Australian Senate

Australian Senate

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The Senate is the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 of the bicameral Parliament of Australia
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth Parliament or Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It is bicameral, largely modelled in the Westminster tradition, but with some influences from the United States Congress...

, the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 being the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution
Double dissolution
A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate....

, however, some senators serve six years while others serve terms of only three. Significant power is conferred upon the Senate by the Australian Constitution
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

, including the capacity to block legislation initiated by the government in the House of Representatives, making it a distinctive hybrid of British Westminster bicameralism
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 and American-style bicameralism
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

.

The present Parliament, as elected at the 2010 election, is the 43rd Federal Parliament since Federation. In the 76-seat Senate, where no party tends to have a majority of seats, the Greens
Australian Greens
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

 gained the sole balance of power
Balance of power (parliament)
In parliamentary politics, the term balance of power sometimes describes the pragmatic mechanism exercised by a minor political party or other grouping whose guaranteed support may enable an otherwise minority government to obtain and hold office...

 with a total of nine seats, previously holding a shared balance of power with the Family First Party
Family First Party
The Family First Party is a socially conservative minor political party in Australia. It has two members in the South Australian Legislative Council...

 and independent Nick Xenophon
Nick Xenophon
Nicholas "Nick" Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and politician. He attended Prince Alfred College, and studied law at the University of Adelaide, attaining his Bachelor of Laws in 1981. Xenophon established and became principal of his own law firm, Xenophon & Co....

. Labor
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 holding 31 seats, they require an additional eight non-Labor votes to pass legislation. The Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

 holds 34 seats, while the two remaining seats are occupied by Xenophon and Democratic Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party
The Democratic Labor Party is a political party in Australia that espouses social conservatism and opposes neo-liberalism. The first "DLP" Senator in decades, party vice-president John Madigan was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal...

 Senator John Madigan
John Madigan (Australian politician)
John Joseph Madigan is an Australian politician. He is a member of the Democratic Labor Party , elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal election, serving a six-year term since July 2011.-Early life:Born into a Catholic family, Madigan...

.

Origins and role


The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (Imp.)
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

 of 1900 established the Senate as part of the new system of dominion government in newly federated Australia. From a comparative governmental perspective, the Australian Senate exhibits distinctive characteristics. Unlike upper houses in other Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 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 after the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, as the Canadian Senate was, the Australian Senate was in part modelled after the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, by giving equal representation to each state. The Constitution intended to give less populous states added voice in a Federal legislature, while also providing for the revising role of an upper house in the Westminster system.

Although the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

, by convention, serves as a member of the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

, other ministers may come from either house, and the two houses have almost equal legislative power. As with most upper chambers in bicameral parliaments, the Senate cannot introduce appropriation bill
Appropriation bill
An appropriation bill or running bill is a legislative motion which authorizes the government to spend money. It is a bill that sets money aside for specific spending...

s (bills that authorise government expenditure of public revenue) or bills that impose taxation, that role being reserved for the lower house. That degree of equality between the Senate and House of Representatives is in part due to the age of the Australian constitution – it was enacted before the confrontation in 1909 in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 between the House of Commons and the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, which ultimately resulted in the restrictions placed on the powers of the House of Lords by the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949
Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949
The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 are two Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which form part of the constitution of the United Kingdom. Section 2 of the Parliament Act 1949 provides that that Act and the Parliament Act 1911 are to be construed as one.The Parliament Act 1911 The...

 – but also reflected the desire of the Constitution's authors to have the upper house act as a 'stabilising' influence on the expression of popular democracy (much as the colonial Legislative Council
Legislative Council
A Legislative Council is the name given to the legislatures, or one of the chambers of the legislature of many nations and colonies.A Member of the Legislative Council is commonly referred to as an MLC.- Unicameral legislatures :...

s functioned as at the time). The smaller states also desired strong powers for the Senate as a way of ensuring that the interests of more populous states as represented in the House of Representatives did not totally dominate the government.

In practice, however, most legislation (except for private member's bill
Private Member's Bill
A member of parliament’s legislative motion, called a private member's bill or a member's bill in some parliaments, is a proposed law introduced by a member of a legislature. In most countries with a parliamentary system, most bills are proposed by the government, not by individual members of the...

s) in the Australian Parliament is initiated by the Government, which has control over the lower house. It is then passed to the Senate, which may amend the bill or refuse to pass it. In the majority of cases, voting takes place along party lines
Party line (politics)
In politics, the line or the party line is an idiom for a political party or social movement's canon agenda, as well as specific ideological elements specific to the organization's partisanship. The common phrase toeing the party line describes a person who speaks in a manner that conforms to his...

, although there are occasional conscience vote
Conscience vote
A conscience vote or free vote is a type of vote in a legislative body where legislators are allowed to vote according to their own personal conscience rather than according to an official line set down by their political party....

s.

