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The House of Representatives is the
lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, Wes ...
of the
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interac ...
Parliament of Australia The Parliament of Australia (officially the Federal Parliament, also called the Commonwealth Parliament) is the legislative branch A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind ...

Parliament of Australia
, the upper house being the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. Its composition and powers are established in Chapter I of the
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it i ...

Constitution of Australia
. The term of members of the House of Representatives is a maximum of three years from the date of the first sitting of the House, but on only one occasion since Federation has the maximum term been reached. The House is almost always dissolved earlier, usually alone but sometimes in a
double dissolution A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks in the bicameral Parliament of Australia The Parliament of Australia (officially the Federal Parliament, also called the Commonwealth P ...
of both Houses. Elections for members of the House of Representatives are often held in conjunction with those for the Senate. A member of the House may be referred to as a "Member of Parliament" ("MP" or "Member"), while a member of the Senate is usually referred to as a "Senator". The government of the day and by extension the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
must achieve and maintain the confidence of this House in order to gain and remain in power. The House of Representatives currently consists of 151 members, elected by and representing single member districts known as electoral divisions (commonly referred to as "electorates" or "seats"). The number of members is not fixed but can vary with boundary changes resulting from electoral redistributions, which are required on a regular basis. The most recent overall increase in the size of the House, which came into effect at the 1984 election, increased the number of members from 125 to 148. It reduced to 147 at the 1993 election, returned to 148 at the 1996 election, increased to 150 at the 2001 election, and stands at 151 as of the
2019 Australian federal election The 2019 Australian federal election was held on Saturday 18 May 2019 to elect members of the 46th Parliament of Australia The Parliament of Australia (officially the Federal Parliament, also called the Commonwealth Parliament) is the ...
.Determination of membership entitlement to the House of Representatives
/ref> Each division elects one member using full-preferential
instant-runoff voting Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a type of ranked preferential vote counting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. IRV is also sometimes referred to as the alternative vote (AV), preferential voting, single transfe ...
. This was put in place after the
1918 Swan by-electionThe 1918 Swan by-election was a by-election A by-election (also spelled bye-election), also known as a special election in the United States and the Philippines, or a bypoll (India), is an election used to fill an office that has become vacant betwe ...
, which Labor unexpectedly won with the largest primary vote and the help of vote splitting in the conservative parties. The
Nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
government of the time changed the lower house voting system from
first-past-the-post In a first-past-the-post electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are org ...
to full-preferential voting, effective from the 1919 general election.


Origins and role

The of 1900 established the House of Representatives as part of the new system of
dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

dominion
government in newly Australia. The House is presided over by the
Speaker Speaker may refer to: Roles * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech, sometimes also called a speaker-hearer Electronics * Loudspeaker, a ...
. Members of the House are elected from single member electorates (geographic districts, commonly referred to as "seats" but officially known as "
Divisions of the Australian House of Representatives In Australia, electoral districts for the Australian House of Representatives are called divisions or more commonly referred to as electorates or seats. There are currently 151 single-member electorates for the Australian House of Representativ ...
"). One vote, one value legislation requires all electorates to have approximately the same number of voters with a maximum 10% variation. However, the baseline quota for the number of voters in an electorate is determined by the number of voters in the state in which that electorate is found. Consequently, the electorates of the smallest states and territories have more variation in the number of voters in their electorates. Meanwhile, all the states except Tasmania have electorates approximately within the same 10% tolerance, with most electorates holding 85,000 to 105,000 voters. Federal electorates have their boundaries redrawn or redistributed whenever a state or territory has its number of seats adjusted, if electorates are not generally matched by population size or if seven years have passed since the most recent redistribution. Voting is by the 'preferential system', also known as
instant-runoff voting Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a type of ranked preferential vote counting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. IRV is also sometimes referred to as the alternative vote (AV), preferential voting, single transfe ...
. A full allocation of preferences is required for a vote to be considered formal. This allows for a calculation of the
two-party-preferred vote In Australian politics The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accord ...
. Under Section 24 of the Constitution, each
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
is entitled to members based on a population quota determined from the "latest statistics of the Commonwealth." These statistics arise from the
census A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single cu ...
conducted under the auspices of section 51(xi). Until its repeal by the
1967 referendum The 1967 Australian referendum occurred on 27 May 1967 under the Holt Government. It contained three topics asked about in two questions, regarding the passage of two bills to alter the Australian Constitution. The first question (''Constitution ...
, section 127 prohibited the inclusion of Aboriginal people in section 24 determinations as including the Indigenous peoples could alter the distribution of seats between the states to the benefit of states with larger Aboriginal populations. Section 127, along with section 25 (allowing for race-based disqualification of voters by states) and the race power, have been described as racism built into Australia's constitutional DNA, and modifications to prevent lawful race-based discrimination have been proposed. The parliamentary entitlement of a state or territory is established by the Electoral Commissioner dividing the number of the people of the Commonwealth by twice the number of Senators. This is known as the "Nexus Provision". The reasons for this are twofold, to maintain a constant influence for the smaller states and to maintain a constant balance of the two Houses in case of a joint sitting after a double dissolution. The population of each state and territory is then divided by this quota to determine the number of members to which each state and territory is entitled. Under the
Australian Constitution The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it i ...

