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The Australian Parliamentary System

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Supreme law making body derived from the British Westminster System ... Victorian Parliament (bicameral) Tasmanian Parliament (bicameral) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Australian Parliamentary System


1
Chapter 2
  • The Australian Parliamentary System

2
Chapter Overview
  • This chapter looks at the concepts of
  • The Australian Parliament
  • State parliaments
  • Separation of powers
  • Representative and responsible government
  • Limitations on powers
  • Legislation, Bills and Acts

3
Parliament
  • Supreme law making body derived from the British
    Westminster System
  • Supreme position of parliament is referred to as
    sovereignty of parliament
  • Australia has a national Federal Parliament as
    well as state and territory parliaments.

4
Australian parliaments
  • Commonwealth Parliament - Canberra (bicameral)
  • ACT Parliament (unicameral)
  • NT Parliament (unicameral)
  • Queensland Parliament (unicameral)
  • NSW Parliament (bicameral)
  • Victorian Parliament (bicameral)
  • Tasmanian Parliament (bicameral)
  • South Australian Parliament (bicameral)
  • Western Parliament (bicameral)

5
Parliamentary system
  • Parliament is comprised of one or two houses
  • A house is an assembly of elected members of
    parliament
  • Bicameral parliamentary system
  • two houses
  • Unicameral parliamentary system
  • one house

6
Westminster System in Britain
  • Head of State
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Lower House
  • House of Commons
  • Upper House
  • House of Lords

7
Main functions of parliament
  • Form government
  • Enact and abolish laws
  • Establish committees to investigate issues of
    concern and scrutinise the government in power

8
History of Australian Federation
  • Federal Council of Australasia Act 1885 passed to
    allow the colonies to confer every two years and
    pass laws of common interest

9
Historical Timeline
Idea of an Australian Federation was born
Late 1800s
1891 -1898
A number of conventions were held to draft the
Australian Constitution
1899
The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution was
passed to form the Commonwealth of Australia The
colonies formed six states and two territories
Lord Hopetoun was appointed as Australias first
Governor General
1901
10
Commonwealth Parliament
  • Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900
  • referred to as the Commonwealth Constitution
  • Constitution
  • established Commonwealth Parliament
  • set out the law making powers between the
    Commonwealth and the States

11
Commonwealth Parliament
  • King or Queen (i.e. the Crown)
  • Upper House
  • Senate
  • Lower House
  • House of Representatives

12
Cwealth Government
  • Government
  • political party in power
  • Prime Minister
  • head of the government

13
Cabinet
  • Cabinet comprised of senior and junior ministers
  • Senior ministers in charge of important
    portfolios
  • Junior ministers in charge of less important
    portfolios

14
Cabinet functions
  • Constructing policy
  • Approving bills
  • Prioritising bills for introduction to parliament
  • Senior ministers supervise the administration of
    their respective government departments

15
Executive Council
  • Consists of
  • Governor General
  • Prime Minister
  • Ministers in Cabinet
  • Role is to formally ratify decisions made by the
    ministers in relation to administration of
    government

16
Opposition
  • Party with the next largest number of seats

17
State Territory Parliaments
  • Structure
  • King or Queen
  • Upper House
  • usually called Legislative Council
  • Lower House
  • usually called Legislative Assembly

18
State Territory Governments
  • Leader of the governing party
  • Premier of that state
  • States parliaments have cabinets, Ministers, and
    Executive Councils
  • Executive Councils called Governors in Council in
    all states and territories

19
Parliaments
20
Separation of powers
21
Separation of powers
  • Law-making powers exercised within society can be
    classified in three ways
  • legislative power
  • executive power
  • judicial power

22
Legislative power
  • Given to Australian parliaments by the
    Commonwealth Constitution to make legislation

23
Executive power
  • Power to administer laws
  • Exercised by
  • Executive Council in the Commonwealth of
    Australia
  • Governor in Council in all states and territories
    of Australia

24
Judicial power
  • Power exercised by the Courts
  • Involves
  • hearing and determining legal questions
  • interpreting the law and its application in
    particular cases

25
Representative Government
  • Every member of each parliament in Australia
    represents the people within the electorate that
    elected that member
  • Every Member of Parliament is answerable to
    his/her electorate
  • If majority of voters in an electorate are
    dissatisfied with the local member/local members
    political party, a new person may be elected to
    represent that electorate in parliament

26
Powers of parliament
  • Constitution divides the legislative powers
    between the Commonwealth and the states

27
Powers of Commonwealth Parliament
  • Constitution has given the Commonwealth
    Parliament the right to exercise specific powers
  • Two categories of specific powers
  • Exclusive
  • Concurrent

