Qld parliament oversees ‘profound change’

Former treasurer Curtis Pitt is the new Queensland Speaker despite moves by the LNP to block him. Queensland’s 56th parliament has been officially opened by state Governor Paul de Jersey.

Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey has officially opened Queensland’s 56th parliament saying it will preside over an “era of profound change”.

In addition to the change to parliament itself, which expanded from 89 to 93 seats at the last election, Governor de Jersey acknowledged the increasing number of women in the house

“Unlike the first parliament opened by Sir George Bowen, this parliament has strong, but not equal, representation of women,” he said referring to the 30 female MPs.

“And among those is the first member of Torres Torres Strait descent, the member for Cook Ms Cynthia Lui, from Yam Island, some 2232 kilometres from here.”

Parliament is due to change even more in the coming days with changes to be debated over allowing female MPs to breastfeed in the House.

It was sparked by Labor MP Brittany Lauga bringing her infant daughter Odette into the chamber on Tuesday, which was technically a breach of the rule barring “strangers” from being on the floor of parliament.

Governor de Jersey also announced there would be at least one regional parliament held this year, with the last held six years ago in Mackay.

His speech was preceded by a 19-gun salute from the Kangaroo Point cliffs, after which the governor inspected the guard before heading into parliament house.

He welcomed all MPs and urged them to work for the people of Queensland.

“You will be making a significant contribution to the opportunities and responsibilities of the government and the state of Queensland in an era of profound change,” he said.

The coming term of office will be a shorter “buffer” term of just under three years following the introduction of fixed four-year terms, with the next election already set for October 31 2020.

Wednesday’s opening followed all 93 MPs being officially sworn in on Tuesday, and paved the way for the first proper sitting day of the term on Thursday.

That’s due to be a busy start with a number of matters for the new parliament to discuss, including how long it will sit each day, with changes to the sessional orders capping the day’s proceedings to a more “family-friendly” 7pm to be debated.