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New South Wales Legislative Council

From Academic Kids

The Legislative Council, or upper house, is one of the two chambers of the parliament of New South Wales in Australia. The other is the Legislative Assembly. It sits in the state capital, Sydney. Although it is possible for legislation to be first introduced in the Council, most bills receive their first hearing in the Legislative Assembly.

The Council has 42 members, elected by proportional representation, as with the equivalent federal chamber, the Australian Senate. Each member serves an eight-year term, with half the Council coming up for election every four years.

The Legislative Council was established in 1824 as the first legislature in Australia - a five-member advisory council. It grew to seven members in 1825, and between ten and fifteen in 1829. In 1836, it was radically reformed, with the number of members increased to 54, with two-thirds of them being elected. The Council presided over the drafting of a new state constitution in 1853, which three years later saw a major change in its role - the creation of a bicameral parliament, with most legislative power being granted to a fully-elected Legislative Assembly, and a Council that would act as a house of review, entirely appointed by the Governor.

In 1925, 1926 and 1929, Premier Jack Lang made attempts at abolishing the Legislative Council, but all were subsequently unsuccessful. The debate did, however, result in another round of reforms, and in 1933, the law was changed so that a quarter of the Legislative Council was elected every three years by the Legislative Assembly and the remnant of the Legislative Council, rather than appointed by the Governor. It was not until 1978 that the Council was to become directly elected, with the number of members being slashed drastically to 45, which was then decreased again to 42 in 1991.

As with the federal parliament and Australian other states and territories, voting in the Council is compulsory for all those over the age of 18. Elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in March, exceptional circumstances notwithstanding, as the result of a 1995 referendum.

See also

Current distribution of seats

PartySeats Held
Australian Labor Party18
Liberal Party of Australia9
The Nationals4
The Greens3
Christian Democratic Party2
Australian Democrats1
Outdoor Recreation Party1
One Nation1
Reform the Legal System1
Shooters Party1
Unity1
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