28
Exclusive powers
  • Constitution has allocated the Commonwealth
    Parliament exclusive powers to legislate in
    particular areas
  • Allow only the Commonwealth Parliament to make
    laws in areas that affect the nation

29
Exclusive powers
  • S114 the raising and maintaining of any naval
    or military force
  • S 115 the coining of money
  • S 90 the granting of bounties on the production
    or export of goods
  • S 52 (ii) the Commonwealth Public Services

30
Concurrent powers
  • Shared between Commonwealth and State Parliaments
  • Allow both parliaments to legislate in the same
    areas such as quarantine and taxation

31
Concurrent Powers
  • S109 of the Constitution provides that where a
    State law is inconsistent with a Commonwealth law
    the later will stand
  • Commonwealth laws always prevail over State laws

32
Residual Powers
  • Given to state parliaments to make laws in
    relation to state matters
  • roads, railways, hospitals etc
  • Powers are not specifically stated in the
    constitution but are left over powers

33
Limits on Commonwealth Power
  • Limited by the Constitution
  • Commonwealth
  • must not prefer one State over another in
    relation to trade, commerce or revenue (s 99), or
    in relation to taxation (s 51(ii))
  • must protect every State against invasion (s 119)
  • cannot restrict free trade between states (s 92)

34
Limits on state powers
  • Limited by the Constitution
  • States
  • cannot levy customs excise duties (s 90)
  • trade between states must be free (s 92)
  • prohibited from raising military forces (s 114)
  • prohibited from coining money (s 115)
  • Federal law will always prevail over state use of
    a concurrent power to the extent of any
    inconsistency (s 109)

35
Overcoming constitution limitations
  • The Commonwealth may overcome its constitutional
    limitations in two ways
  • making an agreement with states
  • change the constitution

36
Agreement with the states
  • S 51 (xxxvii) of the Constitution allows state
    parliaments to refer a residual power to the
    Commonwealth in relation to passing legislation
    in a particular area
  • S 61 of the Constitution allows the Commonwealth
    to give the states funds to spent in a particular
    way, e.g. maintenance of roads
  • Encourage all the states to enact the same
    legislation in a particular area thus uniforming
    the law

37
Changing the constitution
  • The Constitution may be changed in two ways
  • Referendum method
  • High Court method

38
Referendum Method
  • Section 128 of the Constitution allows itself to
    be changed only in accordance to the process of a
    referendum
  • A referendum allows wording of the Constitution
    to be changed through adding, deleting or
    amending words, sentences or sections

39
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40
High Court Method
  • High Court
  • Does not change the words of the Constitution
  • Its role is only to interpret its words
  • Resolves disputes between the Commonwealth and a
    state
  • Its interpretation of particular sections of the
    Constitution may alter the balance of power
    between the states and Commonwealth
  • See Franklin Dam Case on page 41

41
Delegated Legislation
  • Parliaments delegate some of their law making
    powers to expert bodies to make laws in their
    specialised areas
  • Expert bodies known as subordinate authorities
  • Laws made by these bodies are referred to as
    delegated legislation

42
How are law making powers delegated?
  • By way of an enabling act or a parent act
  • Enables a subordinate authority to make laws in
    the form of regulations, by-laws, orders,
    statutes, and/or rules
  • Sets strict guidelines to be followed by the
    particular subordinate authority

43
Ultra Vires
  • Regulations passed by subordinate authorities
    that are beyond the powers granted by parliament
    can be challenged as being ultra vires (beyond
    power)
  • Regulations declared ultra vires are not
    enforceable

44
Examples of bodies that make delegated legislation
  • Subordinate authorities
  • local governments
  • government departments
  • Executive Council
  • Statutory bodies
  • educational institutions
  • public utility corporations
  • administrative tribunals
  • some courts
  • sporting other public purpose institutions

45
Advantages of delegated legislation
  • Subordinate authorities
  • have more time, in comparison to Parliaments, to
    make laws
  • have more expertise (especially local)
  • can take swifter action
  • allow greater public participation through the
    empowerment of local authorities

46
Disadvantages of delegated legislation
  • Laws and regulations are made by unelected public
    officials
  • Quality of checks on subordinate authorities can
    at times be questionable
  • Subordinate authorities may at times infringe
    upon basic human rights
  • Use of subordinate authorities may contribute to
    over-government and the fragmentation of
    law-making

47
Checks on delegated legislation
  • Main methods of checking
  • committee system
  • parliamentary supervision through tabling

48
Legislative process
  • Refers to the law making by which parliaments
    make Acts
  • Commonwealth and State Parliaments have the same
    legislative process

