House of Assembly Education Office
Active citizens have their voices heard in the Parliament.
Members of Parliament best represent their constituents, including school students, when there is clear and effective communication between the people and their elected representatives.
The simplest way for all Tasmanians to be heard in the Parliament of Tasmania, is to vote in House of Assembly and Legislative Council elections. To be able to vote, citizens must enrol prior to an election. This is a straightforward process and more information about enrolling to vote and the Tasmanian election cycles are available on the Tasmanian Electoral Commission
and Australian Electoral Commission
One of the most important functions of the Parliament of Tasmania is to debate Bills
for the State of Tasmania. Once passed at the First Reading, in either the House of Assembly or the Legislative Council, the Bill is a public document.
To become an Act of Parliament, all Bills must pass the House of Assembly, the Legislative Council, and receive Royal Assent from the Governor of Tasmania. Tasmanians can track the status or progress of a Bill under the list of Bills currently before Parliament
is the official written record of parliamentary debates. Hansard is a crucial service in a democracy, as it ensures that the Parliament is open and accountable to the people. Hansard
services operate in both Houses and public Committees with transcripts made available to search and view online.
A guided tour of Parliament House is a valuable learning experience as it explains the role of the Parliament of Tasmania in a democracy. The tour covers contemporary parliamentary practices such as the process of passing legislation, examining government policies and the wider work of the Members of Parliament. In addition, the tour touches on some of the rich history of the Georgian style building.
On a sitting day, visitors are most welcome to watch either the House of Assembly or the Legislative Council (the Houses) at work in their Chambers. Both Houses have comfortable public galleries with a clear view of the Chamber floor. By watching Parliament sitting
, visitors can follow the passage of legislation through the Houses, listen to the Members’ contributions, see how their local Members vote on issues, and gain deeper insight into the issues currently facing Tasmania. The House of Assembly Order of Business
gives visitors a guide to a House of Assembly sitting day.
In addition to their Chamber work, Members of Parliament are appointed to various Parliamentary Committees
. On most occasions, a Parliamentary Committee will call for submissions from Tasmanian communities, as well as other interested individuals or stakeholders. At its discretion, the Committee may invite certain submission authors as witnesses to discuss their submission in further detail. Many Committee sittings are open to the public. During public sittings, visitors may observe the Committee in person or via the Parliament’s webcast.
Citizens petitioning the Parliament is one of oldest parliamentary procedures. The purpose of a petition
is to allow for an individual or group of citizens to make a direct request of the Parliament, drawing attention to, or asking the Parliament to take action on a particular matter. Traditionally, petitions were paper-based but Tasmanians now have the option to petition the Parliament electronically via an E-Petition. Please note:
Prior to starting a petition, it is highly recommended that the “Principal Petitioner” read the Parliament of Tasmania’s information regarding petitions to ensure the petition fulfils the set requirements.
A fundamental role of a Member of Parliament is to represent their constituents. To ensure they do this well, Members are in regular communication with the people they represent. This enables them to understand constituent concerns, see potential solutions to problems and offer advice or help to constituents. For school students, a phone call, email or letter is a simple but effective way to initiate contact with a Member of the House of Assembly
or a Member of the Legislative Council
. The etiquette on addressing a Member varies depending on their role. The Department of Premier and Cabinet Communications and Protocol Unit have a useful list on how to address dignitaries
. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission
website has a search function to identify the representatives at the three levels or tiers of government.
There are many pathways to hold an elected office in the Parliament of Tasmania but all culminate in standing for an election. The Tasmanian Electoral Commission
website provides more information for election candidates. Seeking career advice from a current or former Member may be a good starting point for those interested in a career in politics.
The Tasmanian Youth Parliament
is an annual event for Tasmanian students in Years 10-12. The week-long residential camp provides students with an opportunity to develop their advocacy skills, understanding of democratic processes, and knowledge of local and global political issues. Participants work in teams to craft a Bill on an issue they are passionate about, and debate those Bills in Parliament House during a week of the school holidays. The program also includes educational workshops, speakers’ panels, social events and, an advocacy program in which participants develop detailed policy proposals for a variety of subjects. The program is organised by the Youth Parliament Taskforce, a dedicated group of volunteers who are supported each year by the Tasmanian Youth Government Association, the YMCA of Hobart, and the Tasmanian Government.
For more information contact the House of Assembly Education Office.