Australian parliamentary library research paper

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Australian parliamentary library research paper

From a comparative governmental perspective, the Australian Senate exhibits distinctive characteristics. Unlike upper Houses in other Westminster system governments, the Senate is not a vestigial body with limited legislative power. Rather it was intended to play — and does play — an active role in legislation.

Rather than being modelled solely after the House of Lordsas the Canadian Senate was, the Australian Senate was in part modelled after the United States Senateby giving equal representation to each state and equal powers.

Although the Prime Minister and Treasurerby convention, are members of the House of Representatives after John Gorton was appointed prime minister inhe resigned from the Senate and was elected to the Houseother members of the Cabinet may come from either house, [5] and the two Houses have almost equal legislative power.

It is then passed to the Senate, which has the opportunity to amend the bill, pass or reject it.

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In the majority of cases, voting takes place along party linesalthough there are occasional conscience votes.

Electoral system of Australia The system for electing senators has changed several times since Federation.

The original arrangement involved a first-past-the-post block voting or "winner takes all" system, on a state-by-state basis. This was replaced in by preferential block voting. Block voting tended to produce landslide majorities and even "wipe-outs".

For instance, from to the Nationalist Party held all but one of the 36 seats, and from tothe Labor Party held all but three. Insingle transferable vote proportional representation on a state-by-state basis became the method for electing Senators.

From the election, group ticket voting was introduced, in order to reduce a high rate of informal voting that arose from the requirement that each candidate be given a preference, and to allow small parties and independent candidates a reasonable chance of winning a seat.

This allowed voters to select a single party "Above the Line" to distribute their preferences on their behalf, but voters were still able to vote directly for individual candidates and distribute their own preferences if they wished "Below the Line" by numbering every box.

In group tickets were abolished to avoid undue influence of preference deals amongst parties that were seen as distorting election results [6] and a form of optional preferential voting was introduced.

As a result of the changes, voters may assign their preferences for parties above the line numbering as many boxes as they wishor individual candidates below the line, and are not required to fill all of the boxes. Both above and below the line voting now use optional preferential voting.

For above the line, voters are instructed to number at least their first six preferences; however, a "savings provision" is in place to ensure that ballots will still be counted if less than six are given.

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For below the line, voters are required to number at least their first 12 preferences. Voters are free to continue numbering as many preferences as they like beyond the minimum number specified.

Another savings provision allows ballot papers with at least 6 below the line preferences to be formal. The voting changes make it more difficult for new small parties and independent candidates to be elected to the Senate.

The senator argued that the changes meant the senators would not be "directly chosen by the people" as required by the constitution. The High Court decided that both above the line and below the line voting were valid methods for the people to choose their Senators.parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes.

This paper is not professional legal opinion. CONTENTS 5 Australian Institute for Gambling Research, Australian Gambling: Comparative History and Analysis, Project Report, Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority, Melbourne, , p xx.

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Research Paper no. 5 2007–08

Petal Kinder is a Director, Research and Engagement at BarNet/JADE. She was formerly Court Librarian at the High Court of Australia. Prior to her commencement at the High Court, Petal was the Manager of the Library and Information Services at the Federal Court in Melbourne.

Australian parliamentary library research paper

The Australian, 13 March The Australian's Review of Books, July p. The Australian, 22 November Canberra Times, 11 March The Financial Review, 11 April The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April The Australian, 13 March The Australian, 22 November Bibliography. Aborigines Petition the King Tapa Treasures from the Pacific now open.

Australian parliamentary library research paper

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