This is a set of definitions of some of the most frequently
used parliamentary words or phrases not explained elsewhere in these sheets.
The document which creates and describes a law. It is passed as a Bill,
agreed to by both Houses, and has received Royal Assent from the Governor.
To end a sitting day.
A debate held at the end of the sitting day in which any topic may be
An alteration to a Bill, an Act or a Motion. An entire Bill may amend
an existing Act, or amendments may be proposed during the passage of a
When Members vote yes.
A Member of Parliament who is not a Minister or holder of any special
BAR (OF THE HOUSE)
The formal barrier of each Chamber beyond which only MPs, officers of
the House or those invited may proceed.
A Parliament composed of two Houses - in Tasmania the 'lower' House is
the House of Assembly while the 'upper' House is the Legislative Council.
A maximum of eight Members of the Parliament who have been commissioned
as Ministers by the Governor to be responsible for a ministry or government
agency or to administer certain Acts.
The vote which determines the outcome of an issue when the voting
is equally divided.
The term given to the room in which the business of either House of Parliament
is conducted. Only Members, Clerks and invited guests may enter it.
The senior Parliamentary officials who advise the Presiding Officers and
Members in the correct operations of Parliament as determined by the Standing
Orders. They also maintain the formal record of proceedings (the Votes
and Proceedings), and manage the daily affairs of the Parliament.
A group of Members of Parliament appointed by one or both Houses to consider
and report on matters referred to it. Some Standing Committees have a
broad scope which lasts for the life of the Parliament, while Select Committees
consider specific issues referred to them.
Members may move to dissent if they disagree with a ruling given by the
Presiding Officer. The issue is then debated and voted upon.
The termination by the Governor of the House of Assembly for a general
When the Presiding Officer announces the result of a vote a Member in
the minority may ask that a count be taken. This records in writing those
MPs for or against the motion or question before the House. After the
bells are rung for two minutes (timed by a sand-glass) the doors are locked,
and a teller (person to count) from each side is appointed to record the
Ayes or Noes. The Ayes move to the right and the Noes to the left of the
Presiding Officer's Chair.
The list of people entitled to vote at an election; it is maintained by
the Electoral Office.
The geographical area represented by a Member of Parliament. The lower
House has 5 electorates, each returning five Members; the upper House
has 15 electorates, or divisions, each returning one Member. The same
rolls are used for State House of Assembly and Federal House of Representatives
The Party or group of Members who can maintain the confidence (a majority
of votes) of the House. The Government is also seen as every Member supporting
the parliamentary majority.
Members who have met certain requirements may, upon application to the
Governor, retain the title 'Honourable' in front of their name for life.
A formal manner of address for all Members.
When a Member seeks permission of all Members in the Chamber to do something
which otherwise may not be permitted at that stage of proceedings.
The Premier, as the Governor's principal adviser and as chief Minister,
allocates each of the Ministers cabinet or portfolio responsibilities,
and they manage or set government and/or departmental policy.
A governing Party without a majority of seats in the lower House, which
is therefore dependent on the support of other Members to achieve its
A proposal or choice set out so that Members may declare their preference
when the 'motion is put', or the time to vote or divide has been reached.
All business requiring a clear decision is put as a motion.
When Members vote no.
The formal process by which the Parliament is notified of forthcoming
business. Motions and questions may be placed on notice to give Members
or Ministers an opportunity to prepare for them. These then appear on
the Notice Paper.
The second largest Party or grouping after the Government in the lower
The Presiding Officers are charged with maintaining order (noise and behaviour
etc.) in their respective Chambers, often calling for Order, Order!
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The agenda for the day's proceedings, published in the Notice Paper.
By mutual agreement, to balance the legitimate absence of a Member another
Member is 'paired' and does not vote or take part in divisions. In this
way crucial government majorities survive.
Special rights applying to each House and the Members individually to
allow them to carry out their duties without fear of prosecution or hindrance.
A short statement by a Member concerning an issue that involves them personally
or which may have an impact on them, or Members who feel they may have
been misrepresented or misunderstood.
POINT OF ORDER
A query raised by a Member as to whether the proceedings or conduct of
the House or another Member or Party are in order. The Presiding Officers
rule on the query but their decision may be challenged by Members dissenting
from that ruling.
The specific responsibilities of a Minister or his or her department.
The termination of the session of Parliament by the Governor, but it is
not a dissolution for an election. It brings an end to the business of
that session and stops some committee activity; any unfinished business
may be reinstated to the Notice Paper when Parliament resumes.
Either House of the Parliament can express its opinion on any matter by
resolution. A motion passed by the House becomes a resolution.
Refers to both a Member's electorate and place in the House.
The State Constitution Act provides that the Governor may endorse
a set of standing orders or rules and procedures decided upon by each
House for the conduct of its own formal business. These are managed by
the Presiding Officers and Clerks.
The presentation to either House of a report, Bill, or other formal document;
this procedure is known as 'laying upon the Table'.
Each major Party appoints one of its Members to manage party business
for example allocating speeches and ensuring sufficient Members are
The written commands from the Governor which are issued for an election
and returned to commence the new Parliament, and must be tabled by the
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Last Update: 12 July 2005