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Why does a Parliamentarian's First Speech Matter?

Published on
July 14, 2022
William Wright
for GovConnex Research
Before GovConnex Research is published here, it's sent exclusively to GovConnex Platform subscribers.

Everything you need to know about a parliamentarian’s first speech

What is it

  • Every newly elected state and federal parliamentarian (upper and lower house) gets the opportunity to give a first speech to parliament.
  • The speeches are typically around 20 minutes and are well attended by other parliamentarians and supporters alike, and are often followed by a social event.
  • The speeches typically occur during the first sitting period of the parliamentarian’s career.

Why it matters

  • This is the first opportunity for a newly elected politician to officially introduce themselves to the nation.
  • Staffers and representatives put a tremendous amount of effort into perfecting these speeches. As such, they are a well thought out summary of their background and ambitions.
  • The first speech provides an opportunity to understand key details on a representative and how to most effectively engage with them.

What to look for

  • Policy objectives - the first speech is a leading signal of their key policy objectives.
  • Principles/ideology - any strong ideological leaning – especially one that will inform policy – will likely be revealed in the first speech.
  • Motivation for being in parliament - each parliamentarian has a unique background and motivation for entering parliament. This will be revealed in the first speech.
  • Supporters/admirers - pay close attention to who they thank. Strong supporters are often named, and may provide another avenue for engagement with that parliamentarian.
  • Factional allegiance - if you are unaware of the factional allegiance of a politician, paying attention to who they thank in their speech can reveal this. For example, look at which union(s) a Labor politician acknowledges. The factional allegiance of the union is likely aligned with the grateful parliamentarian.
  • Other interests - favourite sports teams, pets, restaurants can all come up in the first speech and may provide an avenue for connecting with that individual.

Where to find the the first speech

Transcripts of a parliamentarian’s first speech can be found on their relevant parliament's website.

The GovConnex platform usefully contains a full transcript of the first speech of every Australian state and federal parliamentarian, conveniently located next to BioPro in the parliamentarian’s profile. Here, you can access and export relevant biographical information such as factional affiliation, positions on popular issues, and other less-known facts.

Together with the first speech, this information can help you build a quick picture of exactly who you are engaging with, making sure that every engagement you have is as effective as possible.

The new federal parliamentarians

The first speeches to watch out for

House of Representatives - 35 new Members (1 National, 3 Greens, 3 Liberal National Queensland, 4 Liberal, 7 Independent, 17 Labor)

Andrew Charlton - ALP - Parramatta

Jerome Laxale - ALP - Bennelong

Allegra Spender - IND - Wentworth

Sophie Scamps - IND - Mackellar

Kylea Tink - IND - North Sydney

Kate Chaney - IND - Curtin

Monique Ryan - IND - Kooyong

Zoe Daniel - IND - Flinders

Dai Le - IND - Fowler

Gordon Reid - ALP - Robertson

Daniel Repacholi - ALP - Hunter

Sally Sitou - ALP - Reid

Jenny Ware - LP - Hughes

Marion Scrymgour - ALP - Lingiari

Stephen Bates - GRN - Brisbane

Colin Boyce - LNP - Flynn

Max Chandler-Mather - GRN - Griffith

Elizabeth Watson-Brown - GRN - Ryan

Andrew Wilcox - LNP - Dawson

Matt Burnell - ALP - Spence

Louise Miller-Frost - ALP - Boothby

Michelle Ananda-Rajah - ALP - Higgins

Sam Birrell - NAT - Nicholls

Cassandra Fernando - ALP - Holt

Carina Garland - ALP - Chisholm

Zoe McKenzie - LP - Flinders

Sam Rae - ALP - Hawke

Aaron Violi - LP - Casey

Keith Wolahan - LP - Menzies

Tania Lawrence - ALP - Hasluck

Sam Lim - ALP - Tangney

Zaneta Mascarenhas - ALP - Swan

Tracey Roberts - ALP - Pearce

Henry Pike - LNP - Bowman

Alison Byrnes - ALP - Cunningham

Senate - 11 new Senators (1 Independent, 1, Liberal, 1 National, 1 Country Liberal, 1 Jacqui Lambie Network, 1 United Australia Party, 2 Labor, 3 Greens)

David Pocock - IND - Australian Capital Territory

Ross Cadell - NAT - New South Wales

David Shoebridge - GRN - New South Wales

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price - CLP - Northern Territory

Kerrynne Liddle - LP - South Australia

Barbara Pocock - GRN - South Australia

Tammy Tyrrell - JLN - Tasmania

Linda White - ALP - Victoria

Ralph Babet - UAP - Victoria

Penny Allman-Payne - GRN - Queensland

Fatima Payman - ALP - Western Australia

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