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Australian Parliament by Mind Map: Australian Parliament
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Australian Parliament

House of representatives

Ministry and Shadow Ministry

Each of the two Houses elects a presiding officer. The presiding officer of the Senate is called the President; that of the House is the Speaker. Elections for these positions are by secret ballot. Both offices are conventionally filled by members of the governing party, but the presiding officers are expected to oversee debate and enforce the rules in an impartial manner

The Constitution authorises Parliament to set the quorum for each chamber. The quorum of the House of Representatives is one-fifth of the total membership (thirty); that of the Senate is one-quarter of the total membership (nineteen). In theory,


76 Senators

Upper house

The modern word senate is derived from the Latin word senātus (senate), which comes from senex, "old man". [1] The members or legislators of a senate are called senators. The Latin word senator was adopted into English with no change in spelling. Its meaning is derived from a very ancient form of simple social organization in which decision-making powers are reserved for the eldest men. For the same reason, the word senate is correctly used when referring to any powerful authority characteristically composed by the eldest members of a community, as a deliberative body of a faculty in an institution of higher learning is often called a senate. The original senate was the Roman Senate, which lasted until 580 (various efforts to revive it were made in Medieval Rome). In the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine Senate continued until the Fourth Crusade, circa 1202 - 1204.


The Cabinet of Australia is the council of senior ministers of the Crown, responsible to parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, and serves at the former's pleasure. The strictly private Cabinet meetings occur once a week to discuss vital issues and formulate policy. Outside of the cabinet there are a number of junior ministers, responsible for a specific policy area and reporting directly to any senior Cabinet minister.

History Until 1956 all members of the ministry were members of the Cabinet. The growth of the ministry in the 1940s and 1950s made this increasingly impractical, and in 1956 Liberal Prime Minister Robert Menzies created a two-tier ministry, with only senior ministers holding Cabinet rank. This practice has been continued by all governments since, except the Whitlam Government.

Composition Since the introduction of the two-tier ministry, meetings of Cabinet are attended by members only, although other ministers may attend if an area of their portfolio is on the agenda. Cabinet meetings are chaired by the Prime Minister, and a senior public servant is present to write the minutes and record decisions.[1] Since 1942, every member of the Cabinet has been a member of the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party of Australia, or the National Party of Australia (known prior to 1974 as the Country Party).


Under Section 1 of the Constitution, the Queen of Australia is one of the components of Parliament. The constitutional functions of the Crown are given to the Governor-General, whom the Monarch appoints on the advice of the Prime Minister. Specifically, the Constitution gives the Governor-General the power to assent to legislation, refuse to assent, or to reserve a bill for the Queen's judgement. However, by convention, the Governor-General does not exercise these powers other than in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

Modern democratic states with bicameral parliamentary systems are sometimes equipped with a senate, often distinguished from an ordinary parallel lower house, known variously as the "House of Representatives", "House of Commons", "Chamber of Deputies", "National Assembly", "Legislative Assembly", or "House of Assembly", by electoral rules. This may include minimum age required for voters and candidates, proportional or majoritarian or plurality system, and an electoral basis or collegium. Typically, the senate is referred to as the upper house and has a smaller membership than the lower house. In some federal states senates also exist at the subnational level. In the United States all states other than Nebraska have a state senate. In Australia all states other than Queensland have an upper house known as a legislative council. Several Canadian provinces also once had legislative councils, but these have all been abolished, the last being Quebec's Legislative Council, in 1968. In Germany, all States are now unicameral, with the last upper house (Bavaria) being abolished in 1999.

Senate membership can be determined either through elections or appointments. For example, elections are held every three years for half the membership of the Australian Senate, the term of a senator being six years. In contrast, members of the Canadian Senate are appointed by the Governor General upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada, holding the office until they resign, are removed, or retire at the mandatory age of 75. In larger countries, the senate often serves a balancing effect by giving a larger share of power to regions or groups which would otherwise be overwhelmed under strictly popular apportionment.


The Commonwealth Parliament was opened on 9 May 1901 in Melbourne by The Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and York, later King George V.[

Thereafter, from 1901 to 1927, the Parliament met in Parliament House, Melbourne, which it borrowed from the Parliament of Victoria (which sat in the Royal Exhibition Building). On 9 May 1927 Parliament moved to the new national capital at Canberra, where it met in what is now called Old Parliament House

this building in fact housed the Parliament for more than 60 years. The new and permanent Parliament House was opened on 9 May 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II. Australia is viewed by some as the fourth-longest continuously operating democracy in the world