Australian Constitution
all original states are guaranteed at least five members. The Federal Parliament itself has decided that the
Australian Capital Territory The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a of containing the Australian capital city of and some surrounding s. It is located in the south-east of the country and is an within the s ...
and the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
should have at least one member each. According to the Constitution, the powers of both Houses are nearly equal, with the consent of both Houses needed to pass legislation. The difference mostly relates to taxation legislation. In practice, by convention, the person who can control a majority of votes in the lower house is invited by the Governor-General to form the Government. In practice that means that the leader of the party (or coalition of parties) with a majority of members in the House becomes the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
, who then can nominate other elected members of the government party in both the House and the Senate to become ministers responsible for various portfolios and administer government departments. Bills appropriating money (supply bills) can only be introduced in the lower house and thus only the party with a majority in the lower house can govern. In the current Australian party system, this ensures that virtually all contentious votes are along party lines, and the Government usually has a majority in those votes. The Opposition party's main role in the House is to present arguments against the Government's policies and legislation where appropriate, and attempt to hold the Government accountable as much as possible by asking questions of importance during and during debates on legislation. By contrast, the only period in recent times during which the government of the day has had a majority in the Senate was from July 2005 (following the 2004 election) to December 2007 (following the Coalition's defeat at the federal election that year). Hence, votes in the Senate are usually more meaningful. The House's well-established committee system is not always as prominent as the Senate committee system because of the frequent lack of Senate majority. In a reflection of the
United Kingdom House of Commons The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in ...

United Kingdom House of Commons
, the predominant colour of the furnishings in the House of Representatives is green. However, the colour was tinted slightly in the (opened 1988) to suggest the colour of
eucalyptus ''Eucalyptus'' () is a of over seven hundred species of s, shrubs or in the , Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the , including ', they are commonly known as s. Plants in the genus ''Eucalyptus'' have bark that is either smooth, ...

eucalyptus
trees. Also, unlike the House of Commons, the seating arrangement of the crossbench is curved, similar to the curved seating arrangement of the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the of the , with the being the . Together they compose the national of the . The House's composition is established by . The House is composed of representatives who sit in allocated to ea ...
. This suggests a more collaborative, and less oppositional, system than in the United Kingdom parliament (where all members of parliament are seated facing the opposite side). Australian parliaments are notoriously rowdy, with MPs often trading colourful insults. As a result, the Speaker often has to use the disciplinary powers granted to him or her under Standing Orders. Since 2015,
Australian Federal Police The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the national and principal federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of ...
officers armed with assault rifles have been present in both chambers of the Federal Parliament.


