September 28

MP’s summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne



At the State Opening of the 43rd Federal Parliament on 28 September 2010 we see a tradition which recalls the privileges of House of Commons or House of Representatives even against the Sovereign, or today the executive government.


[Continued below]


Based on a custom long observed at Westminster, the Usher of the Black Rod summons the House of Representatives to attend the speech and leads them to the Senate.

In London Black Rod approaches the doors to the chamber of the House of Commons with the Queen's summons to attend her in the Lords, the doors are slammed in his face.

This is to emphasise the Commons' independence of the Sovereign. Black Rod then strikes the door three times with his staff, and is then admitted and issues the summons of the monarch to attend. This ritual is derived from the attempt by King Charles I to arrest five members in 1642, in what was seen as a breach of privilege. Since then, the House of Commons has insisted on its right to question the right of the Sovereign's representative to enter their chamber, though they cannot bar him or her from entering with lawful authority.

A similar tradition is followed in Australian parliaments, as we see in this video. The Speech from the Throne may be read here


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