Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly

From Academic Kids

The Legislative Assembly is the only chamber of parliament in the Australian Capital Territory. It sits in purpose-built premises located on Civic Square, close to the centre of the city of Canberra.

It was created by four acts of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1988, and held its first election in March 1989. Until this point, the Territory had been the responsibility of the Federal Minister for Territories. It has 17 members, elected for three-year terms by the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation. The 17 members come from three constituencies - Brindabella and Ginninderra, which have five members, and Molonglo, which as seven members. The Assembly was originally elected by a modified d'Hondt system, but a 1992 referendum supported the Hare-Clark method, and this was introduced in 1993.

Members of the Legislative Assembly vote to elect a Chief Minister - in practice, the leader of whichever party can form government. The Chief Minister, in turn, selects up to five ministers to form a cabinet. However, no more than four ministers have been picked to date. The leader of the second-largest party in the assembly usually becomes the Leader of the Opposition.

The Assembly is unique in terms of Australian states and territories, as the Australian Capital Territory has neither a Governor nor an Administrator. The role is instead filled by the Governor-General of Australia.

Election dates for the Assembly are fixed in legislation, with elections held in October every three years. Until 1997, elections were held in February.

As with the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, the ACT Assembly lacks the full powers of a state legislature. As a result, legislation passed by the Assembly can be overruled by a Commonwealth act, although this is rare in practice. The Commonwealth also retained control of the Territory's justice system until handing it over to the Assembly in 1992. The Assembly assumes many of the functions of a local council, as it covers such a small area, and the city of Canberra has no other local government.

Current distribution of seats

PartySeats Held
Australian Labor Party9
Liberal Party7
ACT Greens1

See also

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