Electoral system

From the beginning of Federation until 1918,
first-past-the-post voting In a first-past-the-post electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are or ...
was used in order to elect members of the House of Representatives but since the
1918 Swan by-electionThe 1918 Swan by-election was a by-election A by-election (also spelled bye-election), also known as a special election in the United States and the Philippines, or a bypoll (India), is an election used to fill an office that has become vacant betwe ...
which
Labor Labour or labor may refer to: * , the delivery of a baby * , or work ** , physical work ** , a socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer Literature * , an American quarterly on the history of the labor movement * ', an academic ...
unexpectedly won with the largest primary vote due to vote splitting amongst the conservative parties, the
Nationalist PartyNationalist Party may refer to: Current parties * Bangladesh Nationalist Party * Basque Nationalist Party * Cornish Nationalist Party * Nacionalista Party (Philippines) * Nationalist Movement Party (Turkey) * Nationalist Party of Canada * Nationalist ...
government, a predecessor of the modern-day
Liberal Party of Australia The Liberal Party of Australia is a major Centre-right politics, centre-right list of political parties in Australia, political party in Australia, one of the two Major party, major parties in politics of Australia, Australian politics, along w ...
, changed the lower house voting system to
Instant-runoff voting Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a type of Ranked voting, ranked preferential electoral system, vote counting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. IRV is also sometimes referred to as the alternative vote (AV), pre ...
, which in Australia is known as full preferential voting, as of the subsequent 1919 election. This system has remained in place ever since, allowing the
Coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
parties to safely contest the same seats. Full-preference preferential voting re-elected the government at the 1990 election, the first time in federal history that Labor had obtained a net benefit from preferential voting. From 1949 onwards, the vast majority of electorates, nearly 90%, are won by the candidate leading on first preferences, giving the same result as if the same votes had been counted using
first-past-the-post voting In a first-past-the-post electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are or ...
. The highest proportion of seats (up to 2010) won by the candidate not leading on first preferences was the 1972 federal election, with 14 of 125 seats not won by the plurality candidate.


Allocation process for the House of Representatives

The main elements of the operation of preferential voting for single-member House of Representatives divisions are as follows: * Voters are required to place the number "1" against their first choice of candidate, known as the "first preference" or "primary vote". * Voters are then required to place the numbers "2", "3", etc., against all of the other candidates listed on the ballot paper, in order of preference. (''Every'' candidate must be numbered, otherwise the vote becomes "informal" (spoiled) and does not count.) * Prior to counting, each ballot paper is examined to ensure that it is validly filled in (and not invalidated on other grounds). * The number "1" or first preference votes are counted first. If no candidate secures an absolute majority (more than half) of first preference votes, then the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded from the count. * The votes for the eliminated candidate (i.e. from the ballots that placed the eliminated candidate first) are re-allocated to the remaining candidates according to the number "2" or "second preference" votes. * If no candidate has yet secured an absolute majority of the vote, then the next candidate with the fewest primary votes is eliminated. This preference allocation is repeated until there is a candidate with an absolute majority. Where a second (or subsequent) preference is expressed for a candidate who has already been eliminated, the voter's third or subsequent preferences are used. Following the full allocation of preferences, it is possible to derive a
two-party-preferred In Australian politics, the two-party-preferred vote (TPP or 2PP) is the result of an election or opinion poll after preferences have been distributed to the highest two candidates, who in some cases can be independents. For the purposes of TPP, ...
figure, where the votes have been allocated between the two main candidates in the election. In Australia, this is usually between the candidates from the Coalition parties and the
Australian Labor Party The Australian Labor Party (ALP), also simply known as Labor and historically spelt Labour, is the major , one of two in , along with the . It has been in in the since the . The ALP is a federal party, with in each . They are currently i ...
.


