Australia

House of Representatives

Political system
Parliamentary system
Structure of parliament
Bicameral
IPU membership
Yes

Law-making

Data on parliament’s law-making role and activities

Legislative activity

Number of laws adopted by parliament, per year
96
(2022)
Total number of laws adopted by Parliament in the previous legislature
407
(2022-07)
Number of laws adopted in the previous legislature that were initiated by parliament
0
(2022-07)
Number of laws adopted in the previous legislature that were initiated by the government
407
(2022-07)
Percentage of laws initiated by parliament in the previous legislature
0%
(2022-07)
Dates of the previous legislature
02 Jul 2019 to 25 Jul 2022
(2022-07)
Outcome when the two chambers cannot agree on a piece of draft legislation
The legislation cannot be adopted unless both chambers agree

Sources:

Australian Constitution, section 57

Senate Brief No. 8

A bill must be agreed to in identical form by both the Senate and House.

When the two houses do not initially agree on the contents of a bill, it is usual for negotiations to continue. Amendments to amendments may be made or alternative amendments proposed until an acceptable compromise is reached. Very occasionally, the impasse cannot be broken and a bill is laid aside and not proceeded with.

The drafters of the Australian Constitution saw the possibility of a deadlock occurring between the two houses over a bill.

Section 57 of the Constitution provides a way to resolve the disagreement, by dissolving both houses of Parliament and calling an election to let the voters decide what the outcome will be. This only applies to a bill that starts in the House of Representatives.

The Governor-General dissolves both the Senate and the House after certain triggers have been met under section 57.

Executive-legislative relations

Legislation adopted by parliament requires the assent of the Head of State
Yes

Sources:

Australian Constitution, Section 58.

Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, p. 347.

The Constitution provides that the Governor-General may assent to a bill or withhold assent, or to return bills to the originating House with suggestions for amendments. However, in practice, assent is never refused and the procedure make amendments is seldom used.

Number of times the Head of State declined to give assent to legislation, per year
0
(2022)
Consequences when the Head of State declines to give assent to legislation
Other

Notes: The Constitution provides that the Governor-General may assent to a bill or withhold assent, but in practice, assent is never refused.

Final decision when parliament and the Head of State do not agree
Other

Notes: While, in theory, section 58 of the Constitution provides that the Governor-General may withhold assent to a bill, in practice Royal Assent is not refused even if a bill has passed both Houses of the Parliament against the wishes of the government. As a result, there is no realistic situation in which a disagreement may arise between the Parliament and the Head of State on a piece of legislation.

Existence of a procedure to introduce emergency legislation

Click for historical data

Notes:

For bills declared urgent, either House may agree to limit time for the debate.

2022: one bill was declared urgent in the House. In the Senate 61 bills were considered under SO 142.

2021: 57 bills were considered under SO 142. No bills were declared urgent in the House of Representatives.

2020: the Senate moved six motions to facilitate the passage of 46 bills under SO 142. The procedure was not used in the House.

Sources:

House Standing Orders set out the process for consideration of urgent bills.

Senate Standing Order 142 considers bills under a limitation of time procedure, where a minister declares a bill to be urgent.

Historical data for IPU membership

Historical data for IPU membership
Year IPU membership
2020-09
List of values for 2020-09
No
2019-04
List of values for 2019-04
No
2018-06
List of values for 2018-06
No