Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly

Last updated

Legislative Assembly
10th Assembly
Coat of Arms of the Australian Capital Territory.svg
ACT Legislative Assembly logo.png
Type
Type
History
Founded11 May 1989;33 years ago (11 May 1989)
Preceded by House of Assembly
Leadership
Joy Burch, Labor
since 31 October 2016
Deputy Speaker
Mark Parton, Liberal
since November 2020
Manager of Government
Business
Mick Gentleman, Labor
since February 2016
Government whip
Andrew Barr, Labor
since 11 December 2014
Elizabeth Lee, Liberal
since 27 October 2020
Structure
Seats25
2021.03.25 ACT Legislative Assembly - Composition of Members.svg
Political groups
Government (16)
  Labor (10)
  Greens (6) [1]
Opposition (9)
  Liberal (9)
Length of term
4 years
Elections
Hare–Clark electoral system
First election
4 March 1989
Last election
17 October 2020
Next election
24 October 2024
Meeting place
Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly.jpg
Legislative Assembly Building, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Website
www.parliament.act.gov.au
Chamber of the ACT Legislative Assembly Legislative Assembly ACT Chamber.jpg
Chamber of the ACT Legislative Assembly

The Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory (known in short as the ACT Legislative Assembly) is the unicameral legislature of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It sits in the Legislative Assembly Building on Civic Square, close to the centre of the city of Canberra.

Contents

Creation

The Assembly was created by four acts of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1988, including the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. The first election was held on 4 March 1989 [2] and the assembly first sat on 11 May that year. [3] Until this point, the ACT had been directly administered by the Commonwealth Government. It replaced the House of Assembly (also known for a period as the Legislative Assembly), which existed from 1976 to 1986, but had no executive power, with a principal function of advising the Commonwealth on matters relating to the Territory. [3]

Membership

Since October 2016, the Legislative Assembly has 25 members elected from five electorates, [4] Brindabella, Ginninderra, Kurrajong, Murrumbidgee and Yerrabi, each having five members. [5] Members are elected for four-year terms by the Hare-Clark system, a variation of the Single Transferable Vote form of proportional representation. [6]

Previously the Legislative Assembly had 17 members elected from three electorates—Brindabella and Ginninderra, each of which had five members, and Molonglo, which had seven members. In 2014 the Assembly voted to expand the number of members, with the change taking effect at the 2016 election. [7]

The Assembly was originally elected by a modified d'Hondt system, but a 1992 referendum supported the Hare-Clark method, and this was introduced in the 1995 election. [6]

Members of the Legislative Assembly vote to elect a Chief Minister [8] —in practice, the leader of whichever party can form government (known as the ACT Government). The Chief Minister, in turn, selects ministers to form a cabinet. The leader of the second-largest party in the Assembly usually becomes the Leader of the Opposition.

Election dates for the Assembly are fixed in legislation, with elections held on the third Saturday in October every four years (until 1997, elections were held in February). [9] The term of the Assembly was increased in 2004 from three to four years. The next election is due on Saturday 24 October 2024.

Salary

As of 2018 MLAs were paid a base salary of $164,382. Most members were entitled to an additional loading, up to a maximum of $345,202 for the chief minister. [10]

Local government functions

Unlike the legislatures of the other mainland states and territories, the Assembly also has the functions of a local council; the city of Canberra has no other local government.

Enactment of legislation

The ACT is unique among Australian states and self-governing territories, as it has no vice-regal post exercising authority as the representative of the monarch, such as a governor or an Administrator. The functions vested in a state Governor or territorial Administrator as nominal head of the Executivecommissioning government, proroguing parliament and enacting legislationare exercised by the Assembly itself and by the Chief Minister. Instead of vice-regal or regal assent, a Bill passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly is enacted on "notification"publication in the Government Gazette of a notice authorised by the Chief Minister. [11] However, the Governor-General of Australia does have the power to dissolve the Assembly if it is "incapable of effectively performing its functions or is conducting its affairs in a grossly improper manner". [12]

Powers

As with the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, the ACT Legislative Assembly lacks the full powers of a state legislature. Section 122 of the Constitution of Australia provides that the Commonwealth Parliament "may make laws for the government of any territory" surrendered by any State to the Commonwealth. The Governor-General, on the advice of the Executive, previously had the power to override laws passed by the Assembly. [13] Although this was rare in practice, the Civil Unions Act 2006, which allowed same-sex couples to enter into "civil unions" was overruled following concerns that the civil unions mimicked marriage. In July 2006, the Federal Government again threatened to overrule the ACT Stanhope Government's anti-terror legislation, which was not consistent with other state laws. In 2011 the Federal Parliament passed a private senator's bill which removed this power in respect to both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. [14]

