Parliament of Tasmania

Last updated
Parliament of Tasmania
50th Parliament
Coat of arms of Tasmania.svg
Parliament of Tasmania emblem.jpg
Houses Legislative Council
House of Assembly
Founded2 December 1856;165 years ago (2 December 1856)
Charles III
since 9 September 2022
Barbara Baker
since 16 June 2021
Craig Farrell, Labor
since 21 May 2019
Mark Shelton, Liberal
since 22 June 2021
Jeremy Rockliff, Liberal
since 8 April 2022
Rebecca White, Labor
since 7 July 2021
25 MHAs
15 MLCs
2022.04.08 Tasmanian House of Assembly - Composition of Members.svg
House of Assembly political groups
  Liberal (13)
  Labor (9)
  Greens (2)
  Independent (1)
2022.04.08 Tasmanian Legislative Council - Composition of Members.svg
Legislative Council political groups
  Liberal (4)
  Labor (4)
  Independent (6) [lower-alpha 1]
  Vacant (1) [lower-alpha 2]
Partial Preferential
Last general election
1 May 2021
Next general election
In or before 2025
Meeting place
Parliament House Hobart Panorama.jpg
Parliament House, Hobart,
Tasmania, Australia

The Parliament of Tasmania is the bicameral legislature of the Australian state of Tasmania. It follows a Westminster-derived parliamentary system and consists of the Governor of Tasmania, the Tasmanian House of Assembly (the lower house), and Tasmanian Legislative Council (the upper house). [2] Since 1841, both Houses have met in Parliament House, Hobart. The Parliament of Tasmania first met in 1856.


The powers of the Parliament are prescribed in the Constitution of Tasmania, as amended from time to time. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, Tasmania has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Constitution of Australia regulates its relationship with the Commonwealth. Under the Australian Constitution, Tasmania ceded certain legislative and judicial powers to the Commonwealth, but retained complete independence in all other areas. In practice, however, the independence of the Australian states has been greatly eroded by the increasing financial domination of the Commonwealth.[ citation needed ]

The leader of the party or coalition with the confidence of the House of Assembly is invited by the Governor to form the Government and become Premier of Tasmania.


The island of Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania) was claimed and subsequently settled by the United Kingdom in 1803. Initially, it was administered by the Governor of New South Wales, as part of that British Colony of New South Wales. In 1825, Van Diemen's Land became a separate British colony, administered separately from New South Wales, with a Legislative Council of six men appointed to advise the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land who had sole governance of the colony. The Council initially held meetings in a room adjacent to the old Government House that was located near to the present site of Franklin Square, but by 1841 they relocated meetings to the 'Long Room' (now the Members' Lounge) in the Customs House. [3]

In 1850, the British Parliament enacted the Australian Colonies Government Act , which gave Van Diemen's Land the right to elect its first representative government. The size of the Legislative Council was increased from six to 24. Eight members were appointed by the Governor, and 16 were elected by property owners. The new Legislative Council met for the first time in 1852, and by 1854 they had passed the Tasmanian Constitution Act , giving Van Diemen's Land responsible self-government and a new bicameral parliament. Queen Victoria granted Royal assent in 1855 and Van Diemen's Land became a self-governing colony. In the following year, 1856, one of the new parliament's first acts was to change the name of the colony from Van Diemen's Land to Tasmania.

Houses of Parliament

House of Assembly

The Tasmanian House of Assembly is the lower house of the Tasmanian Parliament. There are 25 members, with five members elected from each of the 5 divisions. The divisions are: Bass, Braddon, Denison, Franklin, and Lyons. The Tasmanian House of Assembly electoral divisions share the same names and boundaries as the Australian House of Representatives divisions for Tasmania.

Members are elected using the Hare-Clark voting system of multi-member proportional representation for a term of up to 4 years. [lower-alpha 3]

Current distribution of seats

The distribution of seats as a result of the 2021 state election is:

PartySeats heldPercentageSeat distribution
Liberal Party 1352%             
Labor Party 936%             
Tasmanian Greens 28%             
Independent 14%             

Legislative Council

The Tasmanian Legislative Council is the upper house of the Tasmanian Parliament. It has 15 members, each elected from a single-member electoral division. The boundaries of the divisions are reviewed by tribunal every 9 years. [5]

Elections are conducted annually on a 6-year periodic cycle; 3 divisions will be up for election in May one year, then 2 divisions in May the following year and so on. As such, each member will normally serve a term of 6 years.

Current distribution of seats

The current distribution of seats (updated post May 2021 elections) is: [6]

PartySeats heldPercentageSeat distribution
Labor Party 533.3%               
Liberal Party 426.7%               
Independents 640.0%               

See also


  1. Current independent MLCs: Rosemary Armitage (Launceston), Ruth Forrest (Murchison), Mike Gaffney (Mersey), Tania Rattray (McIntyre), Rob Valentine (Hobart), Meg Webb (Nelson). [1]
  2. Huon became vacant in January 2022 following the resignation of Bastian Seidel.
  3. Since 1976; prior to 1976, the maximum term of the Assembly was five years. [4]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tasmania</span> State of Australia

Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland, separated from it by the Bass Strait. The archipelago contains the southernmost point of the Australian federation. The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 1000 islands. It is Australia's least populated state, with 569,825 residents as of December 2021. The state capital and largest city is Hobart, with around 40 percent of the population living in the Greater Hobart area.

Electoral systems of the Australian states and territories are broadly similar to the electoral system used in federal elections in Australia.

The history of Tasmania begins at the end of the most recent ice age when it is believed that the island was joined to the Australian mainland. Little is known of the human history of the island until the British colonisation in the 19th century.

