Parliaments of the Australian states and territories

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

Contents

All the parliaments are based on the Westminster system, and each is regulated by its own constitution. Queensland and the two territories have unicameral parliaments, with the single house being called Legislative Assembly. The other states have a bicameral parliament, with a lower house called the Legislative Assembly (New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia) or House of Assembly (South Australia and Tasmania), and an upper house called the Legislative Council.

Unlike the Parliament of Australia Section 44 of the Constitution of Australia which prevents persons with dual citizenship to be in Parliament, In state Parliaments they have no laws preventing dual citizenship. [1] [2]

Background

Before the formation of the Commonwealth in 1901, the six Australian colonies were self-governing colonies, with parliaments which had come into existence at various times between 1825, when the New South Wales Legislative Council was created, to 1891, when Western Australia became the last of the colonies to gain full self-government.

The colonies ratified the Constitution of Australia, becoming States of the Commonwealth in the new federation, and ceding certain of their legislative powers to the Commonwealth Parliament, but otherwise retaining their self-governing status with their own constitutions and parliaments. The state parliaments were all created by legislation of the British Imperial Parliament, and their original constitutions were contained in Acts of that Parliament; however now the power to amend state constitutions resides with the respective state parliaments, in accordance with its constitution. The Commonwealth Parliament cannot amend a state's constitution.

The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, by contrast, are territories of the Commonwealth, and their parliaments were created by way of legislation of the Commonwealth Parliament. Although the Commonwealth treats the territories as though they were states for many purposes, they are not states, and the legislative powers of their parliaments can be altered or even abolished by the Commonwealth Parliament. The Commonwealth can also overturn legislation passed by the territory parliaments.

Overview

State/
Territory
Lower HouseUpper HouseTotal
no. of
reps
EstablishedNameNo. of
reps
Electoral SystemEstablishedNameNo. of
reps
Electoral SystemStaggered
States NSW 1856 Legislative Assembly 93Single Member

Instant Runoff (IR)

1825 Legislative Council 42Single Transferable Vote (STV) at-largeYes135
VIC 1855 Legislative Assembly 88Single Member IR1851 Legislative Council 40STV in eight constituenciesNo128
QLD 1859 Legislative Assembly 93Single Member IRUnicameral (Legislative Council existed 1860–1922)93
WA 1890 Legislative Assembly 59Single Member IR1832 Legislative Council 36STV in six constituenciesNo95
SA 1857 House of Assembly 47Single Member IR1840 Legislative Council 22STV at-largeYes69
TAS 1856 House of Assembly 25STV in five constituencies1825 Legislative Council 15Single Member IRYes40
Self-governing
Territories
ACT 1989 Legislative Assembly 25STV in five constituenciesUnicameral25
NT 1974 Legislative Assembly 25Single member IR25
External
Territories
CX 1993Shire Council9STV at-large9
CC 1993Shire Council7STV at-large7
NI 2016Regional Council5STV at-large5
Nation Aus 1901 House of Representatives 151Single Member IR1901 Senate 76STV in six states and two territoriesYes227
Legislative buildings of States, Territories and Nation
Flag of New South Wales.svg  New South Wales Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg  Victoria Flag of Queensland.svg  Queensland
Parliament house sydney nsw..jpg
Parliament House, Sydney
Parliament House Melbourne 2010.jpg
Parliament House, Melbourne
Parliament House, Brisbane, Queensland with Christmas tree in 2019, 05.jpg
Parliament House, Brisbane
Flag of Western Australia.svg  Western Australia Flag of South Australia.svg  South Australia Flag of Tasmania.svg  Tasmania
Parliament House, Perth, February 2022 01.jpg
Parliament House, Perth
Parliament House, South Australia.jpg
Parliament House, Adelaide
Parliament House Hobart Panorama.jpg
Parliament House, Hobart
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg  Australian Capital Territory Flag of the Northern Territory.svg  Northern Territory Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
ACT Legislative Assembly building November 2021.jpg
Legislative Assembly Building, Canberra
Darwin (AU), Parliament House -- 2019 -- 4336-8.jpg
Parliament House, Darwin
Parliament House at dusk, Canberra ACT.jpg
Parliament House, Canberra

States and territories

New South Wales

The Parliament of New South Wales is a bicameral legislature comprising the New South Wales Legislative Council, the Legislative Assembly and the King, represented by the Governor of New South Wales. The Legislative Council has 42 members elected for eight-year terms with half the members facing re-election every four years. The Legislative Council cannot block appropriation bills. [3] They are elected by proportional voting with the whole state being one electorate. The Legislative Assembly has 93 members elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies, using optional preferential voting.

Victoria

The Parliament of Victoria is a bicameral legislature comprising the Victorian Legislative Council, the Legislative Assembly and the King, represented by the Governor of Victoria. The Legislative Council has 40 members, elected for four-year terms, elected from eight multi-member constituencies, each with five members, using proportional voting. The Legislative Assembly has 88 members elected for fixed four-year terms from single-member constituencies, using preferential voting. Voting is compulsory, and elections take place on the third Saturday of November every four years.

Queensland

The Parliament of Queensland is a unicameral legislature comprising the Legislative Assembly and the King, represented by the Governor of Queensland. The Legislative Assembly has 93 members elected for fixed four-year terms in single-member constituencies using preferential voting. [4] Voting is compulsory, and elections take place on the last Saturday of October every four years.

