parliamentary Glossary c-d
The Cabinet Room is a special room in Parliament House where the leading ministers meet. The Cabinet Room is highly secure and is regularly checked for electronic devices.
A campaign is a competition for votes by people who are seeking a place in parliament. The election campaign ran for two weeks prior to the election day.
A motion that is carried is agreed. The amendment to the immigration bill was carried.
A casting vote is a vote which decides the matter when votes are equally divided. The Speaker of the House of Representatives does not vote in a division unless the vote is tied in which case he or she has a casting vote.
A casual vacancy is a vacancy in the Senate that is caused when a senator dies or resigns before his or her term has expired. When the senator resigned unexpectedly, her state parliament appointed someone from the same political party to fill her seat.
Caucus is a group of parliamentarians who belong to a particular parliamentary party. The term is usually used in relation to the Australian Labor Party. Caucus met to decide whether they would support the private member’s bill.
A censure motion is a motion moved in either the Senate or the House of Representatives which expresses disapproval of a particular minister, his or her policy, or of the government. If a censure motion is carried in the House of Representatives it is traditional for the government to resign.
- The chair is the person who is in charge of a meeting.
- The chair is someone who is occupying their place, for example the Speaker or President, the Acting Speaker or the Deputy President. Senators and members bow to the chair when entering or leaving the chamber.
(see also house of parliament)
- A chamber is meeting room of a house of parliament. In Australia's federal Parliament there are two chambers—the House of Representatives and the Senate. Either or both of these chambers may be referred to as a house.
- A chamber is a law-making body. A bill must be agreed in both chambers before royal approval may be sought.
A chief minister is the elected leader of the political party or parties that form a territory government. The chief minister congratulated her team on winning the election
1. A citizen is a person owing allegiance to a government and entitled to its protection. The Australian citizen took shelter in the Australian embassy while overseas.
2. A citizen is an inhabitant of a city or town, especially one entitled to its rights and liberties. The travelling citizen felt relieved to be home.
- Civic refers to a city or municipality. In his speech, the mayor spoke of his pride in the city’s new civic development.
- Civic relates to that which is befitting a citizen or individual. The civic movement helped fix the problem of street pollution.
(see also section)
A clause is a separate numbered item in a bill. The Senate agreed to the bill after an important clause was amended.
(see Australian Coat of Arms)
A commission is one or more people who have been instructed to inquire into certain matters or who have been given particular official duties. A commission was set up to investigate the increasing crime rate.
(see also parliamentary committee)
A committee is a group of people selected from a larger group to discuss, investigate or report on a particular subject. The committee flew to Western Australia to see a wind farm in operation.
Committee of the whole is an optional stage in the passage of a bill when the Senate considers a bill in detail using more flexible debating rules. During this stage amendments to the text of the bill may be moved. During committee of the whole the Senate agreed to make several amendments to the bill.
A committee secretary is a parliamentary officer who looks after the support arrangements for a parliamentary committee, including correspondence, record-keeping, research and arrangements for meetings where people give evidence. The committee secretary often prepares the first draft of a committee’s report. The secretary worked with committee members to ensure that a wide range of opinions were heard.
A commonwealth is an association of states or nations that are self governing and share a common purpose. Australia is a participant in the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Commonwealth of Australia is the Australian community. The Commonwealth of Australia is bound by the Australian Constitution. The Prime Minister and the leaders of the states and territories met to decide how the Commonwealth of Australia would respond to the threat of terrorism.
The government is said to have the confidence of the House, if it has the support of more than half the members of the House of Representatives. This may be shown by voting on a particular issue. The government proved that it continued to have the confidence of the House when the motion of no confidence was defeated.
(see free vote)
Consensus is general agreement or accord. The non-controversial bill passed with the consensus of both chambers.
Consideration in detail is an optional stage in the passage of a bill when when the House of Representatives considers a bill in detail and may move amendments to the text of the bill. During consideration in detail the House of Representatives agreed to make amendments to the bill.
