Parliament of Queensland

Parliament of Queensland
54th Parliament
Coat of arms or logo
Houses Legislative Assembly
Founded 22 May 1860
Elizabeth II
Since 6 February 1952
Paul de Jersey
Since 29 July 2014
Peter Wellington, Independent
Since 24 March 2015
Seats 89
Current Structure of the Legislative Assembly
Political groups

Government (45)



Last election
31 January 2015
Next election
2018 or earlier
Meeting place
Parliament House,
Brisbane, Queensland,

The Parliament of Queensland is the legislature of Queensland, Australia. According to the state's constitution, the Parliament consists of the Queen and the Legislative Assembly. It is the only unicameral state parliament in the country. The upper chamber, the Legislative Council, was abolished in 1922. The Legislative Assembly sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Brisbane.

All laws applicable in Queensland are authorised by the Parliament of Queensland, with the exception of specific legislation defined in the Constitution of Australia, criminal law applying under the Australia Act 1986 as well as older laws passed by New South Wales and the United Kingdom because the state was a former colony.[1]

Following the outcome of the 2015 election, successful amendments to the electoral act in early 2016 include: adding an additional four parliamentary seats from 89 to 93, changing from optional preferential voting to full-preferential voting, and moving from unfixed three-year terms to fixed four-year terms.[2]


The Parliament was founded 22 May 1860, less than a year after the Colony of Queensland was created in June 1859.[3] It was convened at a converted former military and convict barracks located on Queen Street, Brisbane.[4] Immigration was an important issue for the early Parliament. Population growth was encouraged with new settlers enticed by land ownership.[5]

The official flag of Queensland was adopted in 1867.[5] In 1915, Queensland became first state to make voting compulsory at state elections.[6]

Since 1 April 2003, live audio broadcasts have streamed through the internet from the Parliament while it is in session.[7] In June 2007, the Parliament started broadcasting video of parliamentary proceedings. Nine in-house television cameras are used to record sessions.[8]

The first female Speaker, Fiona Simpson was elected on 15 May 2012.[9]


The Assembly has 89 Members of Parliament (MPs). These are intended to represent approximately the same population in each electorate. Voting is by the Optional Preferential Voting system (OPV), with elections held approximately once every three years.

In April 2016, legislation was passed to increase the number of seats in the parliament by four to a total of 93. An amendment was also passed to abolish optional preferential voting. A referendum held the previous month was passed, supporting a bill to establish fixed four-year terms.

Monarch's relationship with government

The role of the monarch in Parliament is to give royal assent to legislation. This function is in practice exercised by the Governor of Queensland, who conventionally will never refuse assent to a bill that has passed the Legislative Assembly. The party or coalition with the most seats in the house is invited by the Governor to form a government.

The leader of that party subsequently becomes Premier of Queensland, leading a Cabinet of Ministers. In the Liberal National Party, the Premier selects members of their party to act as Ministers. In the Labor Party, the Ministers are elected by partyroom ballot, with the Leader then assigning ministerial portfolios to each one.


Once all winning candidates have been declared, the Governor of Queensland proclaims a date for the start of the new Parliament.[10] It is the role of the Clerk of the Parliament to call members to attendance.

According to the Constitution of Queensland Act 2001, members of Parliament must swear an oath or affirmation to the Sovereign as well as an oath of office before signing a Roll of Members.[10] The Clerk of the Parliament has the power to swear in members.

The Speaker's chair and desk in the Legislative Assembly at Queensland, ca. 1934

Sworn-in representatives are required to elect a Speaker to preside over the House's business.[10] Before this occurs the Clerk may select and point to the next member who may speak. Once elected the Speaker is dragged to the chair and presented to the Governor at Government House. The ceremonial opening of the new Parliament is marked by a speech by the Governor. Traditionally the speech is written by the new government and it may outline current activities, budget details, statistics and proposed lists of legislation which are intended to be introduced.[10]

A day in Parliament usually begins with housekeeping matters, including prayers, notifications and the tabling of any documents.[10] An opportunity is then given to Ministers to make statements. During a period of no more than an hour, known as question time, any member may pose a question to a Minister.

Distribution of seats

As of 7 March 2016, the distribution of seats is:

Party Seats
2015 Current Assembly (Total 89 Seats)
Labor 42 42
Liberal National 42 42
Katter's Australian 2 2
Independent 3 3

See also


  1. "The power of the Parliament of Queensland". Legislation Handbook. Department of the Premier and Cabinet. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  2. Electoral Law Ructions in the Queensland Parliament: Antony Green 21 April 2016
  3. "Almost 150 years strong" (lift out section). The Courier-Mail. 28 August 2007. pp. 40 to 41.
  4. "About Us". Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  5. 1 2 "Creation of a state". Government of Queensland. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  6. Tony Moore (3 January 2013). "Compulsory confusion at the ballot box". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  7. "Qld parliament goes live on the internet". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 April 2003. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  8. "Parliament accused of censorship over camera ban". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. Daniel Hurst (15 May 2012). "Simpson elected state's first female Speaker as Parliament resumes". Brisbane Times. Fairfax MEdia. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Wanna, John; Tracey Arklay (2010). The Ayes Have It: The History of the Queensland Parliament 1957-1989. ANU E Press. pp. 12–15. ISBN 1921666315. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
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