The Queensland Parliament uses language which can sometimes be hard to understand. This glossary lists a number of words used by Parliament and explains what they mean.  

To view the Committees glossary please visit:

Act of Parliament (an Act)

An Act of Parliament (also called a statute or primary legislation) is a law made by the Parliament. All Acts start as Bills introduced into the Parliament. When a Bill has been agreed by the Parliament and received Royal Assent by the Governor, it becomes an Act.


A method by which the House imparts information to the Crown.

Address in Reply

The formal answer by the Legislative Assembly to the Governor's speech made at the opening of Parliament.


A motion causing a temporary pause in the parliamentary proceedings such as the end to the day's sittings.

Adjournment Debate

A half hour debate which under current Sessional Orders involves ten Members each giving a speech of three minutes at the end of a sitting day prior to the House adjourning, which allows Members to speak on topics of their choice.

Adult Suffrage

The right of eligible adults to vote in elections.


The alternative for Members, other than swearing an oath, prior to them taking their seats or voting in the Parliament. The Queensland Constitution requires Members to swear an oath or make an affirmation of allegiance recognising the Monarch as the lawful sovereign.

Amendment (Assembly)

A proposed change made by adding or removing words in a motion or a Bill.

Amendment (Committees)

A proposed change to the wording of a Bill or motion that the committee is considering or recommending.

Annual Report

The yearly report from the Parliamentary Service, Government departments, statutory authorities, committees, etc, many of which are presented by the pertinent Minister or chairperson and laid on the Table of the House.

Appropriation Bill

A Bill that authorises the executive (usually the Treasurer) to pay an amount from the consolidated fund. A Bill that potentially increases an existing appropriation, extends the objects and purposes of an existing appropriation, or alters the destination of an existing appropriation will itself amount to an Appropriation Bill. The annual Appropriation Bills which authorise the normal expenditure of government for each year are called the budget. Details of the Government’s spending plans are set out in the Budget Papers that are included with each annual Appropriation Bill.


An agreement to a proposal. See also Royal Assent.


An officer appointed by the Parliament to audit the accounts of departments and statutory authorities in terms of their parliamentary appropriations and then report to the legislature.

Australian Labor Party (ALP)

The oldest, continuous party in Queensland and Australia. Beginning in Queensland in 1890, the party has governed the State from 1915 to 1929, 1932 to 1957, 1989 to 1996, 1998 to 2012, and presently from 2015.


Members of Parliament who are not part of the Ministry or its Opposition Shadow, and who are seated behind the frontbenchers.


(1) The process by which electors make a choice when voting in an election; (2) how votes are gathered; and (3) the vote itself.

Ballot Paper

A piece of paper containing the names of candidates for whom electors can record their votes.

Bar of the House

In the Queensland Parliament, a heavy brass rail at the rear of the Chamber plus two wooden rails at the front which form the dividing line between the Chamber and the areas outside. Once the three Bars are closed during a division, no Member can enter or leave the Chamber.


The method by which Members are summoned to the Chamber for the commencement of Parliament, a division, a quorum or a ballot. The bells are rung throughout the whole of the parliamentary precinct.


A Parliament with two Houses - an Upper House and a Lower House.


A proposal for a new law or a change to an existing law. A Bill may be introduced into the Parliament by a Government Minister (Government Bill), or a Member of Parliament who is not a Minister (Private Member’s Bill). For a Bill to become a law (an Act), it needs to be passed by the Parliament and receive Royal Assent.


The process for preparing and documenting the Government’s economic policies and spending plans each year, resulting in the introduction of Appropriation Bills and the delivery of the associated Budget papers.

Budget Papers

Documents that provide an overview of the Government’s revenue and expenses and the proposed expenditure on physical assets, such as rail projects and property by each government department.

Business of the House

The routine parliamentary program as established by Standing or Sessional Orders such as petitions, notices, questions, motions, statements, etc.


An election held between general elections to fill a vacancy caused by a Member's retirement, dismissal or death.


Rules or regulations adopted by an authority or corporation as authorised by a statute.


A group of senior Members of the governing party known as Ministers, who collectively are responsible for policy development and implementation, and individually head the various departments.


A person who stands for election for Parliament, or for a particular parliamentary or party position.

Casting Vote (Assembly)

A vote which can be exercised by the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker when the votes in the House are equal.

