Backbenchers

Backbench members of parliament are the people who sit behind the government’s ministers or the opposition’s shadow ministers.

Backbenchers are those Members of Parliament who are neither party leaders, ministers or shadow ministers.

Backbenchers may be members of the House of Representatives or the Senate.

They are often known as private members.

The main task of backbenchers is to represent their electorates and support their party in parliamentary debates and votes. Often dismissed as of lesser importance than frontbenchers, the ordinary private member is also at the electoral frontline.

A significant power of backbenchers is their ability to elect and remove party leaders.

  • Overview of Backbenchers – the types of backbenchers, their roles in parliament, the party and the electorate, and factors affecting their operation.
  • First Speeches – samples of first, or maiden, speeches to the House and the Senate, many with audio or video

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