Parliament

The institution of parliament is central to Australia’s experience of democracy. A core concept of democracy is government by the people. Australian parliaments are elected by the people to represent their interests and to make legislation that will govern our society according to the values that we hold important.

The Australian federal parliament was created as a result of legislation enacted in the British Parliament in 1900 to unify the separate colonies and establish a federal Constitution. It provided for a lower house called the House of Representatives and an upper house called the Senate. The Constitution divided power among the Legislature (Parliament), the Executive (Government), and the Judiciary (High Court). This separation of powers was designed to prevent one person or group having all the power to govern Australia.

This trail explores the growth of parliamentary government in Australia, and the role of parliament in relation to both the legislative and the executive branches of government. The role of the judiciary is explored in more detail in the Rule of Law trail.

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