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Have your Say




A petition is a document signed by a group of people, addressed to Parliament for a change in a law or action.

By attending a rally, people can show their objection or disapproval to Members of Parliament and the Government.

Parliament has a number of committees that comprise members and researchers, to investigate and report on various issues eg euthanasia.



Citizens voting rights

Preferential Voting

In Western Australia general elections are required for both houses of Parliament at least once every four years.

In Australia all citizens and some permanent residents aged 18 years and over have the right to vote.

Preferential voting, sometimes known as the ‘alternative vote’, is the voting system to elect members to the Legislative Assembly.


Parliamentary Government

Governor and Executive Council

Three Branches of Government

Western Australia's parliamentary system of government has two main parts: responsible government and democratic government.

The Western Australian Parliament consists of His Excellency the Governor, the Legislative Council, and the Legislative Assembly.

Government in Western Australia has three branches: legislature, executive and judiciary.



Leader of the Opposition

The Premier of Western Australia is the head of the executive government and the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

A minister is a high ranking government member and a member of the Cabinet. Ministers are responsible for administering one or more government departments.

The leader of the largest political party or coalition of parties, not in government in the Legislative Assembly, is known as the Leader of the Opposition.


Members of Parliament

Meetings of Parliament

Political Parties in Parliament

To be a member of the Western Australian Parliament, a person must be an Australian citizen over the age of 18 and be eligible to vote in this state.

A Parliament lasts for the term of the Legislative Assembly which is a maximum of four years.

A political party is a group of people with common views on issues who establish an association to contest elections.

Records of the House

Parliamentary Questions

Right of Reply

Hansard is the name of the official printed record of parliamentary debates.

Members of Parliament ask questions of each other to ensure accountability.

If people are offended by remarks made by parliamentarians or in a parliamentary report they are entitled to a right of reply.

Women Parliamentarians

Parliament and the Media

Parliamentary Privilege

When Western Australia gained responsible (self) government in 1890, women could not stand as a candidate for a seat.

A uptodate understanding of Parliament and politics in Western Australia is mostly learnt through the media.

The term ‘parliamentary privilege’ refers to the immunities and powers possessed by members to allow them to carry out their parliamentary functions effectively.

Parliamentary Positions

The President (or Presiding Officer) is the chair of the upper house. They must be politically impartial.

The Speaker (or Presiding Officer) is the chair of the lower house. They must be politically impartial.

A whip is a member of a political party who ensures that members attend the chamber and vote along party lines.

The Clerk of the Legislative Council and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly are the senior permanent officers serving each house.

The Usher of the Black Rod, known as ‘Black Rod’, is an officer of the Legislative Council who is appointed by the Governor.

The Sergeant-at-Arms is an officer in the Legislative Assembly who attends to the Speaker on ceremonial occasions eg the opening of Parliament.

One of the main functions of Parliament is to make laws which are also known as Acts of Parliament.

Parliamentary committees comprise Members of Parliament and assist Parliament in its scrutiny and review function by holding inquiries into complex issues.

Parliamentary committees are made up of Members of Parliament and assist Parliament in its scrutiny and review function by holding inquiries into complex issues.

Parliament has established several key agencies to ensure accountability eg the Ombudsman.

The Parliamentary Inspector of the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) is an officer of the Western Australian Parliament to ensure accountability in Western Australia.

The main goal of a lobbyist is to influence parliamentarians to debate and vote on legislation that advances the interests they represent.

History of Parliament

Brief History of Parliament

History of Parliament House

The Constitution and the Role of Parliament

The word 'parliament' is borrowed from the French 'parlement' which means discussion or assembly.

Parliament House commenced construction with the foundation stone being laid 31 July 1902, it took two years to build with the first parliamentary sitting in 1904.

There is no single document that contains WA's constitution.


Parliament of Western Australia

Legislative Council

Legislative Assembly

The Western Australian Parliamentary crest includes the black swan, the Mace and the Black Rod.

The Legislative Council is the the upper house. It is frequently called the 'house of review'.

The Legislative Assembly is traditionally referred to as the lower house of Parliament.

Black Rod
Black Rod


Coat of Arms

The symbol of office of the Usher of the Black Rod is a black rod about one metre in length.

The Sergeant-at Arms' mace was originally a weapon. Now the mace is ornamental and is the emblem of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

A carved British Coat of Arms representing the Lion of England and the Unicorn of Scotland sits on top of the Speaker and Presidents' chairs.

Passage of Legislation

Division Bells

Delegated Legislation


To make laws, Parliament must pass legislation or Acts of Parliament. An Act of Parliament starts as a Bill in either house of parliament.


When the division bell sounds in the chamber, members separate into two groups: for or against, so that their votes can be counted.


An Act of Parliament is often passed in broad terms leaving administrative detail to be ‘delegated’ to a minister, department, statutory authority or local government.

Western Australian State Flag

Australian Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

The Western Australian flag retains the Union Jack and the blue ensign background but the State emblem, the black swan, replaces the Southern Cross.

The Australian flag is Australia’s foremost national symbol. The flag was first flown in 1901 and has become an expression of Australian identity and pride.

The Australian Aboriginal Flag became the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, 1972. Now it is a widely recognised symbol of Aboriginal people.

General Information


Federation and Federalism

Contact Parliamentary Education

Citizenship is an idea from classical Greek and Rome. The term was based on the Latin civitas, meaning people living in a city.

A federation is a system of government which distributes power and responsibility between a national government and state governments.

The Parliamentary Education Office educates students and the general public on the history, role and function of the Western Australian Parliament.

Parliament of Western Australia
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