Friday 28th May 2021

Six KEMH Alumni members met at Parliament House and were treated to an interesting insight into the history and some of the internal workings of our government.

Our tour started with a talk, along with morning tea, before we were then able to view different parts of the parliamentary building, including both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. There is a full-time craftsman employed to look after all the beautiful jarrah wood that has been used throughout.

We learned about the Hansard reporters who work in 10-minute shifts using special machines to record the proceedings of a parliamentary sitting. In the past this was recorded using shorthand with some able to reach speeds of 160 words a minute, but this is now a dying art.

This year, as you know, is a celebration of 100 years since Edith Cowan became the first Australian woman to be elected as a member of Parliament. On the day of our visit a group from Edith Cowan University were filming a re-enactment of that historic event. We were lucky enough to see them working on this in the Legislative Assembly.

Our guide also told us about what happens when the division bell is rung – this is only rung for a short time prior to a vote being taken on an amendment to a bill and can result in many people running madly through parliament in order to arrive before the doors are closed. Could be seen as an early attempt at providing exercise in the workplace?!