Parliament of New South Wales

Last updated

Parliament of New South Wales
56th Parliament
Coat of Arms of New South Wales.svg
Parliament of New South Wales emblem.jpg
Type
Type
Houses Legislative Assembly
Legislative Council
History
Founded1824
Leadership
Elizabeth II
since 6 February 1952
Margaret Beazley
since 2 May 2019
Jonathan O'Dea, LPA
since 7 May 2019
John Ajaka, LPA
since 21 February 2017
Structure
Seats135 (93 MLAs, 42 MLCs)
NSW Legislative Assembly 2019 (Post-Election).svg
Legislative Assembly political groups
Government (48)

Opposition (36)

Crossbench (9)

NSW Legislative Council (current composition).svg
Legislative Council political groups
Government (17)

Opposition (14)

Crossbench (11)

Elections
Legislative Assembly last election
23 March 2019
Legislative Council last election
23 March 2019
Legislative Assembly next election
25 March 2023
Legislative Council next election
25 March 2023
Meeting place
NSWParliament1.jpg
Parliament House,
Sydney, New South Wales,
Australia
Website
https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au

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 (lower house), and the New South Wales Legislative Council (upper house). 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 (or Commonwealth) Parliament. The New South Wales Parliament follows the Westminster parliamentary traditions of dress, Green–Red chamber colours and protocol. [1]

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

New South Wales Legislative Assembly one of the two chambers of the Parliament of New South Wales

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.

Contents

It is located in Parliament House on Macquarie Street, Sydney.

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.

Macquarie Street, Sydney street in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Macquarie Street is a street in the central business district of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. Macquarie Street extends from Hyde Park at its southern end to the Sydney Opera House at its northern end. Apart from connecting these two major landmarks, the key government institutions of the state of New South Wales are all located on this street.

Sydney City in New South Wales, Australia

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

History

The Parliament of New South Wales was the first of the Australian colonial legislatures being formed from the 1850s. At the time New South Wales was a British colony under the control of the Governor. A small, appointed Legislative Council began meeting in 1824 to advise the Governor on legislative matters. By 1843, this had been enlarged with two-thirds of its members elected by adult males who met certain property requirements. In 1856, under a new Constitution, the Parliament became bicameral with a fully elected Legislative Assembly and an appointed Legislative Council with a Government taking over most of the legislative powers of the Governor. The right to vote was extended in 1858 to all males over 21 years of age. [1]

Governor of New South Wales vice-regal representative of the Australian monarch in New South Wales

The Governor of New South Wales is the viceregal representative of the Australian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in the state of New South Wales. In an analogous way to the Governor-General of Australia at the national level, the Governors of the Australian states perform constitutional and ceremonial functions at the state level. The governor is appointed by the queen on the advice of the premier of New South Wales, for an unfixed period of time—known as serving At Her Majesty's pleasure—though five years is the norm. The current governor is retired judge Margaret Beazley, who succeeded David Hurley on 2 May 2019.

In 1850 the Australian Colonies Government Act was passed by the Imperial Parliament, which expanded the New South Wales Legislative Council so that by 1851 there were 54 members – again, with two-thirds elected. In 1853, a select committee chaired by William Wentworth began drawing up a Constitution for responsible self-government in the colony. The Committee’s proposed Constitution was placed before the Legislative Council in August that year and, for the most part, accepted. [2] The Constitution, with an upper house whose members were appointed for life, was sent to the Imperial Parliament and was passed into law on 16 July 1855. The new Parliament of New South Wales was to be a bicameral legislature, similar to that of the United Kingdom. On 22 May 1856, the newly constituted New South Wales Parliament opened and sat for the first time. With the new 54-member Legislative Assembly taking over the council chamber, a second meeting chamber for the 21 member upper house had to be added to the Parliament building in Macquarie Street. [2]

Parliament of the United Kingdom supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

William Wentworth Australian poet, explorer, journalist and politician

William Charles Wentworth was an Australian explorer, journalist, politician and author, and one of the leading figures of early colonial New South Wales. He was the first native-born Australian to achieve a reputation overseas, and a leading advocate for self-government for the Australian colonies.

