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Full Text Of Victoria’s Constitution (Parliamentary Reform) Act 2003

This is the full text of the parliamentary reform bill passed by both houses of the Victorian Parliament.

The bill introduces fixed 4-year terms and reforms the Legislative Council by reducing its membership and introduces proportional representation. [Read more…]

Victorian Parliamentary Reform – Explanatory Memorandum

This is the text of the explanatory memorandum that was circulated with the Constitution (Parliamentary Reform) Bill.

The bill involves historic reform of the Victorian Parliament. It reforms the Legislative Council, eliminates the power of the upper house to block Supply and introduces fixed four-year terms for both houses. [Read more…]

Historic Reform Of Victorian Parliament

The Victorian Parliament has passed historic legislation providing for reform of the Legislative Council, fixed four-year terms and the abolition of the Council’s power to block Supply.

The legislation – the Constitution (Parliamentary Reform) Bill – was introduced by the Premier, Steve Bracks to the Legislative Assembly on February 26. It was passed with amendments on March 20 and introduced into the Legislative Council on the same day by John Lenders. The Bill was passed without amendments on March 27.

The bill is the first major reform to be passed by the Legislative Council since the Labor Government secured a comfortable majority in the general election of November 30, 2002.

The bill provides for:

  • a fixed four year parliamentary term, unless dissolution of the Assembly occurs sooner;
  • re-constitution of the Council to consist of 40 members, elected from 8 regions each region returning 5 members;
  • proportional representation with optional preferential voting for members of the Council;
  • the filling of casual vacancies in the Council;
  • the President of the Council to have a deliberative, but not casting, vote;
  • recognition of the principle of Government mandate;
  • removal of the ability of the Council to block supply (Annual Appropriation) Bills;
  • a dispute resolution process for deadlocked Bills;
  • the entrenchment of certain legislative provisions.

The legislation fixes the last Saturday in November every four years as the election date. The Legislative Council, a bastion of conservative domination for over 150 years, is to be reduced in numbers from 44 to 40. Proportional representation will mean that the ALP will likely lose its majority at the next election, with the balance of power going to minor parties and/or independents.


Simon Crean: A Modern Parliament For A Modern Australia

The beginning of a new parliamentary term always sees talk of reforms to the Standing Orders and other aspects of the operations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Parliament HouseThe most frequently cited reform is to the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Opposition can also be expected to complain about the number of days the Parliament meets, whilst the Government of the day will criticise the behaviour of the Senate.

The newly-elected Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean, has proposed a number of reforms to the operation of the Federal Parliament. Chief amongst these is a plan for an independent Speaker, with an independent Deputy Speaker chosen from the Opposition. [Read more…]