49
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50
Tabling of proposed law
  • The Minister advises one of the Houses of
    Parliament of the issues raised in the report to
    place it before the House
  • called tabling

51
Policy
  • The Minister prepares a number of policies based
    on the recommendations made in the report
  • Cabinet consider and debate the proposed policies
    and decide whether government should legislate
    the policy
  • If Cabinet decides to adopt the policy, usually
    the Minister would announce that policy

52
Drafting a Bill
  • Cabinet instructs Parliamentary Counsel to
    prepare a draft of the proposed legislation
  • Proposed legislation is referred to as a Bill
  • The draft Bill must receive the approval of the
    party before it can be processed through
    Parliament to become law

53
Houses of parliament and law making
  • The house in which the bill is initiated called
    the House of Origin
  • House of Origin - usually the Lower House
  • Once the bill approved by the House of Origin it
    proceeds to the opposite house to be examined and
    scrutinized
  • This house is called the House of Review -
    usually the Upper House
  • Names of the houses vary according to the level
    of parliament

54
House of Origin
  • The bill begins the legislative process in the
    House of Origin by progressing through stages
  • initiation
  • first reading
  • second reading
  • third reading

55
Initiation
  • Relevant Minister advises the Clerk of that House
    that he/she intends to introduce a Bill
  • Clerk then lists the Bill for its first reading
    in the House

56
First reading
  • Permission is granted to introduce the Bill to
    the House
  • In Commonwealth Parliament the Clerk reads out
    the Bills long title
  • In State Parliaments the Minister introducing the
    Bill reads out the Bills long title
  • No debate takes place during this first reading
    and a date is allocated for the second reading of
    the Bill

57
Second reading
  • Members of the House of Origin are given a copy
    of the Bill
  • The Minister identifies the general purposes and
    effects of the Bill
  • Debate may then take place dealing with any
    issues relating to the Bill
  • House votes on whether the Bill will be read a
    second time
  • If the vote is in favour, the clerk reads the
    Bills long title for a second time

58
Committee stage
  • If the House wishes to examine the Bill in more
    detail, the Bill enters Committee Stage
  • Committee Stage takes place in one of the
    following forms
  • a committee of the whole where all Members of
    the House consider in detail each of the Bills
    clauses and make any necessary amendments
  • a select or standing committee - the Bill is
    referred to a committee of some of the Members of
    the House which then considers the Bill in detail
    and makes any necessary amendments

59
Committee stage
  • The committee makes a report on its progress to
    the House
  • The House may then either
  • consider the Bill further at the committee stage,
    or
  • the Bill may pass to the third reading

60
Third reading
  • Minister moves a motion that the Bill be read a
    third and final time in the house
  • Usually there is no debate
  • When the House agrees to the Ministers motion,
    the Bills long title is read a third time
  • The Bill passes the House

61
House of review
  • The Bill again passes through a series of three
    readings identical to those which take place in
    the house of origin
  • First reading
  • Second reading
  • Third reading
  • If the House of Review makes amendments to the
    Bill, the House of Origin may accept or reject
    the amendments

62
Double dissolution
  • If a Bill is rejected twice by either house over
    a certain period of time, a double dissolution
    has occurred and an election is usually called

63
Royal Assent
  • Once both Houses have passed a Bill in identical
    forms, the Bill is presented for Royal Assent
  • Royal Assent is the approval given to a Bill by
    the Queens representative
  • Commonwealth - Governor General
  • State Parliament - States Governor
  • Once a Bill receives Royal Assent, it is called
    an Act of Parliament

64
Commencement Date
  • The day an Act becomes law is known as the
    commencement date
  • The Act states when it comes into effect
  • If there is no commencement date provided in an
    act, it becomes law 28 days after receiving Royal
    Assent
  • After the commencement date, the Act is enacted

65
Private Members Bill
  • Initiated in Parliament without the sanction of
    the Government
  • May be initiated by
  • a Member of the Opposition
  • an independent member
  • a government back-bench member
  • Follow the same parliamentary process as
    government Bills
  • except they are not drafted by Parliamentary
    Counsel

66
Types of Acts
  • Amending Act
  • Makes changes to existing law
  • Repealing Act
  • Stops existing law from having any legal effect
  • Explanatory Act
  • Describes the meaning of the Act
  • Declaratory Act
  • Declares, clarifies and identifies actual law
  • Consolidating Act
  • Combines Acts that address same issues and laws
  • Enabling Act
  • Passes law making powers to subordinate
    authorities

 
67
Chapter review
  • In this chapter you have looked at
  • The Australian Parliament
  • State parliaments
  • Separation of powers
  • Representative and responsible government
  • Limitations on powers
  • Legislation, Bills and Acts
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