In 1859 Queensland was made a colony separate from New South Wales. The Legislative Assembly was reduced from 80 to 72 members by the loss of the Queensland seats. [3] In 1901, New South Wales became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia and many government functions were transferred to the new Commonwealth government. The current Constitution of New South Wales was adopted in 1902: the Constitution Act 1902 (NSW). [4]

Queensland North-east state of Australia

Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland. The state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi).

Constitution Act 1902 Australian leglislation

The Constitution Act 1902 is the founding document of the State of New South Wales, and sets out many of the basic principles of the Government of New South Wales. This act created the foundation of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Government of New South Wales. The Constitution can only be amended through a referendum of NSW voters.

Women gained the right to vote in Commonwealth elections in April 1902 and in New South Wales state elections in August 1902. [1] [5] In 1918, reforms permitted women to be Members of Parliament, although no woman was elected until 1925 when Millicent Preston-Stanley was elected to represent Eastern Suburbs. That same year, a proportional representation system was introduced for the Legislative Assembly with multiple representatives from each electorate; this system lasted until it was abolished in 1926. [1] Women were not able to be appointed to the Legislative Council until 1926; Premier John Storey attempted to appoint Kate Dwyer to the Legislative Council in 1921, but the appointment was ruled out of order. [6] The first two women appointed to the Legislative Council were both ALP members proposed on 23 November 1931: Catherine Green, who took her seat the following day, and Ellen Webster, who joined her two days later. [6]

Millicent Preston-Stanley Australian politician and feminist

Millicent Preston-Stanley was an Australian feminist, and politician who was the first female member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. In 1925 she became the second woman to enter government in Australia.1 She was also among the first women in New South Wales to become Justices of the Peace and served as president of the Women Justices Association from 1923 to 1926. Throughout her life she advocated for women's rights, health reform, and temperance.

Eastern Suburbs was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of New South Wales. It was created as a five-member electorate with the introduction of proportional representation in 1920, replacing Bondi, Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra and named after and situated in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. It was abolished in 1927 and replaced by Bondi, Coogee, Randwick, Vaucluse, Waverley and Woollahra.

John Storey (politician) Australian politician

John Storey was an Australian politician who was Premier of New South Wales from 12 April 1920 until his sudden death in Sydney. His leadership enabled the New South Wales Labor Party to recover after the split over conscription and to allow it to continue to be a left-wing pragmatist rather than a socialist party.

In 1925, 1926 and 1929, Premier Jack Lang made attempts at abolishing the Legislative Council, following the example of the Queensland Legislative Council in 1922, but all were unsuccessful. The debate did, however, result in another round of reforms, and in 1933, the law was changed so that a quarter of the Legislative Council was elected every three years by members of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, rather than being appointed by the Governor. In 1962 Indigenous Australians gained the right to vote in all state elections. In 1978, the Council became a directly elected body in a program of electoral reform introduced by the Wran Labor government. The number of members was reduced to 45, although transitional arrangements meant that there were 43 members from 1978 to 1981, and 44 from 1981 to 1984. Further reform in 1991 by the Greiner Liberal-National government saw the size of the Legislative Council cut to 42 members, with half being elected every 4 years. In 1991, the Legislative Assembly was reduced from 109 to 99 Members and then to 93 members in 1999. [3]

Parliament House

The Parliament building was originally built on the orders of Governor Lachlan Macquarie to be Sydney's second major hospital because, when he arrived in Sydney, he recognised the need for a new hospital. In 1810, he awarded the contract to Garnham Blaxcell, Alexander Riley and Dr. D'Arcy Wentworth. The contract gave the builders the right to import 45,000 gallons of rum, for which they paid a duty of 3 shillings a gallon. They were able to sell it for a huge profit and in turn the government refunded them the duty as a payment for their work, thereby gaining for their construction the title of the 'Rum Hospital'. Originally consisting of three buildings, the central main building was demolished in 1879 to make way for the new Sydney Hospital, which was completed in 1885. The first building, now known as the Sydney Mint, was given to the Royal Mint in 1851 to become the Australian branch of its operations; it remained a mint until 1927. [7]

The second building, originally built as the Chief Surgeon's quarters, was given to the government in 1829 for the purposes of a Parliament chamber and is now known as Parliament House. This chamber was added to following the growth of the legislature in 1843, and again in 1856. The last major renovation to the building was from 1974 to 1985, which demolished the jumble of buildings that had become the parliamentary chambers and replaced them with a 12-story block linked by a fountain court to the original Parliament House restored to its 1908 appearance. [7]

Composition and powers

First meeting of the NSW Legislative Council in Parliament House, 1843 (chamber now the Legislative Assembly). NSWLC 1843.jpg
First meeting of the NSW Legislative Council in Parliament House, 1843 (chamber now the Legislative Assembly).