A constitution is the set of rules by which a country or state is run. Australia’s Constitution came into force on 1 January 1901.
A constitutional monarchy is a country in which a king or queen is the head of state but has to act in accordance with the constitution. Australia is governed by a constitutional monarchy, since our head of state is the Queen.
A council is the elected body in charge of legislation for a small local area such as a shire, city or municipality. The council proposed a new by-law to protect pedestrians in high traffic locations.
The council chamber is the room where a local council meets. The council chamber was in a heritage building in the main street of the town.
(see also alderman)
Councillor is the title for a person elected to local government. The councillor was cheered by business people pleased to hear that a new car park was being planned.
A count-out is an adjournment for lack of a quorum. The chamber was adjourned when a count-out revealed too few parliamentarians to continue the business of the chamber.
- One or more judges acting as a tribunal to determine questions of law. The court decided that the action taken by the company was legal.
- The place where legal cases and trials are heard. Many people gathered in the court to witness the case being heard.
The crossbench refers to the seats in the Senate for senators who do not belong to either the government or the opposition. The crossbench is usually occupied by minor parties and/or independent senators. The crossbench split during the vote on the controversial bill.
To cross the floor is to vote against your party in a way that involves moving from one side of the chamber to the other. The government member crossed the floor and voted with the opposition in support of the people in her electorate.
The Daily Program is the daily agenda showing items of business to be dealt with in the House of Representatives in a particular day. The Daily Program is known as the 'Blue'.
A deadlock is a situation where the Senate fails for a second time, within a specified time-frame, to pass a bill in the same form as the House of Representatives. The House and the Senate were in deadlock when neither could agree on the final wording of the bill.
A debate is a controlled discussion on a bill or other topic in which different views are put forward. The debate on the ASIO bill triggered a lot of discussion which led to many amendments.
Delegated legislation is law in the form of regulations, orders, guidelines or rules, which an Act of Parliament allows a minister or the Governor-General to make. The proposed delegated legislation was scrutinised by a parliamentary committee.
- A democracy is a system of government where the people elect representatives to govern for them. Australia is a democracy.
- A democracy is a country that has such a government. The Australian democracy provides for regular election of federal representatives.
- Democracy is the idea that everyone in a country has equal rights. E B White once said; ‘a democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.’
The despatch boxes are the two ornamental boxes on the table of the House of Representatives from which the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, ministers and shadow ministers give their speeches. The despatch boxes were a gift to the Australian Parliament by King George V.
A dictatorship is a system of government in which one person or group has total power to govern a country with no parliamentary opposition. The country of Cuba operates under a dictatorship.
(see also double dissolution)
A dissolution is an order given by the head of state to bring to an end the life of a parliament and which necessitates an election. The Governor-General announced the dissolution of the federal Parliament.
- A division is the separation of members or senators to either side of the chamber to vote for or against a bill, amendment or motion. A division is counted and recorded. During the division a member crossed the floor, to the dismay of his party.
- A division is one of the parts that a country or state is divided into for the purpose of holding elections. The division of Brisbane is in Queensland.
The division bells are electronic bells that ring through clocks in Parliament House. Division bells call members of parliament into the House of Representatives or Senate at the beginning of a meeting, because a vote is about to be taken, or because there are not enough members in the chamber. When the division bells began ringing the members had four minutes to get to the chamber to vote.
A Dorothy Dix question is a question asked in parliament by a member or senator, in the minister’s knowledge, which allows a minister to give a prepared reply. The government backbencher asked the Health Minister a Dorothy Dixer about the increased refund on private medical insurance.
(see also dissolution)
A double dissolution is an act of the Governor-General which dissolves the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously, resulting in the termination of all business before them, and the calling of an election to return members for all seats in both houses. A double dissolution may occur only in circumstances of deadlock between the houses. Section 57 of the Constitution gives the Governor-General the power to call a double dissolution.