New South Wales Legislative Assembly

Last updated

New South Wales Legislative Assembly
55th Parliament
Coat of Arms of New South Wales.svg
Type
Type
History
Founded1856
Leadership
Jonathan O’Dea, Liberal
since 7 May 2019
Structure
Seats93
NSW Legislative Assembly 2019 (Post-Election).svg
Political groups
Government (48)

Opposition (36)

Crossbench (9)

Elections
Last election
23 March 2019
Next election
25 March 2023
Meeting place
Legislative Assembly Chamber
Parliament House, Sydney,
New South Wales, Australia
Website
NSW Legislative Assembly

The New South Wales Legislative Assembly is the lower of the two houses of the Parliament of New South Wales, an Australian state. The upper house is the New South Wales Legislative Council. Both the Assembly and Council sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. The Assembly is presided over by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Parliament of New South Wales legislative body in the Australian state of New South Wales

The Parliament of New South Wales is a bicameral legislature in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), consisting of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, and the New South Wales Legislative Council. Each house is directly elected by the people of New South Wales at elections held approximately every four years. The Parliament derives its authority from the Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor of New South Wales, who chairs the Executive Council of New South Wales. The parliament shares law making powers with the Australian Federal Parliament. The New South Wales Parliament follows the Westminster parliamentary traditions of dress, Green–Red chamber colours and protocol.

New South Wales Legislative Council Upper house of the Parliament of New South Wales

The New South Wales Legislative Council, often referred to as the upper house, is one of the two chambers of the parliament of the Australian state of New South Wales. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. It is normal for legislation to be first deliberated on and passed by the Legislative Assembly before being considered by the Legislative Council, which acts in the main as a house of review.

Parliament House, Sydney house of parliament for State of New South Wales, Australia

The Parliament House in Sydney is a heritage-listed complex of buildings housing the Parliament of the state of New South Wales, Australia. The building is located on the east side of Macquarie Street in Sydney, the state capital. The façade consists of a two-storey Georgian building, the oldest public building in the City of Sydney, flanked by two Neo-gothic additions containing the parliamentary chambers. These buildings are linked to a 1970s 12-storey block at the rear, facing onto the Domain. It is also known as Parliament House, Parliament of New South Wales, Parliamentary Precincts and Rum Hospital.

Contents

The Assembly has 93 members, elected by single-member constituency, which are commonly known as seats. Voting is by the optional preferential system. [1]

Instant-runoff voting (IRV) or Ranked choice voting (RCV) is a type of ranked preferential voting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. Instead of indicating support for only one candidate, voters in IRV elections can rank the candidates in order of preference. Ballots are initially counted for each voter's top choice. If a candidate has more than half of the vote based on first-choices, that candidate wins. If not, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The voters who selected the defeated candidate as a first choice then have their votes added to the totals of their next choice. This process continues until a candidate has more than half of the votes. When the field is reduced to two, it has become an "instant runoff" that allows a comparison of the top two candidates head-to-head. Compared to plurality voting, IRV can reduce the impact of vote-splitting when multiple candidates earn support from like-minded voters.

NSW first Legislative Assembly - 1880 NSW First Legislative Assembly.jpg
NSW first Legislative Assembly – 1880

Members of the Legislative Assembly have the post-nominals MP after their names. [2] From the creation of the assembly up to about 1990, the post-nominals "MLA" (Member of the Legislative Assembly) were used.

The Assembly is often called the bearpit on the basis of the house's reputation for confrontational style during heated moments and the "savage political theatre and the bloodlust of its professional players" [3] attributed in part to executive dominance. [4]

History

The Legislative Assembly chamber during debate on the Greater Newcastle Bill, 19 November 1937; Speaker Reginald Weaver presiding with the Member for Newcastle, Frank Hawkins speaking. SLNSW 20846 AUP Greater Newcastle bill being passed.jpg
The Legislative Assembly chamber during debate on the Greater Newcastle Bill , 19 November 1937; Speaker Reginald Weaver presiding with the Member for Newcastle, Frank Hawkins speaking.

