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Parliament of Australia

Background Color#00008B
Text Color#FFFFFF
NameParliament of Australia
Legislature43rd Parliament
Coa PicAustralian coat of arms 1912 edit.png
Coa Res150px
House TypeBicameral
HousesHouse of Representatives
Leader2 TypePresident of the Senate
Leader2John Hogg
Election226 August 2008
Leader1 TypeSpeaker of the House of Representatives
Leader1Harry Jenkins
Election112 February 2008
Members150 HoR members,
76 Senators
House1House of Representatives
Election221 August 2010
Structure1Australian House of Reps June 2011.svg
Structure1 Res150px
Structure1 AltCurrent Structure of the House of Representatives
Political Groups1Government (72)
*  Labor (72) Opposition
Coalition (72)

Liberal (44) *  LNP (21) *  Nationals (6) *  CLP (1) Crossbench (6)
*   Independent (4) *   Greens (1) *   Nationals WA (1)
Structure2Australian Senate July 2011.svg
Structure2 Res150px
Structure2 AltCurrent Structure of the Senate
Political Groups2Government (31)
*  Labor (31) Opposition
Coalition (34)

Liberal (24) *  LNP (6) *  Nationals (3) *  CLP (1) Crossbench (11)
*   Greens (9) *   DLP (1) *   Independent (1)
Last Election121 August 2010
Last Election221 August 2010
Session RoomParliament House, Canberra.jpg
Meeting PlaceParliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

     Home | Legislature | 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. Under Section 1 of the Constitution of Australia, Parliament consists of three components: the Queen, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. The Queen is usually represented by the Governor-General. The Australian Parliament is the world's sixth oldest continuous democracy.

The upper house, the Senate, consists of 76 members: twelve for each state, and two for each mainland territory. Senators are elected using a form of proportional voting. The lower house, the House of Representatives, currently consists of 150 members, who represent districts known as electoral divisions (commonly referred to as "electorates" or "seats"). The number of members is not fixed, but can vary with boundary changes resulting from electoral redistributions, which are required on a regular basis. The most recent overall increase in the size of the House, which came into effect at the 1984 election, increased the number of members from 125 to 148. It reduced to 147 at the 1993 election, returned to 148 at the 1996 election, and has been 150 since the 2001 election. Each division elects one member using compulsory preferential voting. The two Houses meet in separate chambers of Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra.

The present Parliament, as elected at the 2010 election, is the 43rd Federal Parliament since Federation. It is the first hung parliament in the House of Representatives since the 1940 election, with Labor and the Coalition winning 72 seats each of 150 total. Six crossbenchers hold the balance of power: Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent MPs Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor declared their support for Labor on confidence and supply, independent MP Bob Katter and National Party of Western Australia MP Tony Crook declared their support for the Coalition on confidence and supply. The resulting 76 � 74 margin entitled Labor to form a minority government. In the 76-seat Senate, where no party tends to have a majority of seats, the Greens gained the sole balance of power with a total of nine seats, previously holding a shared balance of power with the Family First Party and independent Nick Xenophon. Labor holding 31 seats, they require an additional eight non-Labor votes to pass legislation. The Coalition holds 34 seats, while the two remaining seats are occupied by Xenophon and Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan.

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