• Opposition Leader Bill Shorten proposed to start the parliamentary year with a Welcome to Country (AAP)Source: AAP
The parliamentary year will begin with an Indigenous welcome to country under a federal Labor government.
Source:
AAP
13 Aug 2015 - 11:42 AM  UPDATED 13 Aug 2015 - 11:44 AM

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made the pledge in Canberra on Wednesday night while launching a book, Two Futures, by Labor MPs Tim Watts and Clare O'Neil.

The book suggests the idea of starting each year with an Indigenous welcoming ceremony.

"In the standing orders, inviting guests onto the floor is referred to as welcoming 'strangers' to the house," Mr Shorten said.

"Let us renew each democratic year with an acknowledgment of the world's oldest continuing culture and a reminder to all of us of Australia's ongoing journey to reconciliation"

"But it is us, the non-Indigenous Australians, who are the strangers.

"Let us renew each democratic year with an acknowledgment of the world's oldest continuing culture and a reminder to all of us of Australia's ongoing journey to reconciliation."

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The authors also laid out a plan to reform question time, including the abolition of "Dorothy Dixers" - pre-arranged questions from government backbenchers to ministers.

Mr Shorten called on Monday for changes to question time, such as supplementary questions and an enforcement of the "direct relevance" rule for answers.