Where the houses disagree


If the Senate twice in a three month period refuses to pass the same piece of legislation that was initiated in the lower house, the government may either abandon the bill or continue to revise it, or, in certain circumstances outlined in section 57 of the Constitution
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

, the Prime Minister can recommend the governor-general dissolve the entire parliament in a double dissolution
Double dissolution
A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate....

. In such an event, the entirety of the Senate faces re-election, as does the House of Representatives, rather than only about half the chamber as is normally the case. After a double dissolution election, if the bills in question are reintroduced, and if they again fail to pass the Senate, the governor-general may agree to a joint sitting of the two houses in an attempt to pass the bills. Such a sitting has only occurred once, in 1974.

The double dissolution mechanism is not available for bills that originate in the Senate and are blocked in the lower house.

After a double dissolution election Section 13 of the Constitution requires the Senate to divide the senators into two classes, with the first class having a three year term, and the second class six. The Senate has determined that this division shall result from the order of election, with those elected first having a six year term.

On 8 October 2003, the then Prime Minister John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 initiated public discussion of whether the mechanism for the resolution of deadlocks between the houses should be reformed. High levels of support for the existing mechanism, and a very low level of public interest in that discussion, resulted in the abandonment of these proposals.

Blocking supply


The constitutional text denies the Senate the power to originate or amend appropriation bills, in deference to the conventions of the classical Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

. Under a traditional Westminster system, the executive government is responsible for its use of public funds to the lower house, which has the power to bring down a government by blocking its access to supply
Loss of Supply
Loss of supply occurs where a government in a parliamentary democracy using the Westminster System or a system derived from it is denied a supply of treasury or exchequer funds, by whichever house or houses of parliament or head of state is constitutionally entitled to grant and deny supply. A...

 – i.e. revenue
Revenue
In business, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover....

 appropriated through taxation. The arrangement as expressed in the Australian Constitution, however, still leaves the Senate with the power to reject supply bills or defer their passage – undoubtedly one of the Senate's most contentious and powerful abilities.

The ability to block supply was the origin of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. The Opposition
Opposition (parliamentary)
Parliamentary opposition is a form of political opposition to a designated government, particularly in a Westminster-based parliamentary system. Note that this article uses the term government as it is used in Parliamentary systems, i.e. meaning the administration or the cabinet rather than the state...

 used its numbers in the Senate to defer supply bills, refusing to deal with them until an election was called for both Houses of Parliament, an election which it hoped to win. The Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 of the day, Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

, contested the legitimacy of the blocking and refused to resign. The crisis brought to a head two Westminster conventions that, under the Australian constitutional system, were in conflict – firstly, that a government may continue to govern for as long as it has the support of the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

, and secondly, that a government that no longer has access to supply must either resign or be dismissed. The crisis was resolved in November 1975 when Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Whitlam's government and appointed a caretaker government on condition that elections for both houses of parliament be held. This action in itself was a source of controversy and debate continues on the proper usage of the Senate's ability to block supply and on whether such a power should even exist.

The membership of the Senate


Under sections seven and eight of the Australian Constitution, the Senate must:
  • comprise an equal number of senators from each original state;
  • have at least six senators per original state; and
  • ensure any laws governing the election of senators is non-discriminatory among states.


These conditions have periodically been the source of debate, and within these conditions, the composition and rules of the Senate have varied significantly since federation.

Voting system


The voting system for the Senate has changed twice since it was created. The original arrangement involved a first past the post block voting
Plurality-at-large voting
Plurality-at-large voting is a non-proportional voting system for electing several representatives from a single multimember electoral district using a series of check boxes and tallying votes similar to a plurality election...

 or "winner takes all" system, on a state-by-state basis. This was replaced in 1919 by preferential block voting
Preferential block voting
Preferential block voting is a majoritarian voting system for electing several representatives from a single multimember constituency. Unlike the single transferable vote, preferential block voting is not a method for obtaining proportional representation, and instead produces similar results to...

. Block voting tended to grant landslide
Landslide victory
In politics, a landslide victory is the victory of a candidate or political party by an overwhelming margin in an election...

 majorities and even "wipe-outs" very easily. For instance, from 1919 to 1922 the Nationalist Party of Australia
Nationalist Party of Australia
The Nationalist Party of Australia was an Australian political party. It was formed on 17 February 1917 from a merger between the conservative Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, the name given to the pro-conscription defectors from the Australian Labor Party led by Prime...

 had 35 of the 36 Senate seats, and in 1946, the Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 government won 33 out of the 36 Senate seats.

In 1948, proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 on a state-by-state basis became the method for electing the Senate.

