|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Powers, Functions and History
For a description of the Legislative Council's powers, functions and history see VRG 17 Executive and VRG 20 Parliament.
Electoral and Membership Qualifications
There were originally gender and class (education and property) qualifications for both members and electors. Through successive stages the property and educational qualifications were reduced and by 1937 the property qualification was twenty-five pounds and the deposit required from a candidate for election was fifty pounds. In 1950 the property qualification for members of the Council was abolished and adult suffrage was applied to Legislative Council elections. Women who met the property qualifications were not eligible to vote before 1908 or be elected to the Council until 1923.
By 1881 membership of the Council numbered forty-two, with a consequent increase in the number of electoral provinces, and by 1888 it had risen again to forty-eight. In 1903 the number of electoral provinces rose from fourteen to seventeen and in 1906 a rationalisation of the membership saw a decrease of members to thirty-four, two for each of the seventeen provinces with one member retiring every three years. With the increase in population the number of Legislative Council members has steadily increased, and by 1987 there were forty-four.
Duration of Parliament and Presiding Officer in the Council
The duration of each Parliament is determined by the life of the Legislative Assembly (VA 2585), which is 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 cannot be dissolved except in special circumstances arising from disagreement between the two Houses. Its members are elected for six years, half of them retiring every three years, but eligible for re-election. The President of the Legislative Council is the presiding officer and holds office for the period during which she/he is a member and may be re-appointed upon re-election to the House. If the Council goes into Committee to consider a Bill the Chairman of Committees is then the presiding officer.
Procedures of the Council are governed by Standing Orders, Rules and practice, based initially on the procedures of the House of Commons, and administered by the presiding officers, that is, the President of the Legislative Council and the Chairman of Committees.
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
Significant holdings are in the custody of the Public Record Office.
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 11.2.0.
** 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 Search Rooms before records can be made available for inspection.