Is the Governor-General allowed inside the House of Representatives?
The Governor-General delivers his opening of Parliament address.
The end of a T-shaped table is shown with a number of people in suits sitting around it. There is a raised platform with a man sitting in a large wooden chair speaking into a microphone. A man is sitting in a high backed chair to the left of the man speaking. Three people stand behind the men on chairs under a wood and metal representation of the Australian coat of arms.
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Thanks for your question, Michael.
By convention – tradition – the Governor-General does not enter the House of Representatives while it is meeting.
Like many traditions in the Australian Parliament, this practice is inherited from the British Parliament where the monarch does not enter the House of Commons or ‘people’s house’.
The convention has existed since 1642 when King Charles I, accompanied by armed guards, entered the House of Commons and attempted to arrest some of its members. He was unsuccessful in making any arrests. Since then no king or queen has entered the House of Commons.
The tradition continues in the Australian Parliament where the Governor-General – the official representative of the Monarch – does not enter the House of Representatives. This means that when the Governor-General opens a new Parliament, he or she does so from the Senate.