Functions of Parliament

Legislative Function

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Christian Bien Portrait_edited.jpg

Max Brampton

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Legislative Power
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The Legislative role of government involves the power to propose, pass, and amend laws into practice. In Australia, this role is given to the House of Representatives and Senate at the Commonwealth level. 

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Legislative Function in Theory
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The Legislative power in theory are meant to produce statutes that are;

  1.  Well scrutinized through speeches, debates, and parliamentary committees

  2.  Open to diverse input from the parliamentarians elected by the people

  3.  Able to be initiated by any member of parliament, including executive, government, opposing, and private members of the house

  4.  Developed through the statutory process through stages such as the second reading debate, commitee stage, and consideration in detail, promotes extensive debate

The Senate, as a house of review, repeats the statutory process ensuring more opinions and views may be presented. The deliberative procedure ensures that statutes do not infringe rights, and are representative and reflecive of the views of the people.

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Legislative Function in Practice
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The theorised extensive deliberation of statutes is rare in modern parliaments, mainly due to the effect of executive government dominance. The governing party may use procedures such as:

  • Gag: a motion to end the debate in the house on a bill

  • Guillotine: a limit to time given to debate about a bill, before debate commences, the government will move a motion limiting time allocated for debate

  • Flood gating: introducing a number of bills simultaneously to overwhelm the parliament and push legislation through with limited debate and scrutiny

However, the detriment of these tactics is limited in cases where the governing party has a minority government or smaller majority, or in the senate where there is less likely to be a government majority to limit debate and scrutiny opportunity.

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