Senate ballot paper


The Australian Senate voting paper under the single transferable vote
Single transferable vote
The single transferable vote is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through preferential voting. Under STV, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most preferred candidate, and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, any surplus or...

 system resembles this example, which shows the candidates for Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

n senate representation in the 2004 federal election.
Senate election – Tasmania
A
Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

 
B
CEC
Citizens Electoral Council
The Citizens Electoral Council of Australia is a minor nationalist political party in Australia affiliated with the international LaRouche Movement, led by American political activist and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche. It reported having 549 members in 2007...

 
C
Democrats
Australian Democrats
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after principals of those minor parties secured the commitment of former Liberal minister Don Chipp, as a high profile leader...

 
D
Family First
Family First Party
The Family First Party is a socially conservative minor political party in Australia. It has two members in the South Australian Legislative Council...

 
E
☐ CDP 
F
☐ Ind.
G
H
Greens
Australian Greens
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

 
I
ALP
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 

Ungrouped
Abetz E
Eric Abetz
Eric Abetz , has been a Liberal Party member of the Australian Senate since February 1994, representing the state of Tasmania. He is currently Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. He was educated at the University of Tasmania and was a barrister and solicitor before entering politics...


Barnett G
Guy Barnett (Australian politician)
Guy Barnett , has been a Liberal Party member of the Australian Senate since February 2002, representing the state of Tasmania. He was born in Launceston, Tasmania, and was educated at the University of Tasmania. He was a lawyer before entering politics...


Parry S
Stephen Parry (politician)
Stephen Shane Parry , Australian politician, has been a Liberal Party member of the Australian Senate since July 2005, representing the state of Tasmania. He was elected Government Deputy Whip in the Senate in November 2006 and elected Government Whip in April 2007 in succession to the late...


☐ Larner R
☐ Watts A
☐ Onsman Y
☐ Cass S
☐ Petrusma J
☐ Bergman L
☐ Smith L
☐ Mitchell D
☐ Fracalossi M
Murphy S
Shayne Murphy
Shayne Michael Murphy , Australian politician, was a member of the Australian Senate, representing Tasmania, from 1993 to 2005. He represented the Australian Labor Party from his election until 2001, when he left the party and became an independent.Murphy was born in Queenstown, Tasmania, and...


☐ Martin S
☐ Newman J
Milne C
Christine Milne
Christine Anne Milne is an Australian Senator and deputy leader of the Australian Greens.Christine Milne first came to public attention for her role in opposing the building of the Wesley Vale pulp mill near Bass Strait in North Western Tasmania on the basis of its allegedly harmful environmental...


☐ Cassidy K
☐ Millen T
O'Brien K
Kerry O'Brien (politician)
Kerry Williams Kelso O'Brien , is an Australian politician. O'Brien has been a member of the Australian Senate for the state of Tasmania since September 1996, representing the Australian Labor Party.-Background:O'Brien was born in Sydney...


Polley H
Helen Polley
Helen Beatrice Polley is an Australian Labor Party Senator for the state of Tasmania, since 1 July 2005.Before entering the federal government Polley was an advisor to two Labor Premiers of Tasmania; Jim Bacon and Paul Lennon. She was elected to the Senate in 2004 and her term began in...


☐ Price D
☐ Wells N
☐ Newitt R
☐ Gargan E
☐ Ottavi D
☐ McDonald J


Electors must either:
  • Vote for an individual party by writing the number "1" in a single box above the line – this means the elector wants their preferences distributed according to a party's or group's officially registered group voting ticket
    Ticket (election)
    A ticket refers to a single election choice which fills more than one political office or seat. For example, in the U.S., the candidates for President and Vice President run on the same "ticket", because they are elected together on a single ballot question rather than separately.A ticket can also...

    .
  • Vote for all candidates by writing the numbers 1, 2, 3, through to the last number (in this example, 26) in all the individual boxes below the line.


Because each state elects six senators at each half-senate election, the quota for election is only one-seventh or 14.3% (one third or 33.3% for territories, where only two senators are elected). Once a candidate has been elected with votes reaching the quota amount, any votes they receive in addition to this may be distributed to other candidates as preferences.

Some states may have over 80 candidates on their ballot papers, and the voter must individually number every single candidate for a "below the line" vote to count. As a result the "above the line" system was implemented. Over 95% of electors vote "above the line".

The ungrouped candidates in the far right column do not have a box above the line. Therefore they can only get a primary (number 1) vote from electors who vote below the line. For this reason, some independents register as a group, either with other independents or by themselves, such as groups F and G in the above example.

Casual Vacancies


Section 15 of the Constitution provides that a casual vacancy of a State senator shall be filled by the State Parliament. If the previous senator was a member of a particular political party the replacement must come from the same party, but the State Parliament may choose not to fill the vacancy, in which case Section 11 requires the Senate to proceed regardless.

