Victorian Legislative Council


Victorian Legislative Council

Infobox Legislature
name = Victorian Legislative Council
coa_pic =
coa_res =
coa-pic =
coa-res =
session_room = Vic legislative council 1878.jpg
house_type = Upper house
houses =
leader1_type = President
leader1 = Bob Smith
party1 = Labor Party
election1 = 19 December 2006
leader2_type =
leader2 =
party2 =
election2 =
members = 40
p_groups = Labor
Liberal
National
Green
Democratic Labor
election3 = 25 November 2006
meeting_place = Parliament House, Melbourne, Victoria
website = [http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/default.htm www.parliament.vic.gov.au]

The Legislative Council, or upper house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit in Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne. It serves as a house of review, in a similar fashion to its federal counterpart, the Australian Senate. 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 is presided over by a President, equivalent to the Assembly's Speaker.

The Council was created in 1851, four years before the Assembly.

Today the Council has 40 members serving four-year terms. They represent 8 electoral regions, with five members representing each region.

Old system, to 2006

The Legislative Council was formerly elected from 22 single-member electorates called "provinces". The members of the council sat for two assembly terms so two members sat for each province. This is a list of the provinces as of 2005:
* Ballarat Province
* Central Highlands Province
* Chelsea Province
* Doutta Galla Province
* East Yarra Province
* Eumemmerring Province
* Geelong Province
* Gippsland Province
* Higinbotham Province
* Jika Jika Province
* Koonung Province
* Melbourne Province
* Melbourne North Province
* Melbourne West Province
* Monash Province
* North Eastern Province
* North Western Province
* Silvan Province
* Templestowe Province
* Waverley Province
* Western Province
* Western Port Province

The following provinces also existed but were abolished at various dates up to 2002:
* Boronia Province
* Eastern Province
* Loddon Province
* Northern Province
* Nunawading Province
* South Bourke, Evelyn and Mornington Province
* Southern Province
* South Eastern Province
* South Yarra Province

The old system tended to favour the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia (often in coalition) over the Australian Labor Party and other parties. This caused many instances where a Labor-controlled Assembly faced an opposition-controlled Council — a rare occurrence elsewhere in Australia.

New system, since 2006

The system changed for the 2006 Victorian election, as a result of major reforms passed by the Labor government, led by Steve Bracks, in 2003. Under the new system members serve fixed four-year terms unless the Assembly is dissolved sooner. The state is divided into the following eight electoral regions:

* Eastern Metropolitan Region
* Eastern Victoria Region
* Northern Metropolitan Region
* Northern Victoria Region
* South Eastern Metropolitan Region
* Southern Metropolitan Region
* Western Metropolitan Region
* Western Victoria Region

Each region consists of 11 contiguous Legislative Assembly districts with about 420,000 electors who elect five members of the Legislative Council by the single transferable vote. There are now 40 members of the Legislative Council, four fewer than before. The changes have introduced proportional representation. The opportunity was also taken to remove the Council's ability to block supply. The reforms have made it easier for minor parties to gain election to the chamber and possibly gain the balance of power, as opposed to majority control by a single major party.

Distribution of Seats

See also

* President of the Victorian Legislative Council — contains a list of all past Presidents.
* Parliaments of the Australian states and territories
* List of members of the Victorian Legislative Council

References

* [http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/president/former.htm Presidents of the Legislative Council] at the Victorian Parliament website


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