Current distribution of seats

Electorates used for the 2020 election. ACT Electorates 2020.png
Electorates used for the 2020 election.
PartySeats heldPercentageSeat distribution
Labor Party 1040%          
Liberal Party 936%          
ACT Greens 624%          

2020 Australian Capital Territory general election

ElectorateSeats held
Brindabella      
Ginninderra      
Kurrajong      
Murrumbidgee      
Yerrabi      
 Labor
 Liberal
 Green

Current sitting government/ Coalition

The current sitting government is made up of a majority of 10 (40%) Labor held seats, 9 (36%) Liberal held seats and 6 (24%) Greens held seats. The current Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, is Andrew Barr. [15] He is the ‘Governing Leader’ of the territory.

The ACT Greens party has had a significant presence in the ACT Legislative Assembly since the party's formation, having formed minority or coalition governments with the ACT Labor Party since 2008. Therefore, the ACT has the only Labor-Greens coalition in the country.

See also

Notes

    Related Research Articles

    Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

    The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is the unicameral legislature of the Northern Territory of Australia. The Legislative Assembly has 25 members, each elected in single-member electorates for four-year terms. The voting method for the Assembly is the full-preferential voting system, having previously been optional preferential voting. Elections are on the fourth Saturday in August of the fourth year after the previous election, but can be earlier in the event of a no confidence vote in the Government. The most recent election for the Legislative Assembly was the 2020 election held on 22 August 2020. The next election is scheduled for 24 August 2024.

    South Canberra, or the Inner South, is a central district of Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

    Wayne Bruce Berry, former Australian politician, was a member of the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly from 1989 to 2008, representing the electorate of Ginninderra for the Labor Party. Berry served as Deputy Chief Minister from 1991 to 1994, Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 1998 and Speaker of the Assembly from 2001 to 2008.

    Vicki Ann Dunne, an Australian politician, was a member of the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, from 2001 to 2020, representing the electoral district of Ginninderra for the Liberal Party.

    Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly were held on Saturday, 18 February 1995. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Rosemary Follett, was challenged by the Liberal Party, led by Kate Carnell. For the first time, candidates were elected to fill three multi-member electorates using a single transferable vote method, known as the Hare-Clark system. The result was another hung parliament. However the Liberals, with the largest representation in the 17-member unicameral Assembly, formed Government with the support of Michael Moore and Paul Osborne. Carnell was elected Chief Minister at the first sitting of the third Assembly on 9 March 1995.

    Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly were held on Saturday, 21 February 1998. The incumbent Liberal Party, led by Kate Carnell, was challenged by the Labor Party, led by Wayne Berry. Candidates were elected to fill three multi-member electorates using a single transferable vote method, known as the Hare-Clark system. The result was another hung parliament. However the Liberals, with the largest representation in the 17-member unicameral Assembly, formed Government with the support of independents Michael Moore, Paul Osborne, and Dave Rugendyke. Carnell was elected Chief Minister at the first sitting of the fourth Assembly on 19 March 1998.

    2001 Australian Capital Territory general election

    Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly were held on Saturday, 20 October 2001. The incumbent Liberal Party, led by Gary Humphries, was challenged by the Labor Party, led by Jon Stanhope. Candidates were elected to fill three multi-member electorates using a single transferable vote method, known as the Hare-Clark system. The result was another hung parliament. However Labor, with the largest representation in the 17-member unicameral Assembly, formed Government with the support of the ACT Greens and Democrats. Stanhope was elected Chief Minister at the first sitting of the fifth Assembly on 12 November 2001. The election was conducted by the ACT Electoral Commission and was the first time in Australia's history that an electronic voting and counting system was used for some, but not all, polling places.

    2004 Australian Capital Territory general election

    Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly were held on Saturday, 16 October 2004. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Jon Stanhope, was challenged by the Liberal Party, led by Brendan Smyth. Candidates were elected to fill three multi-member electorates using a single transferable vote method, known as the Hare-Clark system. The result was a clear majority of nine seats in the 17-member unicameral Assembly for Labor. It marked the first and so far only time in the history of ACT self-government that one party was able to win a majority in its own right. Stanhope was elected Chief Minister at the first sitting of the sixth Assembly on 4 November 2004. The election was conducted by the ACT Electoral Commission and was the second time in Australia's history that an electronic voting and counting system was used for some, but not all, polling places, expanding on the initial trial of the system at the 2001 ACT election.

    Government of the Australian Capital Territory Territory government of the Australian Capital Territory, Australia

    The Government of the Australian Capital Territory, also referred to as the Australian Capital Territory Government or ACT Government, is the executive authority of the Australian Capital Territory, one of the territories of Australia. The leader of the party or coalition with the confidence of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly forms Government. Unlike the Australian States and the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly directly elects one of their number to be the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory as the head of the Government, rather than being appointed by a Governor or Administrator.

