Parliaments of the Australian states and territories

From Academic Kids

The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia. Before the formation of the Commonwealth in 1901, the six Australian colonies were self-governing, with parliaments which had come into existence by stages from 1825, when the New South Wales Legislative Council was created, to 1891, Western Australia became the last of the colonies to gain full self-government.

By ratifying the Constitution of Australia, the colonies agreed to become States of the Commonwealth, and to cede certain of their legislative powers to the Commonwealth Parliament, but otherwise retained their self-governing status with their own parliaments. The legislative powers of the state parliaments cannot be altered except by altering the Constitution, which can only be done by the Australian people voting in a referendum.

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.

All of the States except Queensland have bicameral parliaments, with a lower and upper house. The two Territories' parliaments are unicameral.

Contents

The Parliament of New South Wales

The New South Wales Legislative Council is the oldest legislative body in Australia, having been created in 1825 as an appointed body to advise the Governor. Today it has 42 members serving eight-year terms and elected by proportional representation. The Legislative Assembly was created in 1856 when New South Wales attained self-government. Today it has 93 members elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.

The Parliament of Queensland

Queensland's Legislative Assembly was created in 1859 when the then colony attained self-government. The Legislative Council was abolished in 1922. Today it has 89 members elected for three-year terms from single-member constituencies.

The Parliament of South Australia

South Australia's Legislative Council was created in 1840 as an appointive body. Today it has 22 members, elected for eight-year terms by proportional representation. The House of Assembly was created in 1857 when South Australia attained self-government. Today it has 47 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.

The Parliament of Tasmania

Tasmania's Legislative Council was created in 1825 as an appointed body. (Tasmania was then called Van Diemen's Land.) Today it has 15 members, elected for six-year terms from single-member constituencies. The House of Assembly was created in 1856 when Tasmania attained self-government. Today has 25 members, elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies by the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation.

The Parliament of Victoria

Victoria's Legislative Council was created in 1851. Today it has 44 members serving eight year terms and elected from single-member constituencies. The Legislative Assembly was created in 1855 when Victoria attained self-government. Today it has 88 members elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.

The Parliament of Western Australia

Western Australia's Legislative Council was created in 1832 as an appointive body. Today it has 34 members elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies by proportional representation. The Legislative Assembly was created in 1891 when Western Australia attained self-government. Today it has 57 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.

The Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory's Legislative Assembly was created by an act of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1989. It has 17 members, elected for four-year terms from multi-member constituencies by the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation.

The Parliament of the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory's Legislative Assembly was created by an act of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1974. An earlier advisory body, the Northern Territory Legislative Council, existed from 1947 to 1974. The Assembly has 25 members, elected for four-year terms from single-member constituencies.

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