Parliament of South Australia
|Houses|| Legislative Council |
House of Assembly
|Founded||22 April 1857|
since 6 February 1952
Hieu Van Le
since 1 September 2014
House of Assembly political groups
| Government (23)|
Legislative Council political groups
| Government (8)|
Advance SA (1)
|Single Transferable Vote|
First general election
| 21 February 1851 as unicameral Legislative Council|
09 March 1857 as bicameral Parliament
Last general election
|17 March 2018|
Next general election
|19 March 2022|
|Redistricting||Redistributions are carried out after each election by the South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission.|
| Parliament House,|
Adelaide, South Australia,
|Constitution of South Australia|
The Parliament of South Australia at Parliament House, Adelaide is the bicameral legislature of the Australian state of South Australia. It consists of the 47-seat House of Assembly (lower house) and the 22-seat Legislative Council (upper house). All of the lower house and half of the upper house is filled at each election. It follows a Westminster system of parliamentary government with the executive branch required to both sit in Parliament and hold the confidence of the House of Assembly.
The Queen is represented in the State by the Governor of South Australia. According to the South Australian Constitution, unlike the Federal Parliament, and the parliaments of the other states of Australia, neither the Sovereign or the Governor is considered to be a part of the South Australian Parliament. However, the same role and powers are granted to them.
The Legislative Council was the first Parliament in South Australia, formed as a result of the South Australia Act 1842 , and replaced the South Australian Colonisation Commission appointed in 1834 by means of the South Australia Act 1834 . The 1842 Act gave the British Government, which was responsible for appointing a Governor and at least seven other officers to the council, full control of South Australia as a Crown Colony, after financial mismanagement by the first administration had nearly bankrupted the colony.The Act also made provision for a commission to initiate the establishment of democratic government, electoral districts, requirements for voting rights, and terms of office.
The Australian Colonies Government Act 1850 was a landmark development which granted representative constitutions to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and the colonies enthusiastically set about writing constitutions which produced democratically progressive parliaments with the British monarch as the symbolic head of state.In 1851 elections for the Legislative Council were held.
In 1855, limited self-government was granted by London to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. This was expressed in South Australia by the Constitution Act 1856 (headed "1855–6: No. 2" and followed by the long title "An Act to establish a Constitution for South Australia, and to grant a Civil List to Her Majesty") establishing the constitution of the Parliament of the Province of South Australia. It was the first Constitution in the Australian colonies to provide "manhood" suffrage.
This Act provided for a bicameral Parliament with full authority to enact laws, apart from a few Acts requiring the monarch's personal Royal Assent. The Legislative Council was elected by property owners only, while the 36-member House of Assembly was elected by a full male franchise.The Act also provided for a system of responsible government, where the members of the executive branch must sit in Parliament and, by convention, can only remain in office while they hold the confidence of a majority of the members of the House of Assembly.
The adoption of the "one man, one vote" principle removed the ability of voters to vote in any electorate in which they owned property. The Act also defined the rules of tenure for the parliamentarians.
Women gained the right to vote and stand for election in 1895, taking effect at the 1896 election.
South Australia became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, following a vote to federate with the other British colonies of Australia.
From 1857 to 1933, the House of Assembly was elected from multi-member districts, commonly known as "seats," with each district returning between one and six members. The size of the Assembly varied during this time—36 members from 1857 to 1875, 46 members from 1875 to 1884, 52 members from 1884 to 1890, 54 members from 1890 to 1902, 42 members from 1902 to 1912, 40 members from 1912 to 1915, and 46 members from 1915 to 1938. In 1938, the Assembly was reduced to 39 members, elected from single-member districts.
The House of Assembly has had 47 members since the 1970 election, elected from single-member districts: currently 34 in the Adelaide metropolitan area and 13 in rural areas. These seats are intended to represent approximately the same population in each electorate.
