The Legislative Assembly for the ACT is the legislative seat of government of the nation’s capital territory.
It is a unicameral parliament, which means it only has one chamber with 17 members or MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) who are elected from three multi-member electorates – Brindabella, Ginninderra and Molonglo. Members are elected using the Hare-Clark electoral system of proportional representation and serve a four-year term.
The Assembly is unique among parliaments in Australia in that it is the only parliament responsible for the management of state/territory responsibilities such as health, education, policing and industrial relations, as well as local government responsibilities such as the maintenance of roads, rubbish and recycling.
The Assembly has the power to:
At the beginning of an Assembly, the 17 members are required to elect the Speaker, who presides over the Chamber and ensures that the Standing Orders (rules of the Assembly) are followed.
The 17 members also elect the Chief Minister, who is the head of the Government. The Chief Minister appoints up to four ministers, to assist in making decisions on the day-to-day running of the Territory. Together the ministers and the Chief Minister form the Executive (or Cabinet).
The assembly first sat on 11 May 1989 in a temporary Chamber. In 1994 the Assembly relocated to its current premises on London Circuit after the offices were refurbished to accommodate the Chamber and provide space for MLAs offices.
The Legislative Assembly has a strong committee system. Standing Committees are formed at the beginning of an Assembly’s term and exist until the next election. Committees reflect the representation of all groups and parties in the Assembly so they have a representative from the Government, the Opposition and the Crossbench. They inquire into matters of concern to the Assembly or to members of the community.