Making first impressions count

8 February 2023

Highlights from some of the Legislative Assembly inaugural speeches

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

That’s one reason new MPs work hard on perfecting their inaugural speech. 

Previously known as a ‘maiden speech’, the convention originated in the United Kingdom’s lower house, the House of Commons, where by tradition a new member usually can’t speak in any parliamentary debate until they have first made their inaugural speech. 

By convention, the speech typically steers clear of being overly partisan, instead concentrating on the MP’s philosophical background and policy priorities for their time in parliament.

Journalists, researchers and political commentators will often look back at a prominent MP’s inaugural speech as a guide to their character and political philosophy when examining their subsequent political career. 

It’s the practice of the chamber to listen without interruption or interjection and not to attack or criticise the speech during subsequent debates.  

In Victoria’s 60th Parliament the newly elected MPs, comprising around a third of all members, will take the chance to outline to parliament their vision, motivation and background, as well as to thank their many friends and supporters. 

As well as being published in Hansard, the speech will appear on each MPs profile page on the Victorian Parliament’s website. 

A range of members made their inaugural speech during the first sitting day of the 60th Parliament in December. Others will be making their speech in the first few sitting weeks of 2023.