Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
The Assembly has 93 members, each coming from single-member electorates, which are commonly known as seats. Voting is by the preferential system, as with the equivalent federal chamber, the Australian House of Representatives.
The Legislative Assembly was created in 1856 with the introduction of a bi-cameral parliament. In the beginning, only men were eligible to be members of the Assembly, and only around one half of men were able to pass the property or income qualifications required to vote. Two years later, the Electoral Reform Act, which was passed despite the opposition of the Legislative Council, saw the introduction of a far more democratic system, allowing anyone who had been resident in the colony for six months the right to vote, and removing property requirements in order to stand as a candidate. Women were granted the right to vote in 1902, and gained the right to be members of the Assembly in 1918, with the first successful candidate being elected in 1925. Aboriginal people did not gain the right to vote until 1967.
Most legislation is initiated in the Legislative Assembly. The party or coalition with the most seats in the lower house is invited by the Governor to form government. The leader of that party subsequently becomes Premier of New South Wales, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian political parties traditionally vote along party lines, most legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the Legislative Assembly.
As with the federal parliament and Australian other states and territories, voting in the Assembly is compulsory for all those over the age of 18. Elections are held every four years on the fourth Saturday in March, exceptional circumstances notwithstanding, as the result of a 1995 referendum.
- Parliaments of the Australian states and territories
- Members of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, 2003-2007
Current distribution of seats
|Australian Labor Party||54|
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