The Legislative Assembly was created in 1856 with the introduction of a bicameral parliament for the Crown Colony of New South Wales. [5] In the beginning, only men were eligible to be members of the Assembly, and only around one half of men were able to pass the property or income qualifications required to vote. Two years later, the Electoral Reform Act, which was passed despite the opposition of the Legislative Council, saw the introduction of a far more democratic system, allowing any man who had been resident in the colony for six months the right to vote, and removing property requirements to stand as a candidate. [5] Following Australia's federation in 1901, the New South Wales parliament became a State legislature. Women were granted the right to vote in 1902, and gained the right to be members of the Assembly in 1918, [6] with the first successful candidate being elected in 1925. [7]

A bicameral legislature divides the legislators into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a single group, and from some legislatures that have three or more separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. As of 2015, fewer than half the world's national legislatures are bicameral.

Colony of New South Wales British colony which later became a state of Australia

The Colony of New South Wales was a colony of the British Empire from 1788 to 1900, when it became a State of the Commonwealth of Australia. At its greatest extent, the colony of New South Wales included the present-day Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia, the Northern Territory as well as New Zealand. The first "responsible" self-government of New South Wales was formed on 6 June 1856 with Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson appointed by Governor Sir William Denison as its first Colonial Secretary.

Chamber

The Legislative Assembly sits in the oldest legislative chamber in Australia. Originally built for the Legislative Council in 1843, it has been in continuous use since 1856. The colour of the Legislative Assembly chamber is green, which follows the British tradition for lower houses. [8]

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.

Function

Most legislation is initiated in the Legislative Assembly. The party or coalition with a majority of seats in the lower house is invited by the Governor to form government. The leader of that party subsequently becomes Premier of New South Wales, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian political parties traditionally vote along party lines, most legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the Legislative Assembly. [1]

As with the federal parliament and other Australian states and territories, voting in the Assembly is compulsory for all those over the age of 18. Elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in March, exceptional circumstances notwithstanding, as the result of a 1995 referendum to amend the New South Wales Constitution. [1]

Current distribution of seats

PartySeats heldCurrent Assembly
Australian Labor Party 36                                    
Liberal Party of Australia 35                                   
National Party of Australia 13             
Greens New South Wales 3   
SFF 3   
Independent 3   

Administrative officers

Clerk

The clerk of the house of the NSW Legislative Assembly is the senior administrative officer. The clerk advises the speaker of the Assembly and members of parliament on matters of parliamentary procedure and management. The office is modelled on the clerk of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The following have served as clerks:

Serjeant-at-arms

The ceremonial duties of the serjeant-at-arms are as the custodian of the mace, the symbol of the authority of the House and the speaker, and as the messenger for formal messages from the Legislative Assembly to the Legislative Council. The serjeant has the authority to remove disorderly people, by force if necessary, from the Assembly or the public or press galleries on the instructions of the speaker. The administrative duties of the serjeant include allocation of office accommodation, furniture and fittings for members' offices, co-ordination of car transport for members, mail and courier services for the House, security for the House and arrangements for school visits. Once a meeting has started in an Assembly, the serjeant will usually stand at the door to keep authority and make sure no one else comes in or out. The following have served as serjeant-at-arms:

See also

Notes

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "Role and History of the Legislative Assembly". About us – Legislative Assembly. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  2. "The Role of Members of Parliament". Members. Parliament of New South Wales. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  3. Dusevic, Tom (4 December 2009). "Tawdry cast sits out dance of death playing in bearpit". The Australian . News Limited . Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  4. Grove, Russell D. (Autumn 2010). "Being in Opposition – Opportunities Lost" (PDF). Australasian Parliamentary Review. Australasian Study of Parliament Group. 25 (1): 185–191. Archived from the original (pdf) on 26 February 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  5. 1 2 "1856 to 1889 – Responsible Government and Colonial Development". System of Government – History of Democracy. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  6. "1901 to 1918 – The Early Federal Period and the First World War". System of Government – History of Democracy. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  7. "1919 to 1929 – The Twenties". System of Government – History of Democracy. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  8. "Parliament of New South Wales brochure" (pdf). Educational Publications. Parliament of New South Wales. 7 March 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  9. Retrieved 13 September 2017
  10. "DEATH OF MR. HARNETT. Popular Sergeant at Arms". The Sydney Morning Herald. NSW: National Library of Australia. 30 September 1911. p. 17. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  11. "DEATH OF MR. CHRISTIE". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842–1954) . NSW: National Library of Australia. 5 October 1922. p. 10. Retrieved 28 November 2013.