top of page

Lawmaking Process

Influence of Political Parties

Topic Menu
Content Contributors

Learning Objectives



Major Parties are defined by the capacity to form a government. Only liberal and Labour governments have demonstrated this. They have the ability and broad-based appeal to contest most seats.

Minor Parties are defined by the ability to gain parliamentary representation over several electoral cycles, but not sufficient to form government. The two types include;

- geographically concentrated (enabling HoR) e.g. Nationals

- geographically dispersed but sufficient broad appeal (enabling mainly Senate representation) e.g. Greens

Micro Parties are those that have a very small or short-lived parliamentary presence over one or two electoral cycles. They often exist as a niche policy or interest group for a particular issue. They are more successful in double dissolution (s57) as the quota is lower

e.g. Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party 2016-19

e.g. Ricky Muir for the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party (primary vote of just 0.51%)

Mechanisms of Influencing:

Ways through which influence can occur:

  • Political parties can create legislation through their exectutive dominance in the HoR. (an example being the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme)

Examples of Political Parties Influencing

ABCC Legislation

  • Turnbull introduced legislation which prevented union workers from entering construction sites, and if charged are guilty before innocent.

  • Passes in HOR due to executive dominance but failed in the Senate.

  • Turnbull gets G.G to prorogue parliament. Senate votes no and a double dissolution occurs; he loses seats in the Senate.

  • Major amendments made to the bill and onus of proof was scrapped.

Medevac Legislation

  • Phelps, an independent, introduces a PMB (priv mem bill) which went against pre-existing legislation.

  • The bill was filibustered and died.

  • Home affairs bill passed in HOR but wouldn’t in the Senate; Storer adds medevac legislation to the bill and it passes in the Senate due to the crossbench and ALP.

  • When it goes back to the HoR, it passes as well due to the nature of a minority govt after the leadership spill

Carbon Tax (2011/2012)

  • Julia Gillard PM, with the help of the Greens party, passed a legislation that put a tax on carbon.

  • Since they were in a minority govt, the bill wouldn't have passed without the Greens