    2008 Australian Capital Territory general election

    Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly were held on Saturday, 18 October 2008. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Jon Stanhope, was challenged by the Liberal Party, led by Zed Seselja. Candidates were elected to fill three multi-member electorates using a single transferable vote method, known as the Hare-Clark system. The result was another hung parliament with Labor winning seven seats, the Liberals six seats and the Greens finishing with four seats, giving the Greens the balance of power in the 17-member unicameral Assembly. On 31 October 2008, after almost two weeks of deliberations, the Greens chose to support a Labor minority government. Consequently, Labor was re-elected to a third consecutive term of government in the ACT. Stanhope was elected Chief Minister at the first sitting of the seventh Assembly on 5 November 2008. The election was conducted by the ACT Electoral Commission.

    Zed Seselja Australian politician

    Zdenko Matthew "Zed" Seselja is an Australian politician who was a Senator for the Australian Capital Territory from 2013 to 2022, representing the Liberal Party. He was the Minister for International Development and the Pacific in the Morrison Government from December 2020 to May 2022, and previously served as an assistant minister in the Morrison and Turnbull Governments since 2016.

    Shane Rattenbury Australian politician

    Shane Stephen Rattenbury, is the Attorney-General of the ACT and former Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly, and a member of the multi-member district unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Molonglo from 2008 to 2016 and the electorate of Kurrajong since 2016 for the ACT Greens. He was the first Speaker in any Parliament in the world representing a Green political party.

    Amanda Bresnan Australian politician

    Amanda Bresnan is an Australian politician and a member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. Bresnan was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Brindabella for the ACT Greens at the 2008 election and defeated at the 2012 election

    Joy Burch Australian politician

    Joy Marie Burch is an Australian politician and the current Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. She has been a Labor Party member for the seat of Brindabella in the ACT Legislative Assembly since the 2008 ACT election.

    Parliament of the Northern Territory

    The Parliament of the Northern Territory is the unicameral legislature of the Northern Territory of Australia. It consists of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and the Administrator of the Northern Territory, who represents the Governor-General. It is one of three unicameral parliaments in Australia, along with those of Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The Legislative Assembly replaced the previous Legislative Council in 1974. It sits in Parliament House, Darwin.

    2012 Australian Capital Territory general election

    Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly occurred on Saturday, 20 October 2012. The 11-year incumbent Labor Party, led by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, won a fourth term over the main opposition Liberal Party, led by opposition leader Zed Seselja.

    2016 Australian Capital Territory general election

    A general election for the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly was held on Saturday, 15 October 2016.

    2020 Australian Capital Territory general election

    The 2020 Australian Capital Territory general election was held between 28 September and 17 October 2020 to elect all 25 members of the unicameral ACT Legislative Assembly.

    Gordon Ramsay (politician) Australian politician

    Gordon Ramsay is an Australian politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), representing the Ginninderra electorate from 2016 to 2020. He was elected to be a Minister in the Barr government.

    2024 Australian Capital Territory general election

    The 2024 Australian Capital Territory general election will be held on or before Saturday the 19th of October 2024 to elect all 25 members of the unicameral ACT Legislative Assembly.

    References

    1. https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/1654077/Parliamentary-Agreement-for-the-10th-Legislative-Assembly.pdf While the Greens sit in the cabinet of the ACT Government, three Greens MLAs sit on the backbench, allowing them to put forward private members' bills and question ministers. All 6 Greens MLAs are party to the Parliamentary (Coalition) agreement. This agreement sets out “two-party government” principles & binds Greens MLAs
    2. ACT government elections Archived 28 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine
    3. 1 2 "Establishing self-government in the ACT". Legislative Assembly for the ACT. 20 March 2017. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
    4. "A Bill for An Act to amend the Electoral Act 1992" (PDF).
    5. "Electorates 2016 election". 27 April 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
    6. 1 2 "Electing Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly". Legislative Assembly for the ACT. 25 April 2020.
    7. Australian Capital Territory (Legislative Assembly) Act 2014 (ACT)
    8. Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cth) s 40
    9. Electoral Act 1992 (ACT) s 100
    10. Foden, Blake (4 April 2018). "ACT politicians awarded 2.5 per cent pay rise". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
    11. "National Archives: Documenting a Democracy". Archived from the original on 21 February 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
    12. Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cth) s 16
    13. Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cth) s 35
    14. Territories Self-Government Legislation Amendment (Disallowance and Amendment of Laws) Act 2011 (Cth)
    15. "Barr-Andrew". 28 April 2020.