The legislative authority, the Crown-in-Parliament, has three separate elements: the Queen, represented by the Governor; the Legislative Assembly; and the Legislative Council. No individual may simultaneously be a member of both Houses.

All 93 members of the Legislative Assembly are elected at each general election from single-member districts using optional preferential voting to terms of up to four years. The 42 Legislative Council members are elected for two terms (a maximum of eight years), with half elected at each general election. Elections for the Legislative Council are conducted on a statewide, at-large basis (meaning all members represent the entire state) using the single transferable vote system similar to that used for elections to the federal Senate.

In the running of Parliament, the two presiding officers have a role that is similar to Ministers and their departments. The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the President of the Legislative Council are responsible for the employing of staff. In consultation with the parliamentary clerks, the presiding officers determine policy for the operation of their respective chambers and jointly for the Parliament.

Royal Assent of the Queen is required for all bills to become law. The Crown also has executive powers which do not depend on Parliament, through prerogative powers, which include among others the ability to dissolve Parliament, make treaties, award honours, appoint officers and civil servants, and appoint and dismiss the Premier. In practice these are always exercised by the Governor on the advice of the Premier of New South Wales and the other ministers of HM Government. The Premier and Government are directly accountable to Parliament through its control of public finances and the need for its confidence, and to the public through Members of Parliament.

The Governor chooses the Premier, usually depending on the results of the general election, who then forms a government from members of the houses of Parliament. This must be someone who can command the confidence of a majority in the Legislative Assembly. This is usually a straightforward decision, though occasionally the Governor has to make a judgment, as in August 1939 when the Governor, Lord Wakehurst, handled a major political crisis brought about when the former Deputy Leader of the governing United Australia Party, Eric Spooner brought down Premier Bertram Stevens in a motion of no confidence. Wakehurst asked the Treasurer, Alexander Mair, to form a government. [8]

The current Premier of New South Wales is Gladys Berejiklian of the Liberal Party.

Government ministers (including the Premier) must regularly answer questions in the chambers and there are a number of select committees that scrutinise particular issues and the workings of the Government. There are also mechanisms that allow Members of Parliament to bring to the attention of the Government particular issues affecting their constituents.

For a bill to become law, it must be passed by both the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly and be assented to by the Governor. Under Section 5A of the New South Wales Constitution Act (1902), a bill appropriating revenue for the ordinary annual services of the Government can be presented to the Governor for assent even if the upper house has not agreed to it.

State Opening and traditions

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opening the NSW Parliament on 4 February 1954. Queen opening.png
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opening the NSW Parliament on 4 February 1954.

The State Opening of Parliament is an annual event that marks the commencement of a session of the Parliament of the New South Wales. It is held in the Legislative Council Chamber, usually in November or December, or in a general election year, when the new Parliament first assembles. It is an occasion for much pomp and ceremony, usually with a guard of honour and with dignitaries of the state attending. The New South Wales Parliament maintains many of the traditions of the original Parliament of the United Kingdom, from which the New South Wales Parliament was founded. [2]

The Governor, or occasionally the monarch, reads a prepared speech, known as the Speech from the Throne, outlining the Government's agenda for the coming year. The speech is not written by the Governor, but rather by the Cabinet, and reflects the legislative agenda for which they seek the agreement of both Houses of Parliament.

