Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Return of Pomp and Pageantry

Those of you who are regular readers of A Young Fogey Down Under will recall a recent post in regard to the slow destruction of many of the ceremonial traditions here in Australia well this week a counter blow has been struck by those who value their heritage and history. This in the form of the new speaker to the Australian Federal Parliament The Honourable Peter Slipper.

 Mr Speaker has decided that the Tradition of the speaker wearing ceremonial dress should be restored, this in the form of a QC gown and jacket, it has even been rumoured that he has flirted with the idea of donning the full-bottomed wig, which detractors have said cant be done as its on display at the Museum of Democracy obviously they have never heard they can be bought through Ede and Ravenscroft. The last speaker to do so was Sir William Snedden who retired as speaker on the 4th of Feb 1983. Since then there have been many variations of dress with speakers in later years wearing a simple academics gown to the last speaker the Honourable Harry Jenkins simply wearing a suit.

The move by the Speaker has not been without controversey with a section of the press covering the front pages of their tabloids with caricatures etc however this has not deterred Mr Slipper who has announced that once  a week he will lead the formal procession of Speaker with his Sergeant at Arms through areas viewable to the public. This has not occured in the new parliament building outside of the opening of parliament after every election(roughly every four years) the Speaker and the Sergeant at Arms currently enter the chamber through a side door from the speakers office. While the press have labelled the Speaker  an egotist those of us who seek to protect our traditions know that the speaker is simply reintroducing those  which have been abolished by the true egotists those custodians of the office of speaker who have trashed centuries of traditions by removing bit by bit the symbols and customs of that office.

So this Young Fogey would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the new speaker on his appointment and his decision to restore a little history and colour into our parliament. Lets hope it is only the beginning of things to come.

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