Learning

Glossary

B

backbencher
A member of parliament who is not a minister or shadow minister, also known as a private member or senator.
balance of power
The ability of one or more Independents, or a parliamentary party, to decide an issue by the way they vote, due to no single party or coalition of parties having majority support.
ballot
The voting process by which a choice is made.
ballot-paper
A piece of paper listing the names of candidates for election, on which voters record their choice.
bicameral
A parliament that consists of two chambers, or houses.
bill
A proposal for a new law.
bipartisan
To have the support of two parties.
Black Rod
The staff of office of the Usher of the Black Rod, made of ebony wood with a silver crown on the top.
blue-ribbon seat
A seat, or electorate, in which most voters usually vote for the same political party or Independent, making it a ‘safe’ seat for that member or party.
Budget
The federal government’s annual statement of how it plans to collect and spend money, with the agreement of the Parliament.
bureaucracy
The group of people who work in or manage government departments or organisations, and who help to put law into action.
by-election
An election held to fill a single vacancy in the House of Representatives if a member resigns or dies between federal elections.

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