New South Wales Legislative Assembly


New South Wales Legislative Assembly
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Crowned crest badge.
Type
Type Lower house
Leadership
Speaker Hon. Shelley Hancock MP, Liberal
since 3 May 2011
Members 93
Political groups      Liberal (51)
     National (18)
     Labor (20)
     Independent (3)
     Greens (1)
Elections
Last election 26 March 2011
Meeting place
Legislative Assembly Chamber
Parliament House, Sydney,
New South Wales, Australia
Website
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/

The Legislative Assembly, or lower house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of New South Wales, an Australian state. The other chamber is the Legislative Council. Both the Assembly and Council sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. The Assembly is presided over by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

The Assembly has 93 members, elected by single-member constituency, which are commonly known as seats. Voting is by the optional preferential system.[1]

Members of the Legislative Assembly have the acronym MP after their names.[2] From the creation of the assembly up to about 1990, the acronym "MLA" ( Member of the Legislative Assembly ) was used.

The Assembly is often called the bearpit on the basis of the house's reputation for confrontational style during heated moments and the "savage political theatre and the bloodlust of its professional players"[3] attributed in part to executive dominance.[4]

Contents

History

The Legislative Assembly was created in 1856 with the introduction of a bicameral parliament for the Crown Colony of New South Wales.[5] In the beginning, only men were eligible to be members of the Assembly, and only around one half of men were able to pass the property or income qualifications required to vote. Two years later, the Electoral Reform Act, which was passed despite the opposition of the Legislative Council, saw the introduction of a far more democratic system, allowing any man who had been resident in the colony for six months the right to vote, and removing property requirements to stand as a candidate.[5] Following Australia's federation in 1901, the New South Wales parliament became a State legislature. Women were granted the right to vote in 1902, and gained the right to be members of the Assembly in 1918,[6] with the first successful candidate being elected in 1925.[7] Aboriginal people did not gain the right to vote until 1949 in NSW.[1]

Chamber

The Legislative Assembly sits in the oldest legislative chamber in Australia. Originally built for the Legislative Council in 1843, it has been in continuous use since 1856. The colour of the Legislative Assembly chamber is green, which follows the British tradition for lower houses.[8]

Function

Most legislation is initiated in the Legislative Assembly. The party or coalition with the most seats in the lower house is invited by the Governor to form government. The leader of that party subsequently becomes Premier of New South Wales, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian political parties traditionally vote along party lines, most legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the Legislative Assembly.[1]

As with the federal parliament and other Australian states and territories, voting in the Assembly is compulsory for all those over the age of 18. Elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in March, exceptional circumstances notwithstanding, as the result of a 1995 referendum to amend the New South Wales Constitution.[1]

Current distribution of seats

Party Seats held Current Assembly
2011[9] Now
Liberal Party of Australia 51 51                                                                                                      
Australian Labor Party 20 20                                                                                                      
National Party of Australia 18 18                                                                                                      
Independent 3 3                                                                                                      
Greens 1 1                                                                                                      

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Role and History of the Legislative Assembly". About us – Legislative Assembly. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/web/common.nsf/key/LARole. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Role of Members of Parliament". Members. Parliament of New South Wales. 28 February 2008. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/web/common.nsf/key/MembersAbout. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Dusevic, Tom (4 December 2009). "Tawdry cast sits out dance of death playing in bearpit". The Australian (News Limited). http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/tawdry-cast-sits-out-dance-of-death-playing-in-bearpit/story-e6frg6nf-1225806785700. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Grove, Russell D. (Autumn 2010). "Being in Opposition — Opportunities Lost" (pdf). Australasian Parliamentary Review (Australasian Study of Parliament Group) 25 (1): 185–191. http://www.aspg.org.au/journal/2010autumn_25_1/17_GroveA.pdf. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "1856 to 1889 - Responsible Government and Colonial Development". Sysytem of Government – History of Democracy. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/web/common.nsf/key/HistoryResponsibleGovernment. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "1901 to 1918 - The Early Federal Period and the First World War". Sysytem of Government – History of Democracy. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/web/common.nsf/key/HistoryEarlyFederalPeriod. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "1919 to 1929 - The Twenties". Sysytem of Government – History of Democracy. Parliament of New South Wales. 25 February 2008. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/web/common.nsf/key/HistoryTwenties. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Parliament of New South Wales brochure" (pdf). Educational Publications. Parliament of New South Wales. 7 March 2005. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/Parliamentcolourbrochure/$File/ColBrochureEnglish.pdf. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Green, Antony (5 April 2011). "New South Wales Election 2011". NSW Votes 2011. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.abc.net.au/elections/nsw/2011/. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 

External links


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