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Queensland Electoral and Parliamentary History: Key Dates and Events

2015 - 24 March. The Member for Nicklin, Peter Wellington was elected the first independent speaker of the Queensland Parliament since William Armstrong, who held the position from 1911 to 1915. 

2014 - 25 August. The 150th anniversary of the publishing of the Queensland Parliament's Hansard was celebrated with the launch of a permanent display of Queensland's Hansard featuring significant parliamentary speeches.

2013 - 25 September. The Speakers of the Queensland Parliament and the Parliament of Papua New Guinea entered into a Parliamentary Partnership Agreement, formally supporting the continuing evolution of the PNG Parliament, through parliamentary capacity building programs. 

2012 - 21 August. Question Time was broadcast live, for the first time, via the Australian Public Affairs Channel. 

2012 - 15 May. Honourable Fiona Simpson MP was elected as Queensland's first female Speaker. Ms Simpson was elected to the Speaker's chair after being nominated by Premier Campbell Newman MP during the first morning's sitting of the 54th Parliament.

2011 - 17 August. Parliamentary Service Amendment Act 2011. Transferred responsibility for the administration of the Parliamentary Service from the Speaker to the Committee of the Legislative Assembly (CLA). The Speaker remains responsible for the control of conduct on the precinct and maintains the powers and rights traditionally held by the Speaker on behalf of the Legislative Assembly.

2011 - From 24 to 26 May the Queensland Parliament sat in Mackay being only the fourth time it had sat out of Brisbane. Over 4,500 people attended the sittings including over 2,500 school children.

2011 - 12 May, former member Mr Gordon Richard Nuttall appeared before the Bar of the House for 37 minutes. This was the first time in the history of the Legislative Assembly that a prisoner has addressed the House. On that same day the House resolved that Mr Nuttall was guilty of 41 counts of contempt and ordered that he be fined $2000 for each offence.

2011 - May 2011. Queensland Parliament (Reform and Modernisation) Act. Provided for a major restructuring of the parliamentary committee system with the establishement of seven portfolio based committees with the roles of examining each Bill before the House for the policy to be given effect by the Bills, the application of fundamental legislative principles and the lawfulness of items of subordinate legislation in the portfolio area. In addition the committees undertake the Estimates process for Appropriation Bills in relation to their portfolio responsibility.

2011 - 10 March. The Committee of the Legislative Assembly was established by resolution of the House to consider issues arising from the December 2010 report of the Committee System Review Committee. Its other responsibilities are for the ethical conduct of members of the Legislative Assembly; parliamentary powers, rights and immunities; and the standing rules and orders.

2010 - The Queensland Parliament celebrated its sesquicentenary during the May sitting week. Many events were held to celebrate this historic milestone.

2008 - From 28-30 October, the Queensland Parliament sat in Cairns, the third time in its history that it had sat outside Brisbane. More the 5,000 people attended over the three days of the sittings, including almost 2,000 school students.

2005 - From 4-6 October, the Queensland Parliament sat in Rockhampton, only the second time in its history that it had sat outside Brisbane. An exhibition featuring parliamentarians from the Central Queensland region since 1860 was prepared for the sitting and was gifted to the Rockhampton City Council. It was estimated that 500 people came to view the Wednesday evening question time and that around 3,000 school students from 57 schools visited over the duration of the sitting week.

2005 - Legislation granting women's suffrage was passed in January 1905. On 11 May, the Queensland Parliament celebrated the Centenary of Queensland women obtaining the right to vote in Queensland elections. The date, 11 May 2005, was chosen as it also marked the anniversary of the election of Queensland's first female parliamentarian, Irene Longman, who was elected as Member for Bulimba in 1929. Celebrations associated with this event included the unveiling of a specially commissioned portrait of Irene Longman, and an eight metre long display of a timeline containing photos, cartoons, quotes and legislation chronicling Queensland women's quest for the right to vote and women's achievements in Parliament since that time.

2004 - On 18 June, the Queensland Parliament adopted new Standing Rules and Orders recommended by the Standing Orders Committee. The new Standing Orders are the most comprehensive change to the Standing Orders in the history of the Parliament and took effect from 31 August 2004.

2002 - On 8 August, as part of a package of e-democracy initiatives, the Queensland Parliament approved changes to rules applying to the process of petitioning of Parliament to allow petitions to be sent electronically. The e-petition complements paper based petitions and seeks to provide another avenue for the public to raise issues directly with the Parliament and thereby have an impact on government decision-making. E-petitions can be viewed on the Queensland Parliament website and Ministerial responses to e-petitions are also posted on the site.

2002 - From 3-5 September, the Queensland Parliament sat in Townsville, which is the first time it has sat outside Brisbane in its history. Over 8,000 people visited the Parliament, over 50 per cent being school-children from schools as far away as Yam Island, Mount Isa and Rockhampton. A Government subsidy assisted students further than 200 km from Townsville.

2001 - The Constitution of Queensland 2001 brought all of Queensland's constitutional legislation under one modern and readily accessible Act. It deals with the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of Government, enhances some existing arrangements, and recognises constitutional conventions such as Cabinet. It enhances judicial independence through provisions about removal of judges. The Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 complements the former Act by consolidating all laws dealing with the Legislative Assembly, its Members and committees. It covers matters such as powers, rights and immunities; contempt of Parliament; eligibility and disqualification of candidates and Members; and Members' salaries.

