parliamentary Glossary r-s
The reading of a bill is a principle stage which marks the passage of a bill through parliament. There are three readings in each house of the federal Parliament. The second reading of the bill signalled that a majority of the senators present in the chamber agreed with the bill in principle.
A redistribution is a new division of an area into electorates with the result that the boundaries of some existing electorates are moved. The redistribution adjusted electoral boudaries to ensure roughly even numbers of voters in each electorate in each state .
A referendum is a vote by all voters on the electoral roll on a bill to change the Australian Constitution. The referendum of 1999 which asked whether or not Australia should become a republic was defeated.
To repeal is to revoke or withdraw formally or officially. When the new government came to power, the unpopular law was repealed.
- A report is a statement, usually in writing, of the results of an inquiry. The information in the report supported the committee’s recommendation that the bill be rejected.
- A report is a statement of progress in the consideration of legislation by the committee of the whole in the Senate. The report following consideration of the bill during committee of the whole confirmed to the President that the stage was complete.
- A representative is a person elected to a law-making body. The former teacher was elected as a federal representative in the Parliament of Australia.
- A representative is a person who acts on behalf of others. The Governor-General is the representative of the Queen in Australia.
A representative democracy is a system of government in which the power is vested in the people, who exercise their power through elected representatives in parliament. In a representative democracy the people are provided with and utilize many different opportunities to influence outcomes.
Reserve powers are powers accorded the Governor-General by convention which are not written into the Constitution and which may be exercised without ministerial advice. In response to the hung parliament the Governor-General used his reserve powers to appoint the Prime Minister.
Making a request is how the Senate asks the House of Representatives to make an amendment to certain money bills which, under the Australian Constitution, the Senate cannot amend. The Senate put a request to the House, that certain clauses of the money bill be changed.
Resignation is the act of giving up a position. Wishing no longer to be a member of parliament, the minister submitted his resignation.
- A resolution is a decision. The committee passed a resolution to meet four times a year.
- A resolution is a formal expression of opinion by a legislative body or public meeting. The parliament passed a resolution supporting the newly-elected government of the neighbouring country.
Responsible government is a system by which the government is answerable to the elected representatives of the people in the parliament for its actions. The term refers especially to a system where the government is formed from the parliamentary party or parties which has the support of the majority of the House of Representatives, and must maintain the confidence of a majority of that house to remain the government. The Leader of the Opposition cited the principle of responsible government and called on the Prime Minister to resign.
Revenue is the money a government collects from taxes and other sources. The Budget speech outlined the plan for expenditure of government revenue for the coming financial year.
Rotation is the term that applies to the constitutional provision that half of all state Senate seats will become vacant each three years. As state senators have a term of six years, this ensures continuity of Senate membership. Several new senators entered the Parliament following the Senate rotation.
Royal assent is the signing of a bill by the Queen’s representative, who in the federal Parliament is the Governor-General. This is the last step in making a bill an Act of Parliament. The Governor-General granted royal assent to five bills which had recently passed the Parliament.
A royal commission is an inquiry set up by a government to investigate and report on a matter of public concern. The government established a royal commission to investigate organised crime.
Rule of law is the principle that all people are equal before the law, and that all executive government action is to be undertaken as written by the law. The rule of law prevented the officer from taking matters into his own hands.
A ruling is the formal decision made by the President or the Speaker, usually on a matter of parliamentary procedure in the Senate or the House of Representatives. The President issued a ruling that the senator was out of order.
To scrutinise means to examine something closely. During Question Time, members and senators (the Legislature) question and scrutinise the actions of the Prime Minister and ministers (the Executive).
A seat is an elected position in a house of parliament. There are 150 seats in the current House of Representatives and 76 seats in the current Senate.
The second chamber is a name which is sometimes used to refer to an upper house such as the Senate. The Main Committee may also be referred to as the second chamber. The bill will move to the second chamber this afternoon.
The second reading stage is the second of three principal stages that a bill must go through in order to become an Act of Parliament. This is the stage in either house when debate on the principle or purpose of a bill takes place. The second reading stage was very long and included over 20 hours of debate.
A select committee is a group of parliamentarians from either house or both houses, appointed to inquire into and report on a particular subject. A select committee ceases to exist when it has made its final report to the house or houses. The select committee investigating driver fatigue disbanded after delivering its recommendations to the house.
The Senate is an elected legislative body which is one of the two federal houses of the Australian Parliament. The Senate is also known as the upper house, the states' house and the house of review. The current Senate has 76 senators; twelve representing each of the six Australian states and two representing both territories. The Senate is currently made up of 76 senators—12 representing each state and two representing each territory.
A senator is a person who has been elected, or occasionally appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate. The senator bowed before the President of the Senate.
