What is Parliament in each State/Territory?

Parliament is governed by the principle of responsible government ie. that government is responsible to the electorate. Parliament has wide-ranging power to make laws and can wipe out entire areas of past laws, create new areas of law and legislate on a wide range of subjects.

Commonwealth Parliament

The Parliament of Australia or Commonwealth Parliament is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It creates the law, sponsored by a Ministerial department, then it debates and revises the law, until a final copy is agreed upon and forwarded to the Governor General for assent.

It is bicameral. The upper house, the Senate, consists of 76 members: twelve for each state, and two for each mainland territory. Senators are elected using a form of proportional voting. The two Houses meet in separate chambers of Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra.

The lower house, the House of Representatives, currently consists of 150 members, who represent districts known as electoral divisions (commonly referred to as “electorates” or “seats”). The number of members is not fixed, but can vary with boundary changes resulting from electoral redistributions, which are required on a regular basis. Each division elects one member using preferential voting.

Parliament in Other States/Territories

There are eight other Parliaments in Australia other than the Commonwealth Parliament. These include the six State Parliaments and the Parliaments of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Most are bicameral (two houses) with the notable exceptions of QLD, ACT and NT who all only have one house and are unicameral.

The names for each house of Parliament are listed below:

  • ACT - unicameral - Legislative Assembly
  • NSW - bicameral - Legislative Assembly (lower house) and Legislative Council (upper house)
  • NT - unicameral - Legislative Assembly
  • QLD - unicameral - Legislative Assembly
  • SA - bicameral - House of Assembly (lower house) and Legislative Council (upper house)
  • TAS - bicameral - House of Assembly (lower house) and Legislative Council (upper house)
  • VIC - bicameral - Legislative Assembly (lower house) and Legislative Council (upper house)
  • WA - bicameral - Legislative Assembly (lower house) and Legislative Council (upper house)

 

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