Size


The size of the Senate has changed over the years. The Constitution originally provided for six senators for each state, and thus a total of 36 senators. This was increased to ten senators per state (and a total of 60) in 1948. In 1975, the two territories, the Northern Territory
Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, occupying much of the centre of the mainland continent, as well as the central northern regions...

 and the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

, elected two senators each for the first time, bringing the number to 64. The last expansion took place in 1984, under which the number of senators from each state increased from 10 to 12, and the entire Senate to 76. The senators from the Northern Territory also represent constituents from Australia's Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island
Christmas Island
The Territory of Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is located northwest of the Western Australian city of Perth, south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and ENE of the Cocos Islands....

 and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
The Territory of the Cocos Islands, also called Cocos Islands and Keeling Islands, is a territory of Australia, located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Christmas Island and approximately midway between Australia and Sri Lanka....

), while the senators from the Australian Capital Territory also represent voters from the Jervis Bay Territory
Jervis Bay Territory
The Jervis Bay Territory is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was surrendered by the state of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1915 so that the Federal capital at Canberra would have "access to the sea"....

.

Normally, senators are elected at the same time as members of the House of Representatives, but because their terms do not coincide, the new Parliament will for some time comprise a new House of Representatives and a substantially old, lame-duck
Lame duck (politics)
A lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected.-Description:The status can be due to*having lost a re-election bid...

 Senate.

Section 13 of the Constitution requires that in half senate elections the election of State senators shall take place within one year before the places become vacant. The actual election date is determined by the Governor of each State, who acts on the advice of the State Premier. Almost always the Governors act on the recommendation of the Governor-General, with the last independent Senate election writ being issued by the Governor of Queensland during the Gair Affair.

Slightly more than half of the Senate is contested at each general election (half of the 72 state senators, and all four of the territory senators), along with the entire House of Representatives. State senators are normally elected for fixed terms of six years, commencing on 1 July following the election, and ceasing on 30 June six years later.

The terms of the four senators from the territories are not fixed, but are defined by the dates of the general elections for the House of Representatives, the period between which can vary greatly, to a maximum of three years and three months. Territory senators commence their terms on the day that they are elected. Their terms expire the day prior to the following general election day.

Following a double dissolution
Double dissolution
A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate....

, all 76 senators face re-election. If there is an early House election, outside the 12 month period in which Senate elections can occur, the synchronisation of the election will be disrupted, and can be elections at which only half the Senate is up for election. The last time this occurred was on 21 November 1970.

The "unrepresentative" House?


Each state elects the same number of senators. This means there is equal representation for each of the Australian states, regardless of population, so the Senate like many upper houses does not adhere to the principle of "one vote one value
One vote one value
In Australia, one vote one value is a legislative principle of democracy whereby each electorate has the same population within a specified percentage of variance. In the case of the Commonwealth, the maximum variance for the House of Representatives is 10% above or below the mean...

". Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, with a population of around 500,000, elects the same number of senators as New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, which has a population of over 7 million. Because of this imbalance, governments favoured by the more populous states are occasionally frustrated by the extra power the smaller states have in the Senate, to the degree that former Prime Minister Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 famously referred to the Senate's members as "unrepresentative swill". The proportional election system within each state ensures that the Senate incorporates more political diversity than the lower house, which is basically a two party
Two-party system
A two-party system is a system where two major political parties dominate voting in nearly all elections at every level of government and, as a result, all or nearly all elected offices are members of one of the two major parties...

 body. The elected membership of the Senate more closely reflects the first voting preference of the electorate as a whole than does the composition of the House of Representatives, despite the large discrepancies from state to state in the ratio of voters to senators. This often means that the composition of the Senate is different from that of the House of Representatives, contributing to the Senate's function as a house of review
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

.

Parties in the Australian Senate


The overwhelming majority of senators have always been elected as representatives of political parties. Parties which currently have representation in the Senate are:
  • The Coalition
    Coalition (Australia)
    The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

     - Liberal Party of Australia
    Liberal Party of Australia
    The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

    , Liberal National Party of Queensland, National Party of Australia
    National Party of Australia
    The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally, it began as the The Country Party, but adopted the name The National Country Party in 1975, changed to The National Party of Australia in 1982. The party is...

     and Country Liberal Party
    Country Liberal Party
    The Northern Territory Country Liberal Party is a Northern Territory political party affiliated with both the National and Liberal parties...

  • Australian Labor Party
    Australian Labor Party
    The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

  • Australian Greens
    Australian Greens
    The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

  • Democratic Labor Party
    Democratic Labor Party
    The Democratic Labor Party is a political party in Australia that espouses social conservatism and opposes neo-liberalism. The first "DLP" Senator in decades, party vice-president John Madigan was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal...



Other parties that have achieved Senate representation in the past include the Family First
Family First Party
The Family First Party is a socially conservative minor political party in Australia. It has two members in the South Australian Legislative Council...

, Australian Democrats
Australian Democrats
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after principals of those minor parties secured the commitment of former Liberal minister Don Chipp, as a high profile leader...