Another distinctive aspect of the history of the South Australian Parliament was the "Playmander", a gerrymandering system that instituted a pro-rural electoral malapportionment introduced by the incumbent Liberal and Country League (LCL) government, and in place for 32 years from 1936 to 1968.It consisted of 26 low-population rural seats holding up to a 10-to-1 advantage over the 13 high-population metropolitan seats in the state parliament, even though rural seats contained only a third of South Australia's population. At the peak of the malapportionment in 1968, the rural seat of Frome had 4,500 formal votes, while the metropolitan seat of Enfield had 42,000 formal votes.
Labor managed to win enough parliamentary seats to form government just once during the Playmander against the odds − in 1965. Labor won comprehensive majorities of the statewide two-party vote whilst failing to form government in 1944, 1953, 1962 and 1968.
More equitable boundaries were subsequently put in place following the 1968, 1975, and 1989 elections.
The Legislative Council's numbers have also varied over time. From inception to 1882, it had 18 members elected by a single colony-wide district. From then until 1902 it had 24 members; until 1915, 18 members; and until 1975, 20 members. The electoral districts were drawn to favour regional areas with a 2:1 bias in place, with half of the council being elected each time. From 1975, the council was increased to 22 members, with half (11) to be elected at each election by the entire state.
Although the lower house had universal suffrage from 1895, the upper house, the Legislative Council, remained the exclusive domain of property owners until the Labor government of Don Dunstan managed to achieve reform of the chamber in 1973. Property qualifications were removed and the Council became a body elected via proportional representation by a single state-wide electorate.Since the following 1975 South Australian state election, no one party has had control of the state's upper house with the balance of power controlled by a variety of minor parties and independents.
Elections were held every 3 years until 1985, when the parliament switched to 4 year terms, meaning 8 year terms for the upper house. Beginning in 2006, election dates have been fixed at the third Saturday in March of every fourth year.
The House of Assembly (or "lower house") is made up of 47 members who are each elected by the full-preference instant-runoff voting system in single-member electorates. Each of the 47 electoral districts (electorates) contains approximately the same number of voters. Casual vacancies, when a member retires or dies in office mid-term, are filled by a by-election in that member's district.
Since 1975, the distribution of electoral boundaries has been set by the South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, an independent body.Since a referendum in 1991, boundaries have been redistributed after each election. Previously they were redistributed after every third election.
Government is formed in the House of Assembly by the leader of the party or coalition who can demonstrate they have the support of the majority of the House, and is called upon by the Governor to form government. The leader of the government becomes the Premier.
While South Australia's total population is 1.7 million, Adelaide's population is 1.3 million − uniquely, over 75 percent of the state's population resides in the metropolitan area and has 72 percent of seats (34 of 47) alongside a lack of comparatively-sized rural population centres, therefore the metropolitan area tends to decide election outcomes. At the 2014 election for example, although the statewide two-party vote (2PP) was 47.0% Labor v 53.0% Liberal, the metropolitan area recorded a 2PP of 51.5% Labor v 48.5% Liberal.
The term for the House of Assembly is a fixed 4-year term but the state Constitution does allow the Governor to dissolve the House early and call for a fresh general election under certain circumstances. These are: If the House passes a motion of no confidence in the government, the House defeats a motion of confidence in the government, or if a bill that has been designated by the House as a "bill of special importance" is passed by the House of Assembly but is rejected by the Legislative Council.The House of Assembly can also be dissolved early together with the full Legislative Council in what is knows as a double dissolution in order to resolve deadlocks between the two Houses. The circumstances for such a double dissolution are outlined below.
The Legislative Council (or "upper house") is made up of 22 councillors (MLCs) who are elected for the entire state by the Proportional Representation single transferable voting system (with optional preferential voting) to serve for a term that is usually 8 years. Elections for the Legislative Council are staggered so that 11 seats are up for re-election every 4 years, at the same time as House of Assembly elections. Legislative Councillors may serve shorter or longer terms than the usual 8 years in the event of an early dissolution of the House of Assembly. If half the chamber has served at least 6 years at the time of a dissolution, then they go up for election, but if all Legislative Councillors have served less than 6 years, only the House of Assembly faces the people.
