Why do members of parliament say hear, hear after someone from their party has spoken?
‘Hear, hear’ is an expression used by members of parliament to show their support for a speech. It is a short form of ‘hear them, hear them’ and is a way of saying, 'listen to what is being said—it’s important!'
The saying has a long history in the UK Parliament. It goes back to the 1600s and developed as a form of cheering. Applause or clapping was discouraged—and sometimes forbidden—so ‘hear, hear’ became a quick and effective way to show support and cheer on a team-mate.
Like many practices from the British Parliament, the custom of not clapping but saying ‘hear, hear’ was passed down to the Australian Parliament and is widely used today.
A minister speaking in the House of Representatives.
Michael Masters/DPS Auspic
A minister gestures while answering a question during Question Time in the House of Represenatives.
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