The Serjeant-at Arms is an officer of the House of Representatives who is responsible for keeping order in the House of Representatives chamber and within the Parliament House building. The Serjeant-at-Arms also provides services to members of the House of Representatives. The Serjeant-at-Arms carried the Mace and ushered the Speaker into the chamber.
A session is a parliamentary period which starts on the first day of sitting after an election or prorogation and ends at a prorogation or a dissolution of the House of Representatives, or if neither has happened after three years. A session may last from one day to three years. The current session of the Parliament is the 41st session.
A sessional order is a temporary rule governing the conduct of business in a house of parliament, which applies only for the session for which it is made. The Speaker of the House considered a sessional order to change the length of time permitted for delivering speeches.
The shadow Cabinet is a group of members and senators from the main opposition party or parties in a parliament. The shadow Cabinet acts as spokespersons for the opposition on the principal areas of governance. The shadow Cabinet met to form a response to the latest government proposal.
A shadow minister is a member of the shadow ministry. Shadow ministers ‘shadow’ or look closely at what government ministers are doing. The shadow minister criticised the minister’s proposal and called for more effective action to be taken.
The shadow ministry refers to the members of the opposition party or parties in a parliament who are party spokespersons in areas which usually match the areas of responsibility of ministers in the government. The shadow ministry discussed ways to publicise their policies during the election campaign.
The short title is the commonly known name of a bill. The short title of the bill was the Wildlife Welfare Bill 2003.
(see also absolute majority)
- A simple majority is the number by which votes for the leading candidate exceed the votes for the next most popular candidate. The winning candidate received 8,500 votes and the next candidate 6,500 votes, so the winning candidate had a simple majority of 2000.
- In parliament a simple majority is more than half of the total votes of the members of parliament present and voting. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives on a simple majority of members present in the chamber.
- A sitting is a meeting of a house of parliament. The sitting day concluded with an Adjournment Debate.
- A sitting is a period of meeting of a house of parliament. In the federal Parliament there are three annual sitting periods during which neither house adjourns for more than 20 days. They are the autumn sitting between February and April , the winter sitting between May and June and the spring sitting between August and December. The commencement of the new sitting period brought an increase in visitors to the parliament.
The Speaker is the person who is elected by the members of the House of Representatives as its presiding officer to run the parliamentary proceedings in the House of Representatives. The Speaker made sure that all members obeyed the rules of the chamber.
A standing committee isa group of members of parliament appointed by either house or both houses to inquire into and report on certain matters. A standing committee exists for the life of a parliament and is usually reappointed in succeeding parliaments. The standing committee on economics reconvened after the winter break.
Standing orders are the permanent rules which govern the conduct of business in a house of parliament. The standing orders do not permit members to interrupt other members while they are speaking.
- A state is any of the regions, each more or less independent in internal affairs, which together make up a federal union, such as any of the states of Australia. The state government implemented a law to improve hospital operations.
- A state is a number of people living in a defined territory and organised under one government. A state is an organised political community. Australia is comprised of six states and two territories.
A state government is an elected group of people who administer state law, deliver goods and services and make day to day decisions on behalf of the people of that state. The Victorian state government announced an increase in police numbers.
State rights are the powers or entitlements of states in a federal system. State rights entitle states to follow their own constitutions to the extent that this does not contradict the Australian Constitution.
The states’ house is a term often used to describe the Senate, meaning the elected house of parliament set up to maintain and protect the interest of the states and in which the states are equally represented. Each state in the states’ house is represented by 12 senators.
A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state. Australian statutes are written and published by the Parliament and enacted by executive government. Typically, statutes command, prohibit, or declare something. The judge consulted the statute before making a decision on the case.
A statutory authority is a government agency established by an Act of Parliament, more or less independent of ministerial control, usually not bound by public service procedures to the same extent as government departments, and which is responsible finally to the Parliament. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is a statutory authority.
A submission to a parliamentary committee of inquiry contains suggestions or arguments made orally or in writing for consideration. When the witness appeared before the committee she referred to the evidence she had provided in her submission.
Supply is the provision of the funds necessary for the government to function. The opposition tactic was to block supply in the Senate.
A supply bill is a bill which, if passed by both houses of parliament, will allow the government to spend money related to governance for the first five months of the financial year, until the main appropriation bills for that year are passed. The supply bill included requirements for funding major improvements to the national railways.
To suspend a senator or member is to remove the individual from a house of parliament and so prevent his or her capacity to perform duties in, or be present in, the house for a time. This is usually a response to disorderly conduct. The member was suspended from the House of Representatives for 24 hours.
A swinging voter is a person who transfers his or her support, via their vote, from one political party to another at different elections. On the day of the election, the swinging voter had not decided how she would vote.