In the event of a casual vacancy, members of the Legislative Council are filled by an assembly of the members of both Houses of Parliament. If the member whose seat has become vacant was elected as a member of a political party, the assembly must, if possible, replace them with a nominated member of that party.
The Legislative Council has almost equal powers to the House of Assembly. The only difference is that the upper house does not have the ability to initiate or amend bills that appropriate money or levy taxes. The Council may still request amendments to these bills and retains the right to reject money bills that it disagrees with.
The primary function of the Legislative Council is to review legislation which has been passed by the House of Assembly. This can cause tensions between the government and the Legislative Council, which may be viewed by the former as obstructionist if it rejects key legislation, as can happen at times when the electoral makeup of the two Houses are different. Another important function of the upper house is to scrutinise government activity, which it does both in the chamber and through committees. As Legislative Councillors have been elected using proportional representation since the mid 1970s, the chamber features a multitude of parties vying for power. A government or opposition majority in the upper house has been unachievable since the introduction of this system, with the balance of power being held by a number of minor parties and independents.
In the event that there is a conflict between the two Houses over legislation, the South Australian Constitution lays out a mechanism for how these deadlocks can be resolved.
Under section 41 of the South Australian Constitution, if a bill is passed by the House of Assembly during a session of Parliament and in the following Parliament after a general election for the lower house is rejected by the Legislative Council on both occasions, it is permitted for the Governor of South Australia to either issue a writ for the election of 2 additional members of the Legislative Council or to dissolve both Houses at the same time to elect an entirely new Parliament.This procedure is known as a double dissolution. As the upper house consists of 22 members, with 11 elected statewide at each general election for an 8-year term at a quota of 8.33%, this would result in an election for all 22 members at a quota of 4.35%. In the event of a double dissolution election, the 11 Legislative Councillors that would not have won their seats under an ordinary election go up for re-election at the first general election after only serving 3 years, rather than the usual 6 years.
Although it has been threatened, this South Australian double dissolution procedure has never been used.
Although the practice has mostly fallen out of favour in other Parliaments that use a bicameral Westminster system, the South Australian Parliament still regularly appoints a "Conference of Managers" from each House to negotiate compromises on disputed bills in private. The Conference Managers then prepare a report of recommendations that is submitted to both Houses.
The seat of the Parliament of South Australia is Parliament House in the state capital of Adelaide. Parliament House sits on the North-Western corner of the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace.It was built to replace the adjacent and overcrowded Parliament House, now referred to as "Old Parliament House." Due to financial constraints, the current Parliament House was constructed in stages over 65 years from 1874 to 1939.
Following the completion of the New Parliament House in 1939, The Old Parliament House has been used for a variety of functions including as a Royal Australian Air Force recruiting office, offices for government departments and as a "Constitutional Museum." In 1995, the building reverted to use by the parliament and has been used as offices and committee rooms ever since.
Electoral systems for the legislatures of the individual Australian states and territories are broadly similar to the electoral system used in federal elections in Australia.
The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia.
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.
The Victorian Legislative Council (VLC) is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Victoria, Australia, the lower house being the Legislative Assembly. Both houses sit at Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne. The Legislative Council serves as a house of review, in a similar fashion to its federal counterpart, the Australian Senate. Although it is possible for legislation to be first introduced in the Council, most bills receive their first hearing in the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislative Council, or upper house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of South Australia. Its central purpose is to act as a house of review for legislation passed through the lower house, the House of Assembly. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Adelaide.
The House of Assembly, or lower house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of South Australia. The other is the Legislative Council. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Adelaide.
The Liberal Movement (LM) was a South Australian political party which existed from 1973 to 1976, and was a forerunner to the Australian Democrats.