Queen Elizabeth II has opened the New South Wales Parliament on two occasions, on 4 February 1954, as part of her first visit to Australia, which was also the first occasion in which the monarch of Australia had opened a session of any Australian Parliament. The other occasion was on 20 February 1992, during her visit to Sydney to celebrate the sesquicentenary of the incorporation of the City of Sydney, on which occasion she stated:

Emblem

The official emblem of the Parliament is a crowned circlet featuring the Coat of Arms of New South Wales taking the form of a Scottish crest badge. Crest badges, much like clan tartans, do not have a long history, and owe much to Victorian era romanticism, having only been worn on the bonnet since the mid-19th century when the buckled strap device commonly used by the Order of the Garter was adopted as a popular design to encircle monogram escutcheons and heraldic crests. [10]

The crest badge came to be accepted in the mid-20th century as the emblem of both houses of Parliament. The emblem appears on official stationery, publications and papers, and is stamped on various items in use in the Parliament, such as cutlery, silverware and china.

See also

Notes

  1. Current independent MLAs: Alex Greenwich (Sydney), Joe McGirr (Wagga Wagga) and Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie).
  2. The current independent MLC is Justin Field.

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Reginald Weaver Australian politician

Reginald Walter Darcy Weaver was an Australian conservative parliamentarian who served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for 28 years. Serving from 1917 in the backbenches, he entered the cabinet of Thomas Bavin in 1929 as Secretary for Mines and Minister for Forests until he returned to opposition in 1930. Following the success of the United Australia Party in the 1932 election, Weaver returned as the Secretary for Public Works and Minister for Health in the Stevens ministry.

The Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly is the presiding officer of the Legislative Assembly, New South Wales's lower chamber of Parliament. The current Speaker is Jonathan O'Dea, who was elected on 7 May 2019. Traditionally a partisan office, filled by the governing party of the time, O’Dea replaced the previous Liberal Speaker Shelley Hancock, following the 2019 state election.

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New South Wales politics takes place in context of bicameral parliamentary system. The main parties are the Liberal and National parties of the governing Coalition and the Australian Labor Party. Other minor political parties include the Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the Christian Democratic Party, the One Nation, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Keep Sydney Open..

A referendum concerning the abolition of the New South Wales Legislative Council was put to New South Wales voters on 29 April 1961. The abolition was specifically rejected by voters. The text of the question was:

An Act to Abolish the Legislative Council to provide that another Legislative Council shall not be created, constituted or established nor shall any Chamber, Assembly or House, other than the Legislative Assembly, designed to form part of the Legislative Parliament of New south Wales, be created, constituted or established until a bill for the purpose has been approved by the electors in a referendum to amend the Constitution Act, 1902 and certain other Acts; and for purposes connected therewith.

Pledge of Loyalty Act 2006

The Constitution Amendment (Pledge of Loyalty) Act 2006 No 6, was an Act to amend the Constitution Act 1902 to require Members of the New South Wales Parliament and its Ministers to take a pledge of loyalty to Australia and to the people of New South Wales instead of swearing allegiance to the Queen her heirs and successors, and to revise the oaths taken by Executive Councillors. The Act was assented to by the Queen on 3 April 2006.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "About Parliament". NSW Parliament. Retrieved 28 May 2016.[ not in citation given ]
  2. 1 2 3 "Role and History of the Legislative Council". NSW Legislative Council. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Role and History of the Legislative Assembly". NSW Legislative Assembly. Retrieved 20 July 2010.[ not in citation given ]
  4. "Constitution Act 1902 (NSW)". NSW Government. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  5. "Women's Franchise Act 1902 (NSW)" (PDF). NSW Government. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  6. 1 2 "Women in Parliament". About Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 28 May 2016.[ not in citation given ]
  7. 1 2 Geoff Stuart, Secrets in Stone - Discover the History of Sydney (Brandname Properties Pty Ltd, 1993) pp 91-93, ISBN   0-646-13994-0
  8. Clune, David; Turner, Ken (2009). The Governors of New South Wales: 1788-2010. Sydney: Federation Press. 513–521.
  9. "The Queen's Speech". NSW Parliament – Hansard. Retrieved 28 May 2016.[ not in citation given ]
  10. Campbell of Airds, Alastair (2002). A History of Clan Campbell: Volume 2: From Flodden to the Restoration. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 289–290. ISBN   1-902930-18-5.

Coordinates: 33°52′03″S151°12′46″E / 33.86739°S 151.21269°E / -33.86739; 151.21269