|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Powers, Functions and History
For a description of the Legislative Assembly's powers, functions and history, see VRG 17 Executive and VRG 20 Parliament.
Electoral and Membership Qualifications
There were originally gender and property qualifications for the Assembly for both members and electors. By 1857 the property qualifications had been abolished and male adult suffrage was granted for the Legislative Assembly. Adult suffrage for women was not granted until 1908, and women were not eligible to stand as candidates for election until 1923. Voting was made compulsory for the Legislative Assembly elections in 1926.
In 1858 membership of the Assembly was increased to seventy-eight and extended again in 1876 to eighty-six members, with a corresponding increase in the number of electoral districts. By 1888 membership had risen to ninety-five with Legislative Assembly electoral districts numbering eighty-four. This upward trend was reversed in 1903 with a reduction in membership to sixty-eight. Two members were appointed as representatives of the Railway Department and another was to represent public servants. However this departmental representation lasted only until 1906 when the membership was further reduced to sixty-five - one member for each of the sixty-five electoral districts. By 1976 membership had risen to eighty-one and by 1987 it was eighty-eight.
The duration of each Parliament is determined by the life of the Legislative Assembly (limited to three years) but it may be dissolved by the Governor on the advice of the Premier before the expiration of that period. The Legislative Council (VA 471) cannot be dissolved except in special circumstances arising from disagreement between the two Houses.
Procedure of the Assembly is governed by Standing Orders, Rules and practice, based initially on the procedures of the House of Commons, and administered by the presiding officers: the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the Chairman of Committees. The principal innovations in Assembly procedure are time limits on speeches and the elaborate ballot procedure at the opening of a new Parliament for the election of the Speaker.
The sittings of the House commence with the reading of the Lord's Prayer by the presiding officer. Before the business of the day, as set down on the Notice Paper, is called on, Ministers may be questioned on matters under their administrative control; notices of motion, such as motions for the introduction of Bills, or motions of a substantive or abstract nature are given; petitions are presented; papers are laid on the Table; and messages from the Governor and from the other House are read. At this stage, members have the opportunity of moving a motion "that the House do now adjourn" which under the Standing Orders enables discussion on matters of urgent public importance to take place.
Location of Records
Substantial holdings of records are in the custody of the Public Record Office Victoria.
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 11.1.0.
** Special Access Conditions **
Although records transferred from this agency are available for public inspection, special access conditions apply. The records have been transferred to the Public Record Office on the understanding that they remain the property of the Parliament of Victoria. Parliamentary records are transferred on condition that all requests for access will be referred to the Clerk of the Legislative Council/Legislative Assembly as appropriate, for determination in each case.
Application to inspect the records should be made to the appropriate officer and written authorisation must be presented at Public Record Office Reading Rooms before records can be made available for inspection.