South Australia

The Parliament of South Australia is a bicameral legislature comprising the South Australian Legislative Council and the House of Assembly. According to the South Australian Constitution, unlike the Federal Parliament, and the parliaments of the other states and territories of Australia, neither the Sovereign nor the Governor is considered to be a part of the South Australian Parliament. [5] The Legislative Council has 22 members, elected for eight-year terms by proportional voting with half the members facing re-election every four years, and the House of Assembly which has 47 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies, using preferential voting. Voting is compulsory.

Western Australia

The Parliament of Western Australia is a bicameral legislature comprising the Western Australian Legislative Council, the Legislative Assembly and the King, represented by the Governor of Western Australia. The Legislative Council has 36 members, elected for fixed four-year terms from six multi-member electoral regions by "community of interest" —3 metropolitan and 3 rural—each electing 6 members by proportional voting. [6] [7] There is a significant malapportionment in the Legislative Council in favour of rural regions. The Legislative Assembly has 59 members, elected for fixed four-year terms from single-member constituencies, using preferential voting. Voting is compulsory, with elections being held every four years on the second Saturday in March, [8] [9] though the term of the Legislative Council does not expire until May after the election.

Tasmania

The Parliament of Tasmania is a bicameral legislature comprising the Tasmanian Legislative Council, the House of Assembly and the Governor of Tasmania. [10] The Legislative Council has 15 members, elected for six-year terms, elected from single-member constituencies on a rotational basis with either two or three being elected each year, using full preferential voting. The House of Assembly has 25 members elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies, using the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation. Voting is compulsory.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly has 25 members, elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies, using the Hare-Clark system of proportional voting.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Legislative Assembly is a unicameral legislature. The Legislative Assembly has 25 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies, using preferential voting. The head of government is called the Chief Minister, while the Administrator of the Northern Territory (appointed by the federal government) forms a similar role to state governors in providing assent to legislation.

Norfolk Island

In the external territory of Norfolk Island located in the South Pacific Ocean, the local legislative body is the Norfolk Island Regional Council, established in 2016. The island was previously governed by a Norfolk Legislative Assembly. Formed after the Norfolk Island Act 1979 was passed in the Australian parliament, its first members were elected on the tenth of August 1979. [11] The assembly consisted of 9 members elected every three years by popular vote. It was abolished in June 2015 as part of a reorganisation of the territory's government by the Parliament of Australia.

Christmas Island

In the external territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, the Shire Council provides local governance. The nine-member Shire Council was established in 1993. Councilors serve four-year terms, with four or five being chosen every second year. [12]

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

In the external territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Shire of Cocos is the local legislative body. Established in 1993, the Shire Council consists of 7 members serving terms of four years. Elections for half the seats are held every two years.

Current compositions

Party NSW Vic Qld SA WA Tas ACT NT Total
LC LA LC LA LA LC HoA LC LA LC HoA LA LA
Labor 14371655529272253591015324
Liberal 11321021816724139133
National [lower-alpha 1] 613 1 6002432
LNP [lower-alpha 2] 3434
CLP [lower-alpha 3] 77
Greens 33 1 3220 1 026023
SFF 22 1 0000005
ONP 20 1 10004
AJP 20 1 0000000003
KAP 33
LDP 0020000002
LCP 00202
DHJP 202
SA-Best 202
Independents 1 633 1 04 1 06 1 0329
Other minor 1 030000 1 00005
Total42934088932247365915252525610
Note: Bolded numbers indicate the parties that are in government. Cells in grey indicate a party that did not contest in the most recent election for that legislature.
  1. The National Party has a long-standing Coalition agreement with the Liberal Party, with the exception of the Western Australian division.
  2. The Liberal Party and the National Party in Queensland merged to form the LNP in 2008.
  3. The CLP contests elections on behalf of the Liberal-National Coalition in the Northern Territory.

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Victorian Legislative Assembly</span> Lower house of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">New South Wales Legislative Council</span> Upper house of the Parliament of New South Wales

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Victorian Legislative Council</span> Upper house of Parliament of Victoria, Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Australian Legislative Council</span> Upper house of the parliament in South Australia, Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament of Victoria</span> Bicameral legislature of the Australian state of Victoria

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parliament of Western Australia</span> Legislative body of the Australian state of Western Australia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western Australian Legislative Council</span> Upper house of the legislature of Western Australia

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References

  1. "Think the dual citizenship saga does not affect state parliamentarians? It might be time to think again".
  2. "State politicians not safe as dual citizenship crisis rolls on".
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  5. Constitution Act 1934 , retrieved 6 June 2022
  6. Election of the Legislative Council Archived 18 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine on website of Parliament of Western Australia
  7. Electoral Amendment and Repeal Act 2005 (No.1 of 2005)
  8. "New laws fix state election dates". ABC News . Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  9. Green, Antony (8 February 2011). "Future election dates". Blogs.abc.net.au. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  10. Constitution Act 1934 (Tas) s.10
  11. "Assembly". Norfolk.gov.nf. Archived from the original on 13 November 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  12. "Welcome to the Shire of Christmas Island Archived 27 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine ." Shire of Christmas Island. Retrieved on 23 February 2009.