Relationship with the Government

Under the Constitution, the Governor-General has the power to appoint and dismiss "Ministers of State" who administer government departments. In practice, the Governor-General chooses ministers in accordance with the traditions of the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
that the Government be drawn from the party or coalition of parties that has a majority in the House of Representatives, with the leader of the largest party becoming
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
. These ministers then meet in a council known as
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
. Cabinet meetings are strictly private and occur once a week where vital issues are discussed and policy formulated. The Constitution does not recognise the Cabinet as a legal entity; it exists solely by convention. Its decisions do not in and of themselves have legal force. However, it serves as the practical expression of the Federal Executive Council, which is Australia's highest formal governmental body. In practice, the Federal Executive Council meets solely to endorse and give legal force to decisions already made by the Cabinet. All members of the Cabinet are members of the Executive Council. While the Governor-General is nominal presiding officer, he almost never attends Executive Council meetings. A senior member of the Cabinet holds the office of Vice-President of the Executive Council and acts as presiding officer of the Executive Council in the absence of the Governor-General. The Federal Executive Council is the Australian equivalent of the Executive Councils and
privy council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
s in other
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s such as the
Queen's Privy Council for Canada The 's Privy Council for Canada (QPC; french: Conseil privé de la Reine pour le Canada)) during the reign of a king., sometimes called Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council (PC), is the full group of personal consultant ...
and the
Privy Council of the United Kingdom The Privy Council of the United Kingdom, officially Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, or known simply as the Privy Council, is a privy council, formal body of advisers to the British monarchy, sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its ...
. A minister is not required to be a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives at the time of their appointment, but their office is forfeited if they do not become a member of either house within three months of their appointment. This provision was included in the Constitution (section 64) to enable the inaugural Ministry, led by
Edmund Barton Sir Edmund "Toby" Barton, (18 January 18497 January 1920) was an Australian politician and judge who served as the first prime minister of Australia from 1901 to 1903, holding office as the leader of the Protectionist Party. He resigned to bec ...

Edmund Barton
, to be appointed on 1 January 1901, even though the first federal elections were not scheduled to be held until 29 and 30 March. After the 1949 election,
Bill Spooner William "Sputnik" Spooner (born August 16, 1949) is a musician, guitarist, singer and songwriter, and the founder of The Tubes, a theatrical rock band. His songwriting is known for its use of humor and satire. He has released three solo albums: ...
was appointed a Minister in the
Fourth Menzies Ministry The Fourth Menzies Ministry (Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Libe ...

Fourth Menzies Ministry
on 19 December, however his term as a Senator did not begin until 22 February 1950. The provision was also used after the disappearance and presumed death of the Liberal Prime Minister
Harold Holt Harold Edward Holt (5 August 190817 December 1967) was an Australian politician who served as the 17th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the highest ...

Harold Holt
in December 1967. The Liberal Party elected
John Gorton Sir John Grey Gorton (9 September 1911 – 19 May 2002) was the nineteenth Prime Minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest officia ...

John Gorton
, then a Senator, as its new leader, and he was sworn in as Prime Minister on 10 January 1968 (following an interim ministry led by
John McEwen Sir John McEwen, (29 March 1900 – 20 November 1980) was an Australian politician who served as the 18th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the highe ...
). On 1 February, Gorton resigned from the Senate to stand for the 24 February by-election in Holt's former House of Representatives electorate of Higgins due to the convention that the Prime Minister be a member of the lower house. For 22 days (2 to 23 February inclusive) he was Prime Minister while a member of neither house of parliament. On a number of occasions when Ministers have retired from their seats prior to an election, or stood but lost their own seats in the election, they have retained their Ministerial offices until the next government is sworn in.


Committees

In addition to the work of the main chamber, the House of Representatives also has a large number of committees which deal with matters referred to them by the main House. They provide the opportunity for all Members to ask questions of ministers and public officials as well as conduct inquiries, examine policy and legislation. Once a particular inquiry is completed the members of the committee can then produce a report, to be tabled in Parliament, outlining what they have discovered as well as any recommendations that they have produced for the Government to consider. The ability of the Houses of Parliament to establish committees is referenced in Section 49 of the Constitution, which states that, "The powers, privileges, and immunities of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, and of the members and the committees of each House, shall be such as are declared by the Parliament, and until declared shall be those of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom, and of its members and committees, at the establishment of the Commonwealth."
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it i ...