2000 - 19 October. It was resolved at a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Qld Branch) that a Member of the Legislative Assembly should be known as MP rather than MLA.

1999 - July redistribution of Electoral Districts, the first by a Commission under the Electoral Act 1992. Of the 89 electorates, most changes are in the growing urban and coastal urban communities. Persisted with tolerance of 10 per cent of the number of electors for electorates less than 100,000 square km, and retained five electorates of more than 100,000 square km.

1996 - Parliamentary Secretaries appointed to assist particular Ministers.

1995 - The election in July 1995 of Kenneth Davies (ALP) in the seat of Mundingburra was declared void as a result of a Court of Disputed Returns decision. A by-election on 3rd February 1996 resulted in Francis Tanti (Liberal) being elected. This resulted in the numbers on both sides of the House being equal. Elizabeth Cunningham, the Independent member for Gladstone, was required to choose who she would support in relation to confidence and supply votes. As a reult the Coalition (National/Liberal) formed government in February 1996.

1995 - Parliamentary Committees Act. Abolished the Parliamentary Service Commission and placed administration of the Parliament under the control of the Speaker. Provided legislative basis for Statutory Committees of the Legislative Assembly.

1992 - Parliamentary Papers Act. Tabled documents may be copied without incurring any civil or criminal liability.

1992 - Electoral Act: provided for the same method of distribution that was used in the 1991 redistribution.

1991 - Electoral Districts Act 1990: 89 electorates, zones abolished, optional preferential voting. Provided for electorates less than 100 000 square km in area, tolerance of 10 per cent of the average number of electors, and for electorates more than 100 000 square km, the sum of the number of electors and 2 per cent% of the area (in square km) should be within 10 per cent of the average number of electors.

1988 - Parliamentary Members' Salaries Act. Members' salaries linked to House of Representatives salaries.

1988 - Parliamentary Service Act 1988. Established Parliamentary Service Commission and role of the Clerk as the Chief Executive Officer of the Parliamentary Service.

1985 - Electoral Districts Act: 89 electorates in four zones.

1982 - October Parliament moved back into the original Legislative Chamber after restoration of Parliament House completed.

1979 - Parliamentary Annexe completed. Restoration of Parliament House commenced in 1980 including building of porte cochere.

1973 - Elections Act and the Criminal Code Amendment Act: Voting age reduced to 18 years.

1971 - Elections Act Amendment Act: Enrolment and voting compulsory for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.
Electoral Districts Act: 82 electorates in four zones.

1965 - Elections Act Amendment Act: Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders enfranchised (voluntary).

1962 - Elections Act Amendment Act: Compulsory preferential voting introduced.

1959 - Elections Act Amendment Act: British subjects who were natives of Asia or Africa enfranchised.

1958 - Electoral Districts Act: 78 electorates, three zones.

1949 - Electoral Districts Act: Zonal system introduced whereby electorates were allocated to zones with different quotas; 75 electorates in four zones.

1942 - Elections Act Amendment Act: First past the post voting reintroduced.

1931 - Electoral Districts Act: Electorates reduced to 62.

1922 - Constitution Act Amendment Act: Legislative Council abolished.

1915 - Elections Act Amendment Act: Women permitted to be elected to the Legislative Assembly, but not appointed to the Legislative Council.

1914 - Elections Act Amendment Act: Compulsory registration and voting.

1910 - Electoral Districts Act: 72 one-Member electorates, one vote one value with 20% tolerance.

1905 - Elections Act: Female suffrage; property qualification abolished; Indigenous people and certain non-European immigrants still disqualified.

1892 - Electoral Districts Act: 61 electorates, 72 Members. Elections Act: Introduced "contingent" (optional preferential) voting.

1890 - Triennial Parliaments Act: Three-year parliaments, effective from the 1893 election.

1889 - Payment of Members Act: Payment of Members started at £300 per year.

1887 - Electoral Districts Act: 60 electorates, 72 Members.

1886 - Members' Expenses Act: First introduction of an expense allowance (£2/2/- per sitting day, maximum £200 per year).

1885 - Additional Members Act: 44 electorates, 59 Members.

1878 - Electoral Districts Act: 42 electorates, 55 Members.

1875 - Cook District Representation Act: One extra Member.

1872 - Electoral Districts Act: 42 one-Member electorates for the 1873 election.

1871 - Elections Act: Under property qualification, maximum one vote in any one electorate.

1865 - Foundation stone of Parliament House laid by Sir George Bowen.

1864 - Additional Members Act: Six extra one-Member electorates.

1860 - First Elections Franchise: Adult (21 years) males, three year residence qualification or six months if owner or lessee of property. Multiple registration possible through multiple property ownership. Military and police were disqualified. Voting: First past the post. Parliament: 26 Members from 16 electorates for the Legislative Assembly; 11 nominees to the Legislative Council; five-year term.

1859 - Order-in-Council (6 June) provided for separation of Queensland from NSW.