Speech From The Throne - Commonwealth Realms

Commonwealth Realms

In the Commonwealth realms, the Speech From the Throne is the oration given before the legislature (whether both chambers of a bicameral parliament or the single chamber of a unicameral parliament) as part of a lavish affair marking the opening of parliament. In either case, the speech is written by the sitting cabinet, with or without the reader's participation, and outlines the legislative programme for the new parliamentary session.

In the United Kingdom, where the practice originated, Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech, also known as the Gracious Address or, less formally, as the Queen's Speech, is typically read by the reigning sovereign at the State Opening of Parliament; this occurs annually in May—prior to the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011, the State Opening usually occurred in November or December—or soon after a general election. The monarch may, however, appoint a delegate to perform the task in his or her place; Queen Elizabeth II did this in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, respectively, having the Lord Chancellor deliver the address instead.

In those countries that share with Britain the same person as their respective sovereign, the Speech From the Throne will generally be read on the monarch's behalf by his or her viceroy, the governor-general, though the monarch can give the address in person: Queen Elizabeth II read the Throne Speech in the Parliament of New Zealand in 1954, the Parliament of Australia in 1954 and 1974, and the Parliament of Canada in 1957 and 1977.

Another member of the Royal Family may also perform this duty, such as when, on 1 September 1919, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), read the Speech From the Throne in the Canadian parliament. In the Irish Free State, the governor-general delivered the Governor-General's Address to Dáil Éireann, which, unusually, was delivered in the lower house of parliament. Only two speeches were ever given, in 1922 and 1923.

For the legislatures of Australia's states and Canada's provinces, a Throne Speech is also performed to outline local legislative plans. In Canada, it is not clear that it would be constitutional for anyone but the relevant lieutenant governor, as representative of the sovereign in right of the respective province, to perform this task. In Australia, the governor of a state typically gives the oration in place of the monarch, but the reigning sovereign can perform the task in person. Queen Elizabeth II opened the parliaments of some of the Australian states in 1954 and of New South Wales in 1992.

In British overseas territories, the relevant governor delivers the speech. In Hong Kong, the governor's address was termed the Policy Address during Chris Patten's governorship. The tradition has preserved to date, although Britain handed over the territory to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Responsible government was never granted; the governor remained head of government until 1997, when the role as head of the region and head of government was taken up by the chief executive.

The address is followed by a debate and vote in both houses or the one house of parliament. Formally, the motion merely calls on parliament to thank the monarch or viceroy for the speech via an Address in Reply. The debate is, however, often wide-ranging, exploring many aspects of the government's proposed policies, and spread over several days. When the Address in Reply is eventually voted on, the poll is held to constitute a motion of confidence in the government, which, if lost, would result in the end of that government's mandate.

In some legislatures, this discussion and vote follows a symbolic raising of other matters, designed to highlight the independence of parliament from the Crown. In the British House of Commons, the other business raised is by tradition the Outlawries Bill. In the Canadian House of Commons, the bill considered is Bill C-1, an Act Respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office, while in the Senate, it is Bill S-1, an Act Relating to Railways. In Australia and New Zealand, by contrast, no pro forma bills are introduced; there, the respective houses of representatives instead consider some brief and non-controversial business items before debating the Address in Reply.

A throne speech is not typical in the devolved legislatures within the United Kingdom, the nearest equivalent being a statement of the legislative agenda of the executive branch usually given by a first minister. However, the Queen often undertakes visits and speaks to the devolved bodies in a less official capacity. So far, she has been present and has given an address at all openings of the Scottish Parliament, usually speaking reflectively upon its accomplishments and wishing the institution well for its coming term rather than considering the plans of the executive.

Read more about this topic:  Speech From The Throne

Other articles related to "commonwealth realms, commonwealth realm":

David Onley - Titles, Honours and Awards - Honours
... Commonwealth Realms Country Award or order Class or position Year Citation Canada Order of Ontario Chancellor 2007–present Commonwealth Realms Order of St John Vice-Prior of the Order of St ... John in Ontario, Knight of Justice of the Order 2007–present Non-national Commonwealth Realms honours Country Organization Award or position Year Citation Canada Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled ...
Loyal Toast - Commonwealth Realms - In Dispute
... In 2000, Captain Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, petitioned to be personally excused from, amongst other displays of loyalty, having to stand and participate in the Loyal Toast ... The Canadian Forces Grievance Board, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Federal Court of Canada all upheld the Canadian Forces' requirements that members respect the Canadian head of state and Commander-in-Chief ...
List Of Australian Monarchs - International and Domestic Aspects
... Further information Commonwealth realm The Crown in the Commonwealth realms The monarch of Australia is the same person as the monarch of the fifteen other ... the High Court of Australia found that those natural-born citizens of other Commonwealth realms who migrated to Australia could not be classified as aliens (as referred to in the constitution) within Australia ...
Members Of The Order Of The British Empire - Composition
... of the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth realms ... Most members are citizens of the United Kingdom or the limited number of Commonwealth realms without their own national system of honours and awards ... if they subsequently become citizens of Commonwealth realms ...

Famous quotes containing the words realms and/or commonwealth:

    The whole fauna of human fantasies, their marine vegetation, drifts and luxuriates in the dimly lit zones of human activity, as though plaiting thick tresses of darkness. Here, too, appear the lighthouses of the mind, with their outward resemblance to less pure symbols. The gateway to mystery swings open at the touch of human weakness and we have entered the realms of darkness. One false step, one slurred syllable together reveal a man’s thoughts.
    Louis Aragon (1897–1982)

    I’the commonwealth I would by contraries
    Execute all things; for no kind of traffic
    Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
    Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
    And use of service, none; contract, succession,
    Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
    No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
    No occupation; all men idle, all,
    And women too, but innocent and pure.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)