- Victorian Legislative Council
name = Victorian Legislative Council
session_room = Vic legislative council 1878.jpg
house_type = Upper house
leader1_type = President
leader1 = Bob Smith
party1 = Labor Party
election1 = 19 December 2006
members = 40
p_groups = Labor
election3 = 25 November 2006
meeting_place = Parliament House,
website = [http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/default.htm www.parliament.vic.gov.au]
The Legislative Council, or upper house, is one of the two chambers of the
Parliament of Victoria, Australia. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit in Parliament House in Spring Street, Melbourne. It serves as a house of review, in a similar fashion to its federal counterpart, the Australian Senate. Although it is possible for legislation to be first introduced in the Council, most bills receive their first hearing in the Legislative Assembly. The Council is presided over by a President, equivalent to the Assembly's Speaker.
The Council was created in 1851, four years before the Assembly.
Today the Council has 40 members serving four-year terms. They represent 8 electoral regions, with five members representing each region.
Old system, to 2006
The Legislative Council was formerly elected from 22 single-member electorates called "provinces". The members of the council sat for two assembly terms so two members sat for each province. This is a list of the provinces as of 2005:
Central Highlands Province
Doutta Galla Province
East Yarra Province
Jika Jika Province
Melbourne North Province
Melbourne West Province
* North Eastern Province
North Western Province
* Western Province
Western Port Province
The following provinces also existed but were abolished at various dates up to 2002:
* Eastern Province
* Northern Province
South Bourke, Evelyn and Mornington Province
* Southern Province
* South Eastern Province
South Yarra Province
The old system tended to favour the
Liberal Party of Australiaand the National Party of Australia(often in coalition) over the Australian Labor Partyand other parties. This caused many instances where a Labor-controlled Assembly faced an opposition-controlled Council — a rare occurrence elsewhere in Australia.
New system, since 2006
The system changed for the 2006 Victorian election, as a result of major reforms passed by the Labor government, led by
Steve Bracks, in 2003. Under the new system members serve fixed four-year terms unless the Assembly is dissolved sooner. The state is divided into the following eight electoral regions:
* Eastern Metropolitan Region
* Eastern Victoria Region
* Northern Metropolitan Region
* Northern Victoria Region
* South Eastern Metropolitan Region
* Southern Metropolitan Region
* Western Metropolitan Region
* Western Victoria Region
Each region consists of 11 contiguous Legislative Assembly districts with about 420,000 electors who elect five members of the Legislative Council by the
single transferable vote. There are now 40 members of the Legislative Council, four fewer than before. The changes have introduced proportional representation. The opportunity was also taken to remove the Council's ability to block supply. The reforms have made it easier for minor parties to gain election to the chamber and possibly gain the balance of power, as opposed to majority control by a single major party.
Distribution of Seats
President of the Victorian Legislative Council— contains a list of all past Presidents.
Parliaments of the Australian states and territories
* List of members of the Victorian Legislative Council
* [http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/president/former.htm Presidents of the Legislative Council] at the Victorian Parliament website
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