The Commonwealth Parliament

The Federal Parliament is located in Canberra, and is our national form of Government.
It is broken into 3 sections:

  • legislature
  • executive
  • judiciary

The Legislature is also known as Parliament. This is where people over the age of 18, without criminal charges, vote to elect representatives from around Australia.
These representatives congregate at Parliament House to talk about legislation and make laws to better govern the Australian people.
In the Parliament there are two houses:
  • The House of Representatives (Lower House)
  • The Senate (Upper House)


Watch the following clip as an introduction on Parliament.

The House of Representatives
The Lower House has 150 members, each member represents a different electorate in Australia.
The Murray electorate brings together the following towns: Avenel, Boort, Bridgewater on Loddon, Cobram, Echuca, Euroa, Kyabram, Mooroopna, Murchison, Nagambie, Nathalia, Numurkah, Rochester, Rushworth, Shepparton, Tatura, Violet Town, Wedderburn and Yarrawonga.


Watch this clip on the House of Representatives

Complete Question in pages

Q. Who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Murray electorate?


Activity: Ever wondered what an MP actually does? Well, today you are going to become a Personal Assistant (PA) for an MP. You will have to organise their diary so that they have time to do the things they need to do each day. Just follow the link to this interactive game ...

Complete these questions in pages

Afterwards write down 5-10 things you had to organise for your MP. What things did they have to give up because they just didn't have the time?

The Senate
The Senate or Upper House does not have as many members as that of the Lower House. In our Senate we currently have 76 Members. Unlike the House of Representatives the Senate has an equal division of members from each state. VIC, NSW, QLD, TAS, WA, and SA all have 12 representatives in the Senate. If you're a maths wiz or geography buff you will have figured out that 1- this only makes 72 seats and 2- ACT and NT have been forgotten. The NT and ACT do not have as many representatives, in fact, the people in NT and ACT only have to select two representatives for their territory. This gives us the grand total of 76 as mentioned previously.


Watch the following video about the Senate.

Complete this activity in pages

Write an overview about what the Senate does and how it operates.

The Executive arm of government takes care of all the administrative work and is made up of two parts called the cabinet and ministry. The executive is led by the Prime Minister, but according to the constitution, the Governor General (G.G.) has more authority and control, although this rarely happens in practice. The ministers in the Executive are formed from the party in power either the liberal or labour party. Each MP has a different area that they see to or look after such as: health, education, defence. It is in the Executive arm of government where these ministers look after their areas.

Complete this activity

Find out who the Ministers are for Health, Education and Defence.

The Judiciary is the legal arm of the Government and has the role of seeking justice when laws are broken. This arm of government is separate from the Legislative and Executive arms of government, in the sense that the ministers working in the Legislature and Executive are unable to influence the decisions made by the courts.In the Judiciary the High Court is the supreme court of Australia. There are many other courts, and they also come under the branch of the Judiciary.

Complete this activity

Look at page 3 of your text book and read back over the courts of Australia. Write down the name of each court and in your own words describe what they do.


Complete this activity

Design a poster showing the structure of the Commonwealth Parliament. This will need to be simple, yet effective. Make sure you use images, headings and diagrams.