Victorian Legislative Council

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Legislative Council
57th Parliament
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Founded 1851
Leadership
Bruce AtkinsonLiberal
since 21 December 2010
Matt VineyLabor
since 21 December 2010
Leader of the Government
David DavisLiberal
since December 2010
Leader of the Opposition
John LendersLabor
since December 2010
David KochLiberal
since December 2010
Shaun LeaneLabor
since December 2010
Structure
Seats 40
Victorian Legislative Council November 2010.svg
Legislative Council political groups
Government
    Liberal (18)
    National (3)
Opposition
    Labor (16)
Crossbench
    Green (3)
Legislative Council committees Standing Committees
* Economy and Infrastructure
* Environment and Planning
* Legal and Social Issues
Domestic Committees
* Privileges
* Standing Orders
Elections
Last general election
27 November 2010
Next general election
29 November 2014
Meeting place
Vic legislative council 1878.jpg
Legislative Council Chamber,
Parliament House, Melbourne,
Victoria, Australia
Website
Vic Legislative Council

The Victorian Legislative Council (VLC), is the upper of the two houses of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia; the lower house being the Legislative Assembly. Both houses sit in Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne. The Legislative Council 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 the President of the Legislative Council.

History[edit]

V.L.C. Electoral districts, 1851–1854

The Legislative Council was created in 1851 (as a single or unicameral house) upon the separation of the colony of Victoria from the colony of New South Wales. The Council initially consisted of ten nominated members and twenty elected members from sixteen electorates.[1] The Legislative Council was expanded in 1853 to 18 nominees and 36 electives.[2] A further expansion of the Council occurred in 1855, when eight new members were elected from five new electorates, with one new nominee.[3] [4]

V.L.C. Electoral provinces, 1856–1882

The Legislative Council was established five years before the Legislative Assembly (lower house) was created in 1856; from that year the Council formed the upper house of the Parliament of Victoria and initially consisted of six provinces electing five members each.[5]

The Legislative Council was later elected from a varying number of provinces. In 1882 several new Provinces were created with Central and Eastern being abolished.[6] In 1904 more Provinces were created[7] and members of the council sat for two assembly terms so two members (MLCs) represented each province, elected in rotation one at a time by majority-preferential (AV) vote.

Composition[edit]

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

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. 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.

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[citation needed]. This caused many instances where a Labor-controlled Assembly faced an opposition-controlled Council — a rare occurrence elsewhere in Australia.

Current distribution of seats[edit]

Party Seats held Percentage of Council
Liberal/National Coalition    
    Liberal Party
18
45.0
  National Party
3
7.5
Sub-Total
21
52.5
  Australian Labor Party
16
40.0
  Greens
3
7.5
Total
40
100.0

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Victorian Electoral Act". New South Wales Government. 1851. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Sweetman, p.108
  3. ^ Sweetman, p.110
  4. ^ "An Act to further alter "The Victoria Electoral Act of 1851" and to increase the Number of Members of the Legislative Council of Victoria". 1855. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Edward Sweetman (1920). Constitutional Development of Victoria, 1851-6. Whitcombe & Tombs Limited. p. 183. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Victoria Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Session 1882 41. Melb.: John Ferres. 1883. p. 2670. 
  7. ^ Victoria Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Session 1904 107. Melb.: R. S. Brain. 1905. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]