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Blair Unveils Third-term Agenda

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II Tuesday presided over the state opening of the Parliament as a tradition and unveiled the Blair government's third term plans which centers on security and public service reform.

The third-term government will continue to pursue economic policies which entrench stability and promote long-term growth and prosperity by securing low inflation and sound public finances, read the Queen from a speech written by ministers.

The government will "build on its reform program and accelerate modernization of the public services" to promote opportunity and fairness in the society. Legislation will focus on the implementation of key areas of public services such as education, health, welfare and crime, said the speech.

While education remains the main priority with quality and choice as the goal in this term's plan, diversity and choice in health-care is highlighted.

The agenda includes a package of 45 bills for the Parliament to debate by November 2006. They include the compulsory issuing of ID cards, a law making the incitement to religious hatred a crime, measures to tackle hospital infections and the EU constitution referendum.

In the coming years, legislation will be introduced to restrict smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces, to create safe and secure communities, to foster a culture of respect, and to tighten the immigration and asylum system.

Passing the dozens of legislation in a parliament where Labor party only commands a majority seats of 67 poses a daunting task for Prime Minister Tony Blair, especially for those proposals already arousing debates among Parliament members.

Earlier Blair had promised a "bold program" of public service reform in his historic third term, and will deliver it on Labor's manifesto pledge.

(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2005)

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