Constitution of Australia
, section 49.
Parliamentary committees can be given a wide range of powers. One of the most significant powers is the ability to summon people to attend hearings in order to give evidence and submit documents. Anyone who attempts to hinder the work of a Parliamentary committee may be found to be in
contempt of Parliament In countries with a parliamentary system of government, contempt of Parliament is the offence of obstructing the legislature in the carrying out of its functions, or of hindering any legislator in the performance of their duties. Typology The conc ...
. There are a number of ways that witnesses can be found in contempt. These include refusing to appear before a committee when summoned, refusing to answer a question during a hearing or to produce a document, or later being found to have lied to or misled a committee. Anyone who attempts to influence a witness may also be found in contempt. Other powers include, the ability to meet throughout Australia, to establish subcommittees and to take evidence in both public and private hearings. Proceedings of committees are considered to have the same legal standing as proceedings of Parliament, they are recorded by
Hansard ''Hansard'' is the traditional name of the transcripts of Parliamentary debates in Britain and many Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth countries. It is named after Thomas Curson Hansard (1776–1833), a London printer and publisher, who was t ...
, except for private hearings, and also operate under
Parliamentary privilege Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, pat ...
. Every participant, including committee members and witnesses giving evidence, are protected from being prosecuted under any civil or criminal action for anything they may say during a hearing. Written evidence and documents received by a committee are also protected. Types of committees include: Standing Committees, which are established on a permanent basis and are responsible for scrutinising bills and topics referred to them by the chamber; examining the government's budget and activities and for examining departmental annual reports and activities. Select Committees, which are temporary committees, established in order to deal with particular issues. Domestic Committees, which are responsible for administering aspects of the House's own affairs. These include the Selection Committee that determines how the House will deal with particular pieces of legislation and private members business and the Privileges Committee that deals with matters of Parliamentary Privilege. Legislative Scrutiny Committees, which examine legislation and regulations to determine their impact on individual rights and accountability. Joint Committees are also established to include both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.


Federation Chamber

The Federation Chamber is a second
debating chamber A debate chamber is a room for people to discuss and debate. Debate chambers are used in governmental and educational bodies, such as a parliament, congress, city council, or a university, either for formal proceedings or for informal discourse, ...
that considers relatively uncontroversial matters referred by the House. The Federation Chamber cannot, however, initiate or make a final decision on any parliamentary business, although it can perform all tasks in between. The Federation Chamber was created in 1994 as the Main Committee, to relieve some of the burden of the House: different matters can be processed in the House at large and in the Federation Chamber, as they sit simultaneously. It is designed to be less formal, with a
quorum A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, ...
of only three members: the Deputy Speaker of the House, one government member, and one non-government member. Decisions must be unanimous: any divided decision sends the question back to the House at large. The Federation Chamber was created through the House's Standing Orders: it is thus a subordinate body of the House, and can only be in session while the House itself is in session. When a division vote in the House occurs, members in the Federation Chamber must return to the House to vote. The Federation Chamber is housed in one of the House's committee rooms; the room is customised for this purpose and is laid out to resemble the House chamber. Due to the unique role of what was then called the Main Committee, proposals were made to rename the body to avoid confusion with other parliamentary committees, including "Second Chamber" and "Federation Chamber". The House of Representatives later adopted the latter proposal. The concept of a parallel body to expedite Parliamentary business, based on the Australian Federation Chamber, was mentioned in a 1998
British House of Commons The House of Commons (domestically known as the Commons) is the lower house and ''de facto'' primary chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons ...

British House of Commons
report, which led to the creation of that body's parallel chamber Westminster Hall.


