About Parliament – Making a law

Video duration: 3 min 18


Narrator One of the main roles of the Parliament is to make laws for the people of Australia
Narrator Under Australia's Constitution the federal Parliament makes laws on important national matters, such as defence, immigration, taxation and even marriage.
Narrator A proposal for a new law or a change to an old one is called a bill.
Narrator Most bills are introduced into Parliament by government ministers and usually begin here in the House of Representatives.
Prime Minister ... I therefore introduce the tax laws amendment temporary flood reconstruction levy bill and I do so with great pride
Narrator Once a bill is introduced members can debate the bill and then vote on it.
Opposition member The coalition is not opposed in any way shape or form to the rebuilding and repairing of infrastructure and we want to see Australia get back on its feet as quickly as possible
Government member Australia will become a leader in best practice organ donation for transplants
Opposition member ... everyday waiting for the phone call to announce the possibility of a transplantation
Speaker ... those of that opinion say aye, to the contrary say no. I think the ayes have it
Narrator If the bill is agreed to in one house, it is sent to the other house. In this case, the Senate, where a similar process is followed
President Messages have been received from the House of Representatives forwarding the following bills for concurrence: the Tax Laws Amendment Bill
Opposition senator ... the demand for organ and tissue donations is expected to increase further
Government senator ... experiencing the enormous benefits of organ and tissue donation
President I think the ayes have it. Clerk
Clerk A bill for an act to establish the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority
Manager of Opposition Business in the House I ask leave of the house to move the amendments one to three
Narrator Members and senators can suggest amendments to a bill if they think it needs changing
Minor party senator ... for this amendment
Speaker The immediate question is that the amendment be agreed to
Narrator These amendments are also debated and voted on.
Speaker I think the ayes have it
Narrator About half of all bills are investigated more closely through the work of parliamentary committees
Narrator Either house of parliament can send a bill to a committee for detailed examination
Committee member ... hearing evidence on the committee's inquiry into the water amendment bill 2008
Narrator A committee might suggest changes to a bill, or make other recommendations
Government senator ... the committee was mindful of …
Narrator This process helps the Parliament make better informed decisions
Narrator The final stage of making a law is approval by the Governor-General on behalf of the Queen
Before giving Royal Assent to a bill, the Governor-General must be satisfied that it has passed both houses of Parliament
Narrator After the bill is signed, it becomes a law called an Act of Parliament