Protocol and State events in Western Australia

Guidance on ceremonies and official functions.

The role of the WA Government's protocol and events unit includes:

  • planning and coordinating royal, head of state, head of government, ministerial, head of mission and other official visits to the State by guests of government and other distinguished visitors
  • coordinating official hospitality functions hosted by the Premier as well as major government ceremonial and special events
  • selecting, purchasing and allocating appropriate official gifts for presentation by the Premier to dignitaries visiting WA and on overseas visits
  • providing protocol advice to the WA Government and members of the public on matters such as order of precedence, forms of address and State symbols 
  • liaison with the Consular Corps.

For guidance regarding the Australian national flag and the flag of WA, see Protocol and State events - Flags.

Official visits

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Planning and coordination of royal, head of State, head of government, ministerial and other official visits by guests of government and other distinguished visitors.

We work in close cooperation with Commonwealth, and State and local government authorities to develop a suitable program for dignitaries.

Official visits are facilitated following prior agreement between the Commonwealth or State Government and the country of the visiting dignitary. 

Foreign ambassadors and high commissioners (heads of mission) residing in Canberra generally make a first official visit to each Australian state and territory.

Heads of mission wishing to make their first official visit to WA should email protocol on the email opposite.

Events and hospitality

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Hospitality functions hosted by the Premier or his representative.

We provide advice to the Premier’s office and Ministerial offices on policy and procedures for government hospitality.

Some examples of these events are listed below.

Official opening of Parliament

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Marking the first meeting of the two Houses.

After a general election, the first meeting of the two Houses is known as the Opening of Parliament. 

The occasion is often marked by a ceremony and the level of formality is determined by the Government of the day.

Steeped in tradition, the more formal style is based on the United Kingdom’s Westminster System of Government and represents the meeting of the 'Trinity of Parliament' as follows:

  • Crown's Representative (the Governor)
  • Legislative Council
  • House of Assembly.

We work with the two Houses of Parliament in making arrangements for the ceremonial arrival of the Governor of Western Australian at the official opening of Parliament.

For more information, visit the Parliament House website.
 

Swearing-in of the Governor

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The occasion marking a new Governor's appointment.

A Governor’s term of office is usually between four and five years, and as this term draws to a close, a new Governor is appointed. The Governor acts as the Queen’s representative in WA.

As the Head of State, it is the Queen’s responsibility to commission the next Governor based on advice from the State Premier.

Following the nomination of the Governor-designate, a swearing-in ceremony takes place at Government House.

We work closely with the staff of Government House to organise this event.

For more information, visit the Government House website.
 

Community Cabinet

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An annual program in which State Cabinet travels to WA regional and metropolitan centres.

Various meetings and events take place in conjunction with these Cabinet visits, including community events hosted by the Premier.

We work with Cabinet Services, local government authorities and community service providers to coordinate these functions.

 

Special and State events

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Planning and coordination of other official events.

This includes State receptions for visiting high-level dignitaries, Olympic and Paralympic welcome home parades and State signing ceremonies.

Consular Corps

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Liaison on behalf of the Premier on matters concerning the Consular Corps in WA.

This includes coordinating responses to requests from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for information on the WA Government's views on proposed consular appointments.

We also maintain an up-to-date list of consular representatives in the State and arrange calls, as requested, by newly appointed consular representatives on the Governor, Premier and other official office-holders.

Members of the Consular Corps in WA requiring assistance are welcome to contact us on the email opposite.

Order of precedence

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Correct order of acknowledgment of dignitaries in speeches and at functions.

WA has no official table of precedence, however a general pattern consistent with the Commonwealth and other states is usually followed, with a degree of flexibility allowing the circumstances of each event to be taken into consideration.

Our staff assist with advice relating to precedence and the correct order of acknowledgment of dignitaries in speeches and at functions.

It should be noted that each event is unique and precedence may vary depending on a variety of factors, including funding of the event or project, location of the event, and hosts.

To request advice, please contact us on the email opposite.

Titles and forms of address

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Guidance on written and in-person titles.

Use of the title 'The Honourable'

The Governor of Western Australia has authority to confer the title 'The Honourable' to certain members of Parliament and the judiciary. Notice of all persons conferred the honorific is published in the Government Gazette. Use of this title is administered by the Executive Government Branch.

The criteria by which individuals become eligible to use the title are explained below.

Governors of Western Australia are now accorded the title for the duration of their service and entitled to retain it after leaving office.

Parliamentarians serving in the following capacities are entitled to use the title while in office as follows:

  • Premier
  • Ministers
  • President of the Legislative Council
  • Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
  • Members of the Legislative Council

The Governor may approve the retention of the title for Parliamentarians upon leaving office, subject to the following qualifying lengths of service:

  • Premier - One year
  • Ministers - Three years
  • President of the Legislative Council - Three years
  • Speaker of the Legislative Assembly - Three years
  • Members of the Legislative Council - 10 years' continuous service

The Chief Justice and judges of the Supreme Court are eligible to use the title following their appointment.

They may retain it upon leaving office, subject to the Governor's approval.

 

Gifts

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Protocol regarding gifts and presentation packs.

Gifts

Gift exchange is a common diplomatic custom practiced by many countries around the world. Gifts are presented as a token of respect, and to promote goodwill and strengthen diplomatic relations.

We arrange gifts on behalf of the Premier, or his representative. We do not select and purchase gifts for Ministers or other Parliamentarians acting in their own capacity, however we may provide advice regarding appropriate gift suggestions on request.

Typical gifts include photographic books featuring imagery of WA, high quality WA craft items, WA wine and products made from materials that are unique to WA.

Presentation packs

Overseas exchange students and teachers travelling for 12 months or longer may request a presentation pack, which can be presented as a gift to a host school.

Exchange students and teachers may also request a full-size Western Australian State flag from their local member of Parliament, with the purpose of presenting the flag to their overseas host.

Presentation packs can be requested by contacting us on the email opposite.

Congratulatory letters

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Requesting a birthday or anniversary message.

Requests can be made for congratulatory messages to be sent to WA residents celebrating their 90th, 100th, 105th (and every year thereafter) birthdays, and couples celebrating their 50th, 60th, 65th, 70th or 75th wedding anniversaries.

Government House is responsible for the management of these requests. For further information about congratulatory messages, or to download an application form, visit Government House - Congratulatory Messages

Applications should be forwarded to Government House at least four to six weeks before a birthday or anniversary.
 

Page reviewed 19 September 2019