The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Tasmanian House of Assembly Lower house of the Parliament of Tasmania

The House of Assembly, or Lower House, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of Tasmania in Australia. The other is the Legislative Council or Upper House. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Hobart.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tasmanian Legislative Council</span> Upper house of the Parliament of Tasmania

The Tasmanian Legislative Council is the upper house of the Parliament of Tasmania in Australia. It is one of the two chambers of the Parliament, the other being the House of Assembly. Both houses sit in Parliament House in the state capital, Hobart. Members of the Legislative Council are often referred to as MLCs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tasmanian Government</span> State government of Tasmania, Australia

The Tasmanian Government is the democratic administrative authority of the state of Tasmania, Australia. The leader of the party or coalition with the confidence of the House of Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament of Tasmania, is invited by the governor of Tasmania to form government. The head of government is the premier of Tasmania.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Young</span> English colonial administrator (1803–1870)

Sir Henry Edward Fox Young, KCMG was the fifth Governor of South Australia, serving in that role from 2 August 1848 until 20 December 1854. He was then the first Governor of Tasmania, from 1855 until 1861.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Denison</span> British colonial administrator (1804–1871)

Sir William Thomas Denison was Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land from 1847 to 1855, Governor of New South Wales from 1855 to 1861, and Governor of Madras from 1861 to 1866.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adye Douglas</span> Australian politician

Sir Adye Douglas was an Australian lawyer and politician, and first class cricket player, who played one match for Tasmania. He was Premier of Tasmania from 15 August 1884 to 8 March 1886.

The Australian Constitutions Act 1850, or Australian Colonies Government Act, formally known as the Act for the Better Government of Her Majesty's Australian Colonies (1850), was legislation enacted by the British Parliament which formally established the Colony of Victoria by separating the District of Port Phillip from the Colony of New South Wales. It was signed by Queen Victoria on 5 August 1850 and came into effect on 1 July 1851. It also altered the constitution of the Colony of New South Wales, and provided for similar constitutions to be set up in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and South Australia.

Division of Franklin (state) Tasmanian state electoral division

The electoral division of Franklin is one of the five electorates in the Tasmanian House of Assembly, located in southern Tasmania and includes Bruny Island, Kingston and the eastern shore of the Derwent River. Franklin is named after Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer who was Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (1837–43). The division shares its name and boundaries with the federal division of Franklin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Champ</span> British Army officer and first Premier of Tasmania

William Thomas Napier Champ was a soldier and politician who served as the first Premier of Tasmania from 1856 to 1857. He was born in the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament House, Hobart</span> Building in Tasmania, Australia

Parliament House, Hobart, located on Salamanca Place in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, is the meeting place of the Parliament of Tasmania. The building was originally designed as a customs house but changed use in 1841 when Tasmania achieved self-government. The building served both purposes from 1841 to 1904, when the customs offices were relocated.

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The states and territories are federated administrative divisions in Australia, ruled by regional governments that constitute the second level of governance between the federal government and local governments. States are self-governing polities with incomplete sovereignty and have their own constitutions, legislatures, departments, and certain civil authorities that administer and deliver most public policies and programmes. Territories can be autonomous and administer local policies and programmes much like the states in practice, but are still constitutionally and financially subordinate to the federal government and thus have no true sovereignty.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery</span>

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is a museum located in Hobart, Tasmania. The museum was established in 1846, by the Royal Society of Tasmania, the oldest Royal Society outside England. The TMAG receives 400,000 visitors annually.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Colony of Tasmania</span> British colony (1856–1901)

The Colony of Tasmania was a British colony that existed on the island of Tasmania from 1856 until 1901, when it federated together with the five other Australian colonies to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The possibility of the colony was established when the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Australian Constitutions Act in 1850, granting the right of legislative power to each of the six Australian colonies. The Legislative Council of Van Diemen's Land drafted a new constitution which they passed in 1854, and it was given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria in 1855. Later in that year the Privy Council approved the colony changing its name from "Van Diemen's Land" to "Tasmania", and in 1856, the newly elected bicameral parliament of Tasmania sat for the first time, establishing Tasmania as a self-governing colony of the British Empire. Tasmania was often referred to as one of the "most British" colonies of the Empire.

Edward Curr Australian politician

Edward Curr was an Australian settler and politician. Curr was born in Sheffield, England. He travelled to Hobart Town, arriving in February 1820. In 1823 he returned to England. In 1824 he was appointed manager of the newly formed Van Diemen's Land Company which had arranged to buy 250,000 acres of land in the north-west of the colony.

The 1856 Tasmanian colonial elections took place from 8 to 22 September 1856 and 6 to 17 October 1856. The elections were the first to be held under the Electoral Act 1856, which established responsible government in Tasmania and created a bicameral parliament consisting of the 30-member Tasmanian House of Assembly and the 15-member Tasmanian Legislative Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Division of Clark (state)</span> State electoral division of Tasmania, Australia

The electoral division of Clark is one of the five electorates in the Tasmanian House of Assembly, it is located in Hobart on the western shore of the River Derwent and includes the suburbs below Mount Wellington. Clark is named after Andrew Inglis Clark, a Tasmanian jurist who was the principal author of the Australian Constitution. The electorate shares its name and boundaries with the federal division of Clark.


  1. "Members of the Tasmanian Legislative Council (as of 6 June 2019)" (PDF). Parliament of Tasmania. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. Constitution Act 1934 (Tas) s.10
  3. "Tasmanian Parliament". Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  4. Constitution Act 1972 (Tas) s.79
  5. "Tasmanian Legislative Council". Tasmanian Electoral Commission. 2006-09-08. Archived from the original on 2006-03-01.
  6. "Members of the Legislative Council" (PDF). Tasmanian Parliament. Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 22 June 2021.

Coordinates: 42°53′07″S147°19′49″E / 42.88528°S 147.33028°E / -42.88528; 147.33028