitment of this
government  and  the Parliament to  ensure it works  closely  with the Victorian
public and  meets its  needs. Taking the Parliament out to country Victoria is a
very welcome step.