Special event marks 150 years of Hansard
KEEPING a record of parliamentary debate in Queensland was once deemed a waste of money.
When Queensland Parliament voted to allocate a budget to fund the wages and printing costs to produce the first volume of the parliament's official record of debates on August 25, 1864, the Moreton-Bay Courier newspaper published a long editorial vehemently arguing public funds should not be used to set up Hansard.
Tonight a special event at Parliament House will mark 150 years since Hansard's inception and launch the full online digitisation of all 150 years of the record of parliamentary debates.
Speaker Fiona Simpson said there was no Hansard transcript during Queensland's first parliament from 1860 to 1863, with only reports of members' speeches published in the paper.
She said members were said to be so unhappy with how their speeches were reported, or that the Courier had decided to not report them at all, that they urged Queensland's first Speaker Gilbert Eliott to establish an official Hansard record.
"What we now consider an important part of our open democracy was first met with controversy and derision," she said.
"The decision to invest in an official record of proceedings made Queensland just the third Parliament in the world to establish an official Hansard record, following the parliaments of Nova Scotia in Canada and then South Australia.
"There have been many changes in the technologies used to produce Hansard over the last 150 years, but one thing that hasn't changed is the hard work of Hansard reporters to produce an accurate record of proceedings of the People's House, available openly to the people of Queensland."
- APN NEWSDESK