Other Briefs

Three Seats Simultaneously

Scrolled Petition

Gregson and Governor’s Salary

Confronting the Strong

Teapot Tumult

Obscure Insult

Secession Suggested

Shortest Term MHA

Numberplate Change

Darkest Hour

Premier Lewis Loses Seat

Number of Parliamentarians

By-Elections By Recount


Numberplate Change

Illustrating the value of adjournment speeches in Parliament, a largely unknown change in lifestyle occurred in late 1951 or early 1952. It may seem unusual to today’s motor vehicle drivers but Tasmania had then only recently dropped the use of permanent numberplates and shifted to having a person’s car numberplate changed each year! Frederick Arthur Marriott (MHA Bass) raised the difficulties of this practice as, he noted, interstate motorists retained the same number each year. Marriott, an ex-bank officer and a stickler for detail, remarked that the system in Tasmania ‘was cumbersome and time-wasting.’

A formal reply to Marriott’s parliamentary question on numberplates came on 5 October. The Hon. John Madden, as Minister for Transport, said he had been advised that the use of ‘permanent number plates with windscreen labels for renewals was found to have definite drawbacks in New South Wales and Victoria.’ Further more, it was not ‘considered desirable’ to revert to permanent numberplates, Madden said. However, this bureaucratic advice soon came to be erroneous. The production of annual numberplates became problematic, as supplies of aluminium from England to produce them was not available for several months and a backlog developed.

Marriott, with the support of Horace Strutt (MHA Denison, soon to become Speaker of the House of Assembly) raised the matter again in April 1952. On this occasion he was told by Madden that the ‘whole question of car registration was under review’ by the Transport Department. Soon after the departmental report was released Madden even exhibited a sample in the Assembly of the new and permanent ‘pressed steel’ numberplates to come into use from 1 January 1953. Thus repeatedly making attention-raising speeches on the adjournment can be a simple, and sometimes effective, use of a parliamentary procedure, from which every Tasmanian can benefit!


From 2012 Tasmania followed other jusrisdictions and ceased using annual registration stickers on car windows. Once expired stickers had to be removed within 30 days or a fine applied. The 'permanent' numberplate was retained.