Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Note: This article is about the Legislative Assemblies in the British context. For other usages, see the end of this article.
A Legislative Assembly in British constitutional thought is the second-to-top or third-to-top tier of a government led by a Governor-General, Governor or a Lieutenant-Governor, inferior to an Executive Council and equal to or inferior to a Legislative Council. Though the Legislative Council should in theory operate as a legislature of a governorate (not necessarily a colony) with elected members, the separate development of governments in the British Empire and Commonwealth has seen the Councils evolve.
Politicians elected to a Legislative Assembly are usually referred to as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), although there are some exceptions. In the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador members have assumed different historical titled, such as Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP, Ontario), Member of the National Assembly (MNA, Quebec, see Secessionist movements of Canada) and Member of the House of Assembly (MHA, Newfoundland and Labrador).
Where the Legislative Assembly functions purely as a legislature
- Australia: Queensland, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.
- Canada: all provinces and territories, although Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador use different titles for their legislatures.
- Northern Ireland
- Norfolk Island
Where the Legislative Assembly has assumed extra functions
Usually in this case the Legislative Assembly functioned as an Lower House or first chamber of a bicameral legislature operating under the Westminster System. The superior chamber or Upper House is sometimes the Legislative Council. This development is often seen when the governorates gain more responsible government.
- Australia: New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. South Australia and Tasmania call the lower house the House of Assembly.
- Canada: Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Quebec previously had legislative councils that functioned similar to the Canadian Senate at a provincial level. All have since been abolished.
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