A short history of long goodbyes
3 October 2022
Every four years, the last sitting week before the election brings us some pleasant spring weather, a lot of tabled reports, and farewell speeches from the members who are retiring rather than contesting the election.
While members now expect valedictory speeches as a standard part of parliamentary practice, it’s actually a recent phenomenon.
Members use valedictory speeches to talk about their achievements in Parliament and particularly memorable events, as well as some good-natured jokes at other members’ expense.
The first official valedictory speeches were held in 2006, before Victoria’s first fixed-term election. Prior to the 2003 reforms that brought in fixed four-year terms, there were no official valedictory speeches. Elections could be announced between one sitting week and the next, so there was no way to plan when a member’s last sitting week would be.
There’s no set procedure for valedictory speeches. Sometimes a time is set aside out of the last day’s program, and on other occasions, speeches have taken place during the adjournment debate on the final day’s sitting.
The houses also tend to take different approaches, with the Assembly usually making a suspension of standing orders motion and the Council relying on a less formal agreement between the parties.
The end of the 59th Parliament in 2022 will see the largest number of retiring members since the introduction of fixed terms: approximately 25 across both Houses.
The Assembly and the Council both made time for valedictory speeches during the final sitting week.
All valedictory speeches are available in full on the Parliament's YouTube channel.
You can read the Legislative Assembly valedictories from Tuesday September 20 in Hansard and those from Wednesday September 21, also in Hansard and the Legislative Council valedictories are published in Hansard, which is available on Parliament's website.