Parliament and the High Court
What is the role of each House of Parliament?
Describe the role of the Governor General
dissolves the Parliament and issues writs for new elections; commissions
the Prime Minister and appoints other Ministers after elections; gives
assent to laws when they have been passed by the two Houses of Parliament
– the Senate and the House of Representatives; acts on the advice of
Ministers through the Executive Council to issue Regulations and
proclamations under existing laws; appoint Federal judges; ambassadors
and high commissioners to overseas countries and other senior government
officials; issue Royal Commissions of enquiry; exercise the prerogative
of mercy; and authorises many other executive decisions by Ministers such
as raising government loans or approving treaties with foreign
What is Hansard?
Hansard is the name given to transcripts of parliamentary proceedings.
How does a Referenedum work?
What is the structure of Parliament?
Describe the Parliamentary system
What is Executive government?
Describe the role of the High Court
How is each House elected?
Why is the House of Representatives green?
Why is question time so noisy?
What is a quorum?
How is the ministry elected?
What is a cabinet?
What is caucus?the meeting of the parliamentary members of a political
the members of Parliament belonging to a particular political party, used
particularly in relation to the Australian Labor Party
What roles do the speaker and the president fulfill?
What is parliamentary privilege?
What are petitions?
How is a law made?
Role of high court
The High Court is the highest court in the Australian judicial system. It
was established in 1901 by Section 71 of the Constitution. The functions of
the High Court are to interpret and apply the law of Australia; to decide
cases of special federal significance including challenges to the
constitutional validity of laws and to hear appeals, by special leave, from
Federal, State and Territory courts.
The seat of the High Court is in Canberra, where it is located in its own
building within the Parliamentary Triangle. The High Court building houses
three courtrooms, Justices’ chambers, and the Court’s main registry,
library, and corporate services facilities. In addition, there are offices
of the High Court Registry in Sydney and Melbourne, staffed by officers of
the High Court. In Brisbane and Perth registry functions are performed on
behalf of the High Court by officers of the Federal Court of Australia, and
in Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin they are performed by officers of the
Supreme Court of the respective State or Territory.
The Structure of Parliament
The Parliament of Victoria is a bicameral, or two-chamber, legislature. The
Legislative Assembly, or Lower House, is the seat of Government. The
Legislative Council, or Upper House, is a house of review . Accordingly,
Members of Parliament either are Legislative Councillors, of whom there are
44, or Members of the 88-strong Legislative Assembly.
Within each of the chambers, Members are identified by their political
The party that enjoys the support of a majority of the Legislative Assembly
forms Government. The largest party or grouping opposed to the Government
forms the official Opposition. Other parties, factions or Independents may
choose either to align with the Government or Opposition, or maintain an
ideological distance from both. This similarly applies in the Legislative
Council. Electoral outcomes therefore determine the internal use and
seating arrangements of the chambers.
In the Lower House, the conduct of the Chamber is controlled by the
Speaker. The Speaker is generally, though not necessarily, selected from
the ranks of the Government by the Government. In the Upper House, a
President is similarly chosen. Both Presiding Officers are responsible for
maintaining order in their respective chambers, and for representing the
Parliament on official and ceremonial occasions.
From within the ranks of the Government a ministry is formed. It is led by
the Premier, aided by a Deputy Premier. Ministers can be drawn from either
In both chambers, Government members sit to the right of the Presiding
Officer. Opposition members sit to the left. Third party and other Members
sit to the rear of the Chamber either on the right or left of the Presiding
Officer depending on their political leaning.
Ministers sit on the front bench of their legislative chambers (as do
Opposition Shadow Ministers). Those Government and Opposition members not
in the Ministry or Shadow Ministry sit behind their colleagues and are
referred to as backbenchers.
Party Whips are chosen from the respective backbenchers. Whipsare
responsible for ensuring that Members of their party are present in the
Chamber when required. Other backbenchers assist their respective