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Gillard will not address the NZ Parliament

world Updated: Feb 14, 2011 07:53 IST
PTI
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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will not address New Zealand's Parliament during her two-day visit to the country this week.

New Zealand Green Party has opposed the government's plan for Gillard to speak directly to Parliament while in session on Wednesday, saying it would set an uncomfortable precedent, media reports said.

"In New Zealand, no head of government or head of state has addressed a session of Parliament and that's a principle that we're quite keen to keep," Greens co-leader Russel Norman said, adding the Governor-General, our own head of the State, hasn't been allowed onto the floor of Parliament.

If it were allowed, it could permit future governments inviting all sorts of unpleasant people, like (former US president) George Bush, for example, they had in Australia, that I think a lot of members of parliament would be uncomfortable with, he said.

Instead, Gillard will speak in Parliament's debating chamber, becoming the first foreign leader to do so.

"We're very welcoming of Julia Gillard addressing a meeting in the parliamentary buildings... We're very happy with that," Norman said.

Gillard will leave for New Zealand on Tuesday on a two-day visit, starting in Auckland with an address to a business luncheon and a visit to a local school.

On Wednesday, she will be officially welcomed to Parliament, address the House of Representatives in the debating chamber and hold vital meetings.

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