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Members of the Australian House of Representatives

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Australia's national Floral Emblem: the Wattle © Commonwealth of Australia

"Part 6 - Historical information on the Australian Parliament - Members of the House of Representatives since 1901", Parliamentary Handbook, 2014, Parliament of Australia, viewed 21 February 2015.

Titles accorded to Members

M.P. (Member of Parliament): Members of the House of Representatives are designated MP and not MHR. This was the decision of the Federal Cabinet in 1901—a decision which has since been reaffirmed in 1951 and in 1965. The title is not retained by former Members.

Honourable: All Members of the 1st Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia were granted the privilege by the King to use the title ‘Honourable’ for life within the Commonwealth of Australia. Members subsequently elected do not hold this title except in the instances described in the following paragraphs.

Members of the Executive Council have the title ‘Honourable’ while they remain Executive Councillors. A Member who becomes a Minister is appointed to the Executive Council. It rests with the Governor-General to continue or terminate membership of the Executive Council and consequently the right to the title. With one exception, Ministers appointed to the Executive Council have not in the past had their appointment to the Council terminated upon termination of their commission and hence have retained the title ‘Honourable’ for life. Parliamentary Secretaries also have the title ‘Honourable’ when, as has been the recent practice, they have been appointed to the Executive Council.

It is established custom for a Member who is elected Speaker to use the title ‘Honourable’ during his or her period of office and to be granted the privilege of retaining the title for life if he or she serves in the office for three or more years. The following former Speakers have been granted the privilege:

G. J. Bell

J. S. Rosevear

Sir John McLeay

Sir William Aston

J. F. Cope

Dr H. A. Jenkins

J. Child

L. B. McLeay

R. G. Halverson

J. N. Andrew

The Hon. J. F. Cope, the Hon. Dr. H. A. Jenkins and the Hon. R. G. Halverson were granted the privilege even though they had served less than three years as Speaker.139 The privilege used to be granted by the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Governor-General. The power to grant the privilege has now been delegated to the Governor-General.

The title ‘Right Honourable’ is granted to members of the Sovereign’s Privy Council. Formerly, Prime Ministers and senior Ministers were appointed to the Privy Council.

The use of academic and other titles, where appropriate, in House documents was also considered in the 1972 Standing Orders Committee report. The House agreed with the recommendation of the committee that the title ‘Doctor’ or ‘Reverend’ or a substantive military, academic or professional title could be used by Members in House documents.


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