How a Law is Made – Legislative Council
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How a Law is Made – Legislative Council

October 2, 2019


Most of the legislation originates in the
Legislative Assembly, there are a very few bills that start in the Legislative Council
and that’s because usually they have money implications and it’s under the Constitution,
any bill with money implications needs to start in the Assembly. We have a Westminster system which has two
Houses of Parliament, so we bring the bill here to enable all members to have a second
look at it, it’s a check and balance in the system and what’s particularly important in
the Legislative Council is the composition of the membership of this House is quite different
to the Legislative Assembly. We have more minor parties represented so it gives everybody
a chance to actually have a look at that bill and to scrutinise the different clauses of
it, even in the committee process, clause by clause to insure that bill is actually
going to meet the intentions of the government and will have broad support in the community. Well, as it was originally conceived right
back in the middle of the 19th century, it was very much seen as a brake on the more
democratic urges of the lower house, the Legislative Assembly, by virtue of the electoral system
it had and the powers that it had, it had the capacity to frustrate the lower house,
the government’s agenda and sometimes even break governments. It was almost always under the control of
the conservative parties until the beginning of the 21st Century. When the Labor Government,
the Brack’s Labor Government, finally won control of the Legislative Council at the
2002 election. At that point the Brack’s Government introduced major reforms to the Upper House,
most importantly it changed it’s electoral system by introducing proportional representation,
the objective of that was to diversify representation in the upper house, in particular to allow
more minor parties into the chamber, potentially independents, there was also under those changes
some diminishing of the powers of the Council and its ability to frustrate governments. The Minister introduces the bill to the House,
and that’s by way of a first reading, which is a mention if you like of the bill and then
he does a second reading speech for the bill which leads to a comprehensive debate and
members, all members of the chamber are entitled to make a contribution on the bill. And something
like Brodie’s Law is actually a bill that has issues that all members are very concerned
about and that want to achieve a result that will protect young people. (Council audio – President) We have three
messages from the Assembly, the first is the Crimes Amendment Bullying Bill 2011. The Legislative
Assembly presents for the agreement of the Legislative Council a bill for an Act to amend
the crimes Act 1958. Minister? (Council audio – Minister) I move that the
second reading speech be incorporated into Hansard. (Council audio – President) Those to that
opinion say I? At the conclusion of that second reading debate,
it is certainly possible for us to go into committee and to make amendments or to come
to understand exactly how the bill will operate. We then pass the bill by third reading and
send it back to the Legislative Assembly to indicate that the Legislative Council is actually
in agreement with it, having scrutinised that legislation.

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