1.6 - Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in ...

1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making Key Concept Federal parliament has an important role to play in making law in Australia. It must play a dynamic role in responding to changing political, economic and social circumstances that often necessitate change to law. GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 1 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making Queens Representative (The Crown) Peter Cosgrove Upper House The senate Lower House House of representatives GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 2 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (The Crown)

The crown is represented by the Queen of Englands representative Federally it is the Governor General (Peter Cosgrove) State Level By the Governor (Alex Chernov) The GG is appointed by the Government of the day and approved by the Queen Traditionally it is the Queen or her representative who opens a session of Parliament with a speech to members of both houses. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Research_and_Education/ Work_of_the_Session GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 The crown is required to: 1. Sign Bills to give Royal Assent so they can become law

2. Appoints federal executive council 3. Establish departments of government 4. Appoint Ministers 5. Approve delegated legislation 6. To ensure that our democratic system of government operates effectively 7. Acts as head of state 8. Appoints judges to court 9. Dissolves the House of Representatives to bring about an election. 10. At

federal level only the GG has the authority to withhold Royal Assent to prevent a Bill from becoming law. 3 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (House of Representatives) The house of representatives acts as the peoples house and members of the house are elected to represent the views of the Australian People. Roles of the House of Representatives includes; Making laws by introducing bills, debating bills, amending bills and voting for bills The government of the day is formed by winning the majority of seats. Controls government expenditure - Bills to raise or spend revenue can only occur in this house. GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 4 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics

and role in law making (House of Representatives) It was envisaged that the lower house would represent the national interests rather than that of the states, which would be represented by the upper house. The lower house has been referred to as the peoples house for this reason GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 The Commonwealth Constitution provides that the numbers in the House of Representatives (as far as practicable) should be twice that of the upper house. Each state should have no fewer than 5 members. 5 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (House of Representatives)

Consists of 150 members 49 NSW 37 VIC 29 QLD 15 WA 11 SA 5 TAS 2 ACT & NT The speaker presides over the house and is elected by the House of Reps and is an elected member of parliament from the House of Reps GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 6 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (House of Representatives) Government of the day is formed (Min 76 seats required) Party/coalition of parties with the majority of seats in the house forms government. Stays in Government for 3 years after the first sitting of the newly formed Parliament

GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 Has the power to remove a dysfunctional government if confidence/support of Parliament has been lost. A Vote of all sitting members is required. Approx. 95% of all new legislation starts in this house. Money bills MUST originate in this house 7 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (House of Representatives) Cabinet All ministers are members of the Cabinet, but in practice, the Prime Minister and Senior Ministers (Most Important

Portfolios) form Cabinet. Cabinet is in a powerful position as it determines priority with the passing of bills. Cabinet decisions and deliberations are confidential and all ministers are expected to support (Publically) the decisions of Cabinet. Currently 18 ministers and 1 prime minister form cabinet http:// www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_D epartments/Parliamentary_Library/Parliamentary_H andbook/Current_Ministry_List Responsible for the day to day running of the Country. GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 8

1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (Senate) Senate Composition 76 Senators Represent the people of each separate state/territory 12 Senators for each state ACT & NT have 2 senators each GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 9 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making THE SENATE Senators are voted in for 6 years Half of the senators retire every 3 years Territory senators remain in term for 3 years Presided over by the President (Elected by the senators) GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015

Senate Functions Provide equal representation for the states in the Commonwealth Parliament Called the States House for this reason. Can introduce any bill (Except Money Bills) Very small number of Bills originate from the senate Acts as a house of review. Senate can accept/reject/amend or request House of Reps to amend the bill. It provides for a second opinion. Scrutinise the activities of Government by a system of committees that review the administrative actions of Ministers 10 1.6 Federal Parliament and its characteristics and role in law making (Senate) Senate committees are responsible for investigating matters such as government administration/ policy performance Select committees appointed as the need arises and are ceased once the task is completed. They generally inquire into controversial or politically

sensitive matters such as mental health and maritime incidents (Children overboard). Joint Committees - established by both houses of parliament to work together on an issue GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 Standing committees (8 in total) that oversee all areas of government activity. Includes - foreign affairs, defence, industry and trade, social welfare, education, arts, science, technology, environment, constitution, legal affairs and national resources. Standing committees are appointed at the beginning of parliament and are appointed for the life of parliament Current senate inquiries http:// www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/C ommittees/Senate/Current_Inquiries 11

1.2 Structure and role of the Commonwealth Parliament (Senate) 1914the Double Dissolution If the senate twice refuses to pass legislation from the Lower House the Australian Constitution determines this to be a deadlock between the two houses of parliament. In this situation the Constitution permits the GG to dissolve both houses of parliament and call an election. All senators must face an election (Not half as usual) deadlock was broken by the Government losing its majority in the House as a result of the double dissolution election. The legislation was not reintroduced. 1951the deadlock was broken by the Government gaining a majority in both Houses; the legislation was reintroduced and passed by both Houses in the normal manner. 1974the Government was returned but the disagreement between the Houses continued, resulting in a joint sitting at which the bills concerned were passed. 1975the bills concerned were not reintroduced in the new Parliament. Unique circumstances applied in 1975 following disagreement over the passage of a number of bills the Government was dismissed by the GovernorGeneral and a caretaker Government installed to enable passage of appropriation bills. The caretaker Government then requested a double dissolution and was elected at the ensuing election. The bills providing the technical grounds for the double dissolution were not those of the

caretaker Government seeking the dissolution, but those of the Government dismissed by the Governor-General. 1983the deadlock was broken by the Government losing its majority in the House. 1987the Government was returned; the bill concerned was reintroduced and again passed by the House but ultimately not proceeded with. There have been six double dissolutions: GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 12 Current situation in federal parliament House of Reps Lib/Nationals Labor 90 55 Senate (July 2014) Lib/Nationals Labor

26 9 33 Minor Parties 3 Greens Independents 2 Palmer United 3 Ind/Minor 5 Clear majority??????? GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 13 Your Turn Complete Questions 1- 8 (Page 22) GSC Legal Studies 1/2 AOS 1 2015 14

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