, One Nation
One Nation Party
One Nation is a far-right and nationalist political party in Australia. It gained 22% of the vote translating to 11 of 89 seats in Queensland's unicameral legislative assembly at the 1998 state election and made major inroads into the vote of the existing parties...

, Nuclear Disarmament Party
Nuclear Disarmament Party
The Nuclear Disarmament Party was a political party in Australia. The party was formed in 1984 and enjoyed considerable initial success.-Foundation, the 1984 election, and the split:...

, Liberal Movement, and a previous party that also used the name Democratic Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party (historical)
The Democratic Labor Party was an Australian political party that existed from 1955 until 1978.-History:The DLP was formed as a result of a split in the Australian Labor Party that began in 1954. The split was between the party's national leadership, under the then party leader Dr H.V...

.

Due to the need to obtain votes state-wide, independent candidates have difficulty getting elected. The exceptions in recent times have been elected in less populous States - the former Tasmanian Senator Brian Harradine
Brian Harradine
Richard William Brian Harradine , Australian politician, was an independent member of the Australian Senate from 1975 to 2005, representing the state of Tasmania. He was the longest-serving independent federal politician in Australian history, and a Father of the Senate.He was born in Quorn, South...

 and the current South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon
Nick Xenophon
Nicholas "Nick" Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and politician. He attended Prince Alfred College, and studied law at the University of Adelaide, attaining his Bachelor of Laws in 1981. Xenophon established and became principal of his own law firm, Xenophon & Co....

.

The Australian Senate serves as a model for some politicians in Canada, particularly in the Western provinces, who wish to reform the Canadian Senate so that it takes a more active legislative role.

There are also small factions in the United Kingdom (both from the right and left) who wish to the see the House of Lords take on a structure similar to that of the Australian Senate.

The work of the Senate


The Australian Senate typically sits for 50 to 60 days a year. Most of those days are grouped into 'sitting fortnights' of two four-day weeks. These are in turn arranged in three periods: the autumn sittings, from February to April; the winter sittings, which commence with the delivery of the budget in the House of Representatives on the first sitting day of May and run through to June or July; and the spring sittings, which commence around August and continue until December, and which typically contain the largest number of the year's sitting days.

The senate has a regular schedule that structures its typical working week.

The Senate and legislation


All bills
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

 must be passed by a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before they become law. Most bills originate in the House of Representatives, and the great majority are introduced by the government.

The usual procedure is for notice to be given by a government minister the day before the bill is introduced into the Senate. Once introduced the bill goes through several stages of consideration. It is given a first reading
Reading (legislature)
A reading of a bill is a debate on the bill held before the general body of a legislature, as opposed to before a committee or other group. In the Westminster system, there are usually several readings of a bill among the stages it passes through before becoming law as an Act of Parliament...

, which represents the bill's formal introduction into the chamber.

The first reading is followed by debate on the principle or policy of the bill (the second reading debate). Agreement to the bill in principle is indicated by a second reading, after which the detailed provisions of the bill are considered by one of a number of methods (see below). Bills may also be referred by either House to their specialised standing or select committees. Agreement to the policy and the details is confirmed by a third and final reading. These processes ensure that a bill is systematically considered before being agreed to.

The Senate has detailed rules in its standing orders that govern how a bill is considered at each stage. This process of consideration can vary greatly in the amount of time taken. Consideration of some bills is completed in a single day, while complex or controversial legislation may take months to pass through all stages of Senate scrutiny.

The Senate's committees


In addition to the work of the main chamber, the Senate also has a large number of committees
Australian Senate committees
This article is about committees of the Senate. For consideration of bills 'in committee', see Committee of the WholeThe committees of the Australian Senate are committees of Senators, established by the Australian Senate, for purposes determined by that body...

 which deal with matters referred to them by the Senate. These committees also conduct hearings three times a year in which the government's budget and operations are examined. These are known as estimates hearings. Traditionally dominated by scrutiny of government activities by non-government senators, they provide the opportunity for all senators to ask questions of ministers and public officials. This may occasionally include government senators examining activities of independent publicly funded bodies, or pursuing issues arising from previous governments' terms of office. There is however a convention that senators do not have access to the files and records of previous governments when there has been an election resulting in a change in the party in government.

Holding governments to account


One of the functions of the Senate, both directly and through its committees
Australian Senate committees
This article is about committees of the Senate. For consideration of bills 'in committee', see Committee of the WholeThe committees of the Australian Senate are committees of Senators, established by the Australian Senate, for purposes determined by that body...