The Western Australian Legislative Council is the upper house of the Parliament of Western Australia, a state of Australia. It is regarded as a house of review for legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly, the lower house. The two Houses of Parliament sit in Parliament House in the state capital, Perth.
The state election for the 51st Parliament of South Australia was held in the Australian state of South Australia on 18 March 2006, and was conducted by the independent State Electoral Office.
Joyce Steele was an Australian politician and one of the first two women elected to the Parliament of South Australia, the other being Jessie Cooper. Steele was elected to the House of Assembly and Cooper was elected to the Legislative Council at the 1959 election. Ironically, while South Australian women had been given the right to vote and stand for election—a right they had gained at the 1896 election—South Australia had been the last state to elect a female representative.
State elections were held in South Australia on 17 September 1977. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Australian Labor Party led by Premier of South Australia Don Dunstan won a fourth term in government, defeating the Liberal Party of Australia led by Leader of the Opposition David Tonkin.
State elections were held in South Australia on 30 May 1970. All 47 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Steele Hall was defeated by the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Don Dunstan.
The 1968South AustralianState election was held in South Australia on 2 March 1968. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election; 38 of the 39 contests were won by candidates from Australia's two major political parties. The incumbent Australian Labor Party and the Liberal and Country League both won 19 seats. The sole independent candidate to win a race, Tom Stott of the Ridley electorate, joined with the LCL's 19 seats to form a coalition government that held a 20 to 19 majority, thus defeating the Dunstan Labor government.
State elections were held in South Australia on 6 March 1965. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV, in power since 1938, was defeated by the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Frank Walsh.
The 2010 South Australian state election elected members to the 52nd Parliament of South Australia on 20 March 2010. All seats in the House of Assembly or lower house, whose current members were elected at the 2006 election, and half the seats in the Legislative Council or upper house, last filled at the 2002 election, became vacant.
State elections were held in South Australia on 3 March 1962. All 39 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal and Country League led by Premier of South Australia Thomas Playford IV defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Frank Walsh.
State elections were held in South Australia on 3 May 1902 following the dissolution of both houses. All 42 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election, and all 18 seats in the Legislative Council. The House had a reduction of 12 seats compared to the previous election. The Council was reduced from 6 members in each of four districts to 6 members from Central District and four from each of North-Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts. The incumbent liberal government led by Premier of South Australia John Jenkins in an informal coalition with the conservatives defeated the United Labor Party (ULP) led by Thomas Price. Each of the 13 districts elected multiple members, with voters casting multiple votes.
The 2014 South Australian state election elected members to the 53rd Parliament of South Australia on 15 March 2014, to fill all 47 seats in the House of Assembly and 11 of 22 seats in the Legislative Council. The 12-year-incumbent Australian Labor Party (SA) government, led by Premier Jay Weatherill, won its fourth consecutive four-year term in government, a record 16 years of Labor government, defeating the opposition Liberal Party of Australia (SA), led by Opposition Leader Steven Marshall.
The 2018 South Australian state election to elect members to the 54th Parliament of South Australia was held on 17 March 2018. All 47 seats in the House of Assembly or lower house, whose members were elected at the 2014 election, and 11 of 22 seats in the Legislative Council or upper house, last filled at the 2010 election, were contested. The record-16-year-incumbent Australian Labor Party (SA) government led by Premier Jay Weatherill was seeking a fifth four-year term, but was defeated by the opposition Liberal Party of Australia (SA), led by Opposition Leader Steven Marshall. Nick Xenophon's new SA Best party unsuccessfully sought to obtain the balance of power.
The 2022 South Australian state election will elect members to the 55th Parliament of South Australia on 19 March 2022. All seats in the House of Assembly or lower house, whose current members were elected at the 2018 election, and half the seats in the Legislative Council or upper house, last filled at the 2014 election, will become vacant.
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