Current House of Representatives

The current Parliament is the 46th Australian Parliament. The most recent federal election was held on 18 May 2019 and the 46th Parliament first sat in July. The outcome of the 2019 election saw the incumbent
Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
/
National National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
Coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
government re-elected for a third term with 77 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives (an increase of 1 seat compared to the 2016 election), a two-seat
majority government A majority government refers to one or multiple governing parties that hold an absolute majority of seats in legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of s ...
. The Shorten
Labor Labour or labor may refer to: * , the delivery of a baby * , or work ** , physical work ** , a socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer Literature * , an American quarterly on the history of the labor movement * ', an academic ...
opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tele ...
won 68 seats, a decrease of 1 seat. On the
crossbench A crossbencher is an independent or minor party member of some legislatures, such as the British House of Lords The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by appointment, heredity or offici ...
, the
Australian Greens The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, are a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty ...
, the
Centre Alliance Centre Alliance, formerly known as the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT), is a centrist Centrism is a political outlook or position that involves acceptance and/or support of a balance of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy, while opp ...
,
Katter's Australian Party Katter's Australian Party (KAP) is a Conservatism in Australia, conservative List of political parties in Australia, political party in Australia. It was founded by Bob Katter, the Independent (politics), independent and former National Party of ...
, and independents
Andrew Wilkie Andrew Damien Wilkie (born 8 November 1961 in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia) is an Australian politician and independent federal member for Clark. Before entering politics Wilkie was an infantry officer in the Australian Army The Au ...

Andrew Wilkie
,
Helen Haines Helen Mary Haines (born 21 September 1961) is an Australian politician who has served as the independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist ...
and
Zali Steggall Zali Steggall (born 16 April 1974) is an Australian politician, lawyer and former Olympic athlete serving as Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countri ...
won a seat each.


House of Representatives primary, two-party and seat results

A
two-party system A two-party system is a Politics, political party system in which two major party, major political parties consistently dominate the political landscape. At any point in time, one of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature ...
has existed in the Australian House of Representatives since the two non-Labor parties merged in 1909. The 1910 election was the first to elect a
majority government A majority government refers to one or multiple governing parties that hold an absolute majority of seats in legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of s ...
, with the
Australian Labor Party The Australian Labor Party (ALP), also simply known as Labor and historically spelt Labour, is the major , one of two in , along with the . It has been in in the since the . The ALP is a federal party, with in each . They are currently i ...
concurrently winning the first
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
majority. Prior to 1909 a three-party system existed in the chamber. A
two-party-preferred vote In Australian politics The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accord ...
(2PP) has been calculated since the 1919 change from
first-past-the-post In a first-past-the-post electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are org ...
to
preferential voting Preferential voting or preference voting (PV) may refer to different Electoral system, election systems or groups of election systems: * Ranked voting methods, all election methods that involve ranking candidates in order of preference (United Sta ...
and subsequent introduction of the
Coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
. ALP = Australian Labor Party, L+NP = grouping of
Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
/
National National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
/ LNP/ CLP Coalition parties (and predecessors), Oth = other parties and independents.


See also

*
2019 Australian federal election The 2019 Australian federal election was held on Saturday 18 May 2019 to elect members of the 46th Parliament of Australia The Parliament of Australia (officially the Federal Parliament, also called the Commonwealth Parliament) is the ...
*
Australian House of Representatives committees Parliamentary committees of the Australian House of Representatives are groups of Members of Parliament, appointed by the House of Representatives, to undertake certain specified tasks. They comprise government and non-government Members and have ...
*
Canberra Press Gallery The Canberra Press Gallery, officially called the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, is the name given to the approximately 180 journalists and their support staff, including producers, editors and camera crews, who report the workings of the Aus ...
* Chronology of Australian federal parliaments *
Clerk of the Australian House of RepresentativesThe Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives, House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia, Parliament of Australia is responsible for managing the Parliamentary Department of Parliamentary Services#Department of the House of Repre ...
* Father of the Australian House of Representatives * List of Australian federal by-elections * Members of the Australian House of Representatives * Members of the Australian Parliament who have served for at least 30 years * Members of the Australian Parliament who have represented more than one state or territory * Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives * Women in the Australian House of Representatives * Browne–Fitzpatrick privilege case, 1955


Notes


References


Further reading

* *
In Internet Archive
] * B.C. Wright,
House of Representatives Practice (6th Ed.)
', A detailed reference work on all aspects of the House of Representatives' powers, procedures and practices.


External links


House of Representatives
nbsp;– Official website.
Australian Parliament – live broadcasting
{{DEFAULTSORT:Australian House of Representatives 1901 establishments in Australia, House of Representatives National lower houses Politics of Australia, House of Representatives Westminster system Parliament of Australia, House of Representatives Australian House of Representatives