, is to scrutinise government activity. The vigour of this scrutiny has been fuelled for many years by the fact that the party in government has seldom had a majority in the Senate. Whereas in the House of Representatives the government's majority has sometimes limited that chamber's capacity to implement executive scrutiny, the opposition and minor parties have been able to use their Senate numbers as a basis for conducting inquiries into government operations. When the Howard government
Howard Government
The Howard Government refers to the federal Executive Government of Australia led by Prime Minister John Howard. It was made up of members of the Liberal–National Coalition, which won a majority of seats in the Australian House of Representatives at four successive elections. The Howard Government...

 won control of the Senate in 2005, it sparked a debate about the effectiveness of the Senate in holding the government of the day accountable for its actions. Government members argued that the Senate continued to be a forum of vigorous debate, and its committees continued to be active. The Opposition leader in the Senate suggested that the government had attenuated the scrutinising activities of the Senate. The Australian Democrats
Australian Democrats
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after principals of those minor parties secured the commitment of former Liberal minister Don Chipp, as a high profile leader...

, a minor party which has frequently played mediating and negotiating roles in the Senate, expressed concern about a diminished role for the Senate's committees.

Votes in the Senate


Senators are called upon to vote on matters before the Senate. These votes are called divisions in the case of Senate business, or ballots where the vote is to choose a senator to fill an office of the Senate (such as President of the Australian Senate
President of the Australian Senate
The President of the Australian Senate is the presiding officer of the Australian Senate, the upper house of the Parliament of Australia. The presiding officer of the lower house is the Speaker of the House of Representatives....

).

Party discipline in Australian politics
Politics of Australia
The Politics of Australia take place within the framework of a parliamentary democracy, with electoral procedures appropriate to a two-party system. Australia is governed as a federation and as a constitutional monarchy, with an adversarial legislature based upon the Westminster system...

 is extremely tight, so divisions almost always are decided on party lines. Nevertheless, the existence of minor parties holding the balance of power in the Senate has made divisions in that chamber more important and occasionally more dramatic than in the House of Representatives.

When a division is to be held, bells ring throughout the parliament building for four minutes, during which time senators must go to the chamber. At the end of that period the doors are locked and a vote is taken, by identifying and counting senators according to the side of the chamber on which they sit (ayes to the right of the chair, noes to the left). The whole procedure takes around eight minutes. Senators with commitments that keep them from the chamber may make arrangements in advance to be 'paired' with a senator of the opposite political party, so that their absence does not affect the outcome of the vote.

The senate contains an even number of senators, so a tied vote is a real prospect (which regularly occurs when the party numbers in the chamber are finely balanced). Section 23 of the Constitution requires that in the event of a tied division, the question is resolved in the negative. The system is however different for ballots for offices such as the President. If such a ballot is tied, the Clerk of the Senate
Clerk of the Australian Senate
The Clerk of the Australian Senate is the head of the Department of the Senate, which is the parliamentary department supporting the work of the Australian Senate...

 decides the outcome by the drawing of lots. In reality, conventions govern most ballots, so this situation does not arise.

Political parties and voting outcomes


The extent to which party discipline determines the outcome of parliamentary votes is highlighted by the rarity with which members of the same political party will find themselves on opposing sides of a vote. The exceptions are where a conscience vote
Conscience vote
A conscience vote or free vote is a type of vote in a legislative body where legislators are allowed to vote according to their own personal conscience rather than according to an official line set down by their political party....

 is allowed by one or more of the political parties; and occasions where a member of a political party crosses the floor
Crossing the floor
In politics, crossing the floor has two meanings referring to a change of allegiance in a Westminster system parliament.The term originates from the British House of Commons, which is configured with the Government and Opposition facing each other on rows of benches...

 of the chamber to vote against the instructions of their party whip
Whip (politics)
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy...

. Crossing the floor very rarely occurs, but is more likely in the Senate than in the House of Representatives.

One feature of the government having a majority in both chambers between 1 July 2005 and the 2007 elections was the potential for an increased emphasis on internal differences between members of the government parties. This period saw the first instances of crossing the floor by senators since the conservative government took office in 1996: Gary Humphries
Gary Humphries
Gary John Joseph Humphries has been a member of the Australian Senate representing the Australian Capital Territory for the Liberal Party of Australia since 2003...

 on civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory, and Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Thomas Gerald Joyce , Australian politician, has been a National Party member of the Australian Senate representing the state of Queensland since July 2005...

 on voluntary student unionism. A more significant potential instance of floor crossing was averted when the government withdrew its Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill, of which several government senators had been critical, and which would have been defeated had it proceeded to the vote. The controversy that surrounded these examples demonstrated both the importance of backbencher
Backbencher
In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a Member of Parliament or a legislator who does not hold governmental office and is not a Front Bench spokesperson in the Opposition...

s in party policy deliberations and the limitations to their power to influence outcomes in the Senate chamber.

In September 2008, Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Thomas Gerald Joyce , Australian politician, has been a National Party member of the Australian Senate representing the state of Queensland since July 2005...

 became leader of the Nationals in the Senate, and stated that his party in the upper house would no longer necessarily vote with their Liberal counterparts.

The composition of the Senate


Senate (STV
Single transferable vote
The single transferable vote is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through preferential voting. Under STV, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most preferred candidate, and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, any surplus or...

