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Encyclopedia > Parliaments of the Australian states and territories

The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia. Before the formation of the Commonwealth in 1901, the six Australian colonies were self-governing, with parliaments which had come into existence by stages from 1825, when the New South Wales Legislative Council was created, to 1891, Western Australia became the last of the colonies to gain full self-government.


By ratifying the Constitution of Australia, the colonies agreed to become States of the Commonwealth, and to cede certain of their legislative powers to the Commonwealth Parliament, but otherwise retained their self-governing status with their own parliaments. The legislative powers of the state parliaments cannot be altered except by altering the Constitution, which can only be done by the Australian people voting in a referendum.


The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, by contrast, are territories of the Commonwealth, and their parliaments were created by way of legislation of the Commonwealth Parliament. Although the Commonwealth treats the territories as though they were states for many purposes, they are not states, and the legislative powers of their parliaments can be altered or even abolished by the Commonwealth Parliament.

Contents

The Parliament of New South Wales

The Parliament of New South Wales consists of two houses. The New South Wales Legislative Council is the oldest legislative body in Australia, having been created in 1825 as an appointed body to advise the Governor. Today it has 42 members serving eight-year terms and elected by proportional representation. The New South Wales Legislative Assembly was created in 1856 when New South Wales attained self-government. Today it has 93 members elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.


The Parliament of Victoria

The Parliament of Victoria consists of two houses. The Victorian Legislative Council was created in 1851. Today it has 44 members serving eight year terms and elected from single-member constituencies. The Victorian Legislative Assembly was created in 1855 when Victoria attained self-government. Today it has 88 members elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.


The Parliament of Queensland

The Parliament of Queensland consists of one house, the Legislative Council having been abolished in 1922. The Queensland Legislative Assembly was created in 1859 when Queensland attained self-government. Today it has 89 members elected for three-year terms from single-member constituencies.


The Parliament of Western Australia

The Parliament of Western Australia consists of two houses. The Western Australian Legislative Council was created in 1832 as an appointive body. Today it has 34 members elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies by proportional representation. The Western Australian Legislative Assembly was created in 1891 when Western Australia attained self-government. Today it has 57 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.


The Parliament of South Australia

The Parliament of South Australia consists of two houses. The South Australian Legislative Council was created in 1840 as an appointive body. Today it has 22 members, elected for eight-year terms by proportional representation. The South Australian House of Assembly was created in 1857 when South Australia attained self-government. Today it has 47 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.


The Parliament of Tasmania

The Parliament of Tasmania consists of two houses. The Tasmanian Legislative Council was created in 1825 as an appointive body. (Tasmania was then called Van Diemen's Land.) Today it has 15 members, elected for six-year terms from single-member constituencies. The Tasmanian House of Assembly was created in 1856 when Tasmania attained self-government. Today has 25 members, elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies by the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation.


The Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory

The Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory consists of one house. The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly was created by an act of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1989. It has 17 members, elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies by the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation.


The Parliament of the Northern Territory

The Parliament of the Northern Territory consists of one house. The Northern Territory Legislative Assembly was created by an act of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1974. An earlier advisory body, the Northern Territory Legislative Council, existed from 1947 to 1974. The Assembly has 25 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.


External links

  • The New South Wales Parliament (http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au)
  • The Victorian Parliament (http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au)
  • The Queensland Parliament (http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au)
  • The Western Australian Parliament (http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au)
  • The South Australian Parliament (http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au)
  • The Tasmanian Parliament (http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au)
  • The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly (http://www.legassembly.act.gov.au)
  • The Northern Territory Legislative Assembly (http://www.nt.gov.au/lant)

  Results from FactBites:
 
AUSTRALIA (4915 words)
Australian voters rejected a move to become a republic in 1999 by a 55% majority, but the result is generally viewed in terms of dissatisfaction with the specifics of the proposed republican model rather than attachment to the monarchy.
Seats in the House of Representatives are allocated to states on the basis of population.
Australian English is a major variety of the language; its grammar and spelling are largely based on those of British English, overlaid with a rich vernacular of unique lexical items and phrases, some of which have found their way into standard English.
Parliaments of the Australian states and territories - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (668 words)
The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, by contrast, are territories of the Commonwealth, and their parliaments were created by way of legislation of the Commonwealth Parliament.
All of the States except Queensland have bicameral parliaments, with a lower house called the Legislative Assembly or House of Assembly, and an upper house called the Legislative Council.
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