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Central and North Burnett Times - - ELECTION 2016 -

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives

This is our lower house. Each of Aus­tralia’s 150 elec­torates elect a sin­gle mem­ber to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The party that has the most mem­bers usu­ally wins gov­ern­ment and chooses the Prime Min­is­ter. Each elec­torate has about 150,000 res­i­dents with 94,000 vot­ers.

The premise is that all Aus­tralians have roughly the same rep­re­sen­ta­tion but the reality is that half the seats come from New South Wales and Vic­to­ria be­cause more peo­ple live there. Mem­bers are elected every three years.

The Se­nate

The Se­nate is for all in­tents Aus­tralia’s up­per house and was formed to en­sure the peo­ple in less pop­u­lated ar­eas also got a say in par­lia­ment. The Se­nate de­cides whether bills pro­posed in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives pass into law and acts as a mea­sure of the gov­ern­ment.

There are eight se­nate elec­torates made up of the six states and two ter­ri­to­ries. Each state elects 12 se­na­tors to a six-year term while the ter­ri­to­ries have two rep­re­sen­ta­tives, each for a three-year term.

Dou­ble dis­so­lu­tion

An un­usual oc­cur­rence, a dou­ble dis­so­lu­tion elec­tion is called when there is a dead­lock be­tween the two houses of par­lia­ment and the Prime Min­is­ter asks the Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral to dis­solve both the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Se­nate so the gov­ern­ment can seek a man­date from the peo­ple. It is the only time that all seats are open for con­test.

This is only the sev­enth in­stance since Fed­er­a­tion of a dou­ble dis­so­lu­tion elec­tion.

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