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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