 GV
Group voting ticket
Group voting tickets are a way to simplify preferential voting, usually in an election held under the single transferable vote or the alternative vote system....

) — Turnout 93.82% (CV
Compulsory voting
Compulsory voting is a system in which electors are obliged to vote in elections or attend a polling place on voting day. If an eligible voter does not attend a polling place, he or she may be subject to punitive measures such as fines, community service, or perhaps imprisonment if fines are unpaid...

) — Informal 3.75%
Party Votes % Swing Seats won Total seats Change
  Liberal/National Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

4,871,871 38.30 –1.47 18 34 –3
  Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

4,469,734 35.13 –5.17 15 31 –1
  Australian Greens
Australian Greens
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

1,667,315 13.11 +4.07 6 9 +4
  Family First Party
Family First Party
The Family First Party is a socially conservative minor political party in Australia. It has two members in the South Australian Legislative Council...

267,493 2.10 +0.48 0 0 –1
  Democratic Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party
The Democratic Labor Party is a political party in Australia that espouses social conservatism and opposes neo-liberalism. The first "DLP" Senator in decades, party vice-president John Madigan was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal...

134,987 1.06 +0.14 1 1 +1
  Independents 55,786 0.44 –0.94 0 1 0
  Other 1,255,047 9.86 +2.89 0 0 0
  Total 12,722,233     40 76

Historical


The Senate has included representatives from a range of political parties, including several parties that have seldom or never had representation in the House of Representatives, but which have consistently secured a small but significant level of electoral support, as the table shows.
Year Total ALP
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

Democrats
Australian Democrats
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after principals of those minor parties secured the commitment of former Liberal minister Don Chipp, as a high profile leader...

Greens
Australian Greens
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is an Australian green political party.The party was formed in 1992; however, its origins can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group , the first Green party in the world, which...

Other
1901–1903 36 8 28 (11 Prot
Protectionist Party
The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1889 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in...

, 17 FT
Free Trade Party
The Free Trade Party which was officially known as the Australian Free Trade and Liberal Association, also referred to as the Revenue Tariff Party in some states and renamed the Anti-Socialist Party in 1906, was an Australian political party, formally organised between 1889 and 1909...

)
1903–1906 36 14 22 (Trenwith
William Trenwith
William Arthur Trenwith was a pioneer trade union official and labour movement politician for Victoria, Australia.Born to convict parents at Launceston, Tasmania, he followed his father's trade as a bootmaker...

, 8 Prot, 12 FT, 1 RTP)
1906–1910 36 15 21 (Trenwith, 6 Prot, 14 AS)
1910–1913 36 22 14 (Lib
Commonwealth Liberal Party
The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1916, shortly after federation....

)
1913–1914 36 29 7 (Lib)
1914–1917 36 31 5 (Lib)
1917–1920 36 12 24 (Nat
Nationalist Party of Australia
The Nationalist Party of Australia was an Australian political party. It was formed on 17 February 1917 from a merger between the conservative Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, the name given to the pro-conscription defectors from the Australian Labor Party led by Prime...

)
1920–1923 36 1 35 (Nat)
1923–1926 36 12 24
1926–1929 36 8 28
1929–1932 36 7 29
1932–1935 36 10 26
1935–1938 36 3 33
1938–1941 36 16 20
1941–1944 36 17 19
1944–1947 36 22 14
1947–1950 36 33 3
1950–1951 60 34 26
1951–1956 60 28 32
1953–1956 60 29 31
1956–1959 60 28 30 2 (DLP
Democratic Labor Party (historical)
The Democratic Labor Party was an Australian political party that existed from 1955 until 1978.-History:The DLP was formed as a result of a split in the Australian Labor Party that began in 1954. The split was between the party's national leadership, under the then party leader Dr H.V...

)
1959–1962 60 26 32 2 (DLP)
1962–1965 60 28 30 2 (Turnbull, 1 DLP)
1965–1968 60 27 30 3 (Turnbull, 2 DLP)
1968–1971 60 27 28 5 (Turnbull, 5 DLP)
1971–1974 60 26 26 8 (Negus
Syd Negus
Sydney Ambrose "Syd" Negus was an Australian politician who was an Independent Senator for Western Australia from 1971 until 1974...

, Turnbull, 6 DLP)
1974–1975 60 29 29 2 (Townley
Michael Townley (Australian politician)
Michael Townley is a former Tasmanian senator. He served both as an Independent and as a Liberal Party of Australia senator....

, 1 LM)
1975–1978 64 27 35 2 (Harradine
Brian Harradine
Richard William Brian Harradine , Australian politician, was an independent member of the Australian Senate from 1975 to 2005, representing the state of Tasmania. He was the longest-serving independent federal politician in Australian history, and a Father of the Senate.He was born in Quorn, South...

