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Parliament

Parliament House, Canberra

1. OVERVIEW, KEY TERMS AND HISTORY
Overview of Parliament; Key terms relevant to parliament and the political system; Parliamentary History.

2. FUNCTIONS OF PARLIAMENT
Make and breaking governments; representing the electorate; representing the States; legislating; monitoring the executive; controlling public expenditure; forum for debate; expression of grievances.

3. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Roles and functions; membership; data on legislative activity;

4. SENATE
The Australian Senate is one of the most powerful upper houses of any parliament in the world. With equal representation of the States, a proportional voting system that allows minority parties to win seats, the Senate is rarely controlled by the Government or the Opposition.

5. FIRST/MAIDEN SPEECHES
Links to recent and some historical maiden speeches by new members of parliament.

6. PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES, RULES & OCCASIONS
Standing Orders; arcane rituals and curiously named people; rules of debate.

7. LEGISLATING / LAW-MAKING
How legislation is made, passed and implemented; examples of legislation.

8. PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS
Question Time; Questions Without Notice.

9. PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
House committees; Senate committees; Joint committees; Select committees; Standing committees.

10. HANSARD
The official verbatim record of everything that is said in Parliament.

11. THE OPPOSITION
The second major group in Parliament; Alternative prime minister; criticism; alternative policies.

12. BACKBENCHERS
House backbenchers; Senate backbenchers; roles, power and influence.

13. THE SPEAKER
Presiding officer in the House of Representatives; President of the Senate; role, power and independence.

14. DEADLOCKS AND DOUBLE DISSOLUTIONS
Parliamentary deadlocks between the House and Senate; double dissolutions.

15. PARLIAMENTARY REFORM
Sitting times; debate rules; Senate powers; an independent Speaker.

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