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Modernization of Parliament: Uniforms and The Usher of the Black Rod

Modernization of Parliament: Uniforms and The Usher of the Black Rod


RAY WRIGHT: There have of course been a number
of changes to the Westminster practices and to the way that the Victorian Parliament uses
those practices. One of the most visible took place in the year 2003 and when I was Usher
of the Black Rod when the decision was that we would modernise the uniforms worn by Chamber
officers. And so for the Opening of Parliament ceremony for the first time in Victorian history,
instead of wearing a full Windsor court costume with lace jabbos and silver buckled shoes
and knickerbockers and all the other things that former Ushers and Sergeants and such
people have worn, we simply wore ordinary business suits and it was a bit of a shock
to the system. It was especially a shock to me because I had been appointed Usher and
they’d got me the full uniform and we’d taken all the official photographs and it
was the only time I ever wore the official uniform was for the official photograph. But
it also shows though that the Parliament is modernising. I think it probably presents
a significantly more modern image.

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