, 1 LM)
1978–1981 64 26 35 2 1 (Harradine)
1981–1983 64 27 31 5 1 (Harradine)
1983–1985 64 30 28 5 1 (Harradine)
1985–1987 76 34 33 7 2 (Harradine, 1 NDP
Nuclear Disarmament Party
The Nuclear Disarmament Party was a political party in Australia. The party was formed in 1984 and enjoyed considerable initial success.-Foundation, the 1984 election, and the split:...

)
1987–1990 76 32 34 7 3 (Harradine, Vallentine
Jo Vallentine
Josephine Vallentine is a peace activist and a former Australian Senator for Western Australia. Vallentine entered the Senate on 1 July 1985 after she had been elected as a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Party but she sat as an independent and then as a member of the Greens Western Australia...

, 1 NDP)
1990–1993 76 32 34 8 1 1 (Harradine)
1993–1996 76 30 36 7 2 1 (Harradine)
1996–1999 76 28 37 7 2 2 (Harradine, Colston
Mal Colston
Malcolm Arthur "Mal" Colston , Australian politician, was a Senator in the Parliament of Australia representing the state of Queensland between 1975 and 1999...

 )
1999–2002 76 29 35 9 1 2 (Harradine, 1 One Nation)
2002–2005 76 29 35 8 2 2 (Harradine, 1 One Nation)
2005–2008 76 28 39 4 4 1 (Family First
Family First Party
The Family First Party is a socially conservative minor political party in Australia. It has two members in the South Australian Legislative Council...

)
2008–2011 76 32 37 5 2 (Xenophon
Nick Xenophon
Nicholas "Nick" Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and politician. He attended Prince Alfred College, and studied law at the University of Adelaide, attaining his Bachelor of Laws in 1981. Xenophon established and became principal of his own law firm, Xenophon & Co....

, 1 Family First)
2011–2014 76 31 34 9 2 (Xenophon, 1 DLP
Democratic Labor Party
The Democratic Labor Party is a political party in Australia that espouses social conservatism and opposes neo-liberalism. The first "DLP" Senator in decades, party vice-president John Madigan was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal...

)

See also

  • President of the Australian Senate
    President of the Australian Senate
    The President of the Australian Senate is the presiding officer of the Australian Senate, the upper house of the Parliament of Australia. The presiding officer of the lower house is the Speaker of the House of Representatives....

  • Double dissolution
    Double dissolution
    A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate....

  • Women in the Australian Senate
    Women in the Australian Senate
    There have been 80 women in the Australian Senate since the establishment of the Parliament of Australia. Women have had the right to both vote and sit in parliament since 1902 and all states and territories have been represented by a woman in the Senate...

  • Clerk of the Australian Senate
    Clerk of the Australian Senate
    The Clerk of the Australian Senate is the head of the Department of the Senate, which is the parliamentary department supporting the work of the Australian Senate...

  • Members of the Parliament of Australia who have served for at least 30 years
    Members of the Parliament of Australia who have served for at least 30 years
    This is a list of Members of the Parliament of Australia who have served for at least 30 years.Their service does not need to be continuous; broken terms are aggregated.All these periods of service were spent in one House exclusively...

  • Father of the Australian Senate
  • List of Australian Senate appointments
  • Members of the Australian Senate, 2011–2014
    Members of the Australian Senate, 2011–2014
    This is a list of members of the Australian Senate between 2011 and 2014. This includes senators elected at the 2007 federal election , and those elected at the 2010 federal election...

  • Candidates of the Australian federal election, 2007
    Candidates of the Australian federal election, 2007
    This article provides details on candidates who stood at the 2007 Australian federal election.Nominations were formally declared open by the Australian Electoral Commission following the issue of the writ on Wednesday, 17 October 2007. Nominations closed at 12 noon Thursday, 1 November 2007...

  • Canberra Press Gallery
    Canberra Press Gallery
    The Canberra Press Gallery, officially called the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, is the name given to the approximately 180 journalists and their support staff, including producers, editors and camera crews, who report the workings of the Australian Parliament...

  • United States Senate
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...


Further reading

  • Stanley Bach, Platypus and Parliament: The Australian Senate in Theory and Practice, Department of the Senate, 2003.
  • Harry Evans, Odgers' Australian Senate Practice, A detailed reference work on all aspects of the Senate's powers, procedures and practices.
  • John Halligan, Robin Miller and John Power, Parliament in the Twenty-first Century: Institutional Reform and Emerging Roles, Melbourne University Publishing, 2007.
  • Wilfried Swenden, Federalism and Second Chambers: Regional Representation in Parliamentary Federations: the Australian Senate and German Bundesrat Compared, P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2004.
  • John Uhr, The Senate and Proportional Representation: Public policy justifications of minority representation, Working Paper no. 69, Graduate Program in Public Policy, Australian National University, 1999.

External links