Casting Vote (Committees)

A vote by a committee chairperson to decide a matter when the result of a vote is equal (eg three votes for and three votes against).


Usually a term connected with the parliamentary party of the Australian Labor Party, but in essence, refers to the private meetings of all parliamentary parties.


The Speaker's Chair at the head of the Chamber from which the Speaker (or Deputy) chairs the meetings of Parliament.

Chairperson of Committees

An elected officer, appointed by a resolution of the House, who must preside when the Parliament meets as a Committee of the Whole and in the Speaker's absence. As the Legislative Assembly no longer meets as a committee of the Whole, the Chairperson of Committees is now called the Deputy Speaker.


The Queensland Parliament's major meeting room where Members of the Legislative Assembly convene and participate in debates.

Clerk of the Parliament

The senior permanent parliamentary officer and the chief executive of the Parliamentary Service.


An official combination of two or more parties in the Parliament whether as a Government or as an Opposition.


An architectural term referring to a series of columns placed at regular intervals.


A warrant or authority or letters patent empowering a person or persons named to do certain acts, or to exercise an authority of office.

Commission of Inquiry

A group of persons, under the authority of the Commission of Inquiry Act, commissioned by the Governor on the advice of Executive Council to investigate various matters and report their findings to the appropriate Minister. The reports may be tabled in Parliament.


A group of Members of Parliament who are delegated a task to do by the Legislative Assembly. In Queensland, there are three types of committees: portfolio committees; statutory committees; and select committees.

Committee of Supply

Prior to the establishment of today's Estimates' Committees, an older version of the method by which the Parliament scrutinised the appropriations and expenditures of Ministers and their departments.

Committee of the Whole

A committee consisting of all Members of the (Whole) House.

Committee (Portfolio)

Examines legislation (Bills and subordinate legislation) and scrutinises the activities of Government, including proposed expenditure through the Estimates process.

Committee (Select)

Established on a temporary basis by an order of the House to inquire into specific select issues. For example, in 2016, a select committee was established to conduct an inquiry into the re-emergence of pneumoconiosis in Queensland coal mine workers.

Committee (Statutory)

Established by statute (an Act), eg the Committee of the Legislative Assembly, Ethics Committee and Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee.

Compulsory Enrolment

The legislative requirement for eligible, Australian electors to enrol in order to vote in all Federal, States' and local Government elections.

Compulsory Voting

The legislative requirement for eligible, Australian electors to enrol and vote in all Federal, States' and local Government elections.

Concurrent Powers

Those powers, derived from the Australian Constitution, exercised by both Federal and States' Governments, e.g. health, education, transport.

Condolence Motion

A motion providing an opportunity for Members to express their respects for past Members or important dignitaries. The motion is followed by a minute's silence.

Conscience Vote

A vote allowed by a party so that its Members can exercise their vote as a matter of conscience, especially with moral issues.

Consideration in detail Stage

During a Bill's Second Reading, each clause is debated in detail and amendments may be proposed.


The electorate, or area, or the inhabitants within, which a Member represents in the Parliament.


The fundamental set of rules which establishes the structure and processes of a State or national Government.


An act by a Member or person which can be regarded as disrespectful to the Parliament.

Contingent Voting

See Optional Preferential Voting.


Unwritten rules or established practices relating to the operation of a Constitution or to parliamentary or Government procedures.

Country Party (CP)

Tracing its history back to a variety of rural-aligned groups from the nineteenth century onwards, the Country Party was formed in 1936 at Toowoomba. In 1974, in order to broaden its base and support, the party changed its title to the National Party.

Court of Disputed Returns

Under the Electoral Act, the Queensland Supreme Court, presided over by a single judge, can act as a Court of Disputed Returns if, after a State election, the result for a particular electorate is disputed, via a petition to the Court, by either a candidate, an elector or the Queensland Electoral Commission.

Cross Benches

The seating area in the Chamber where a party, or independent Members who are not linked with the Government or Opposition, are located.

Cross the Floor

During a division in the Parliament when a Member crosses the floor of the Chamber to vote with the rival party.


The formal term for the British Sovereign which is synonymously identified with Queensland's executive power, i.e. the Government.


The proceedings occurring between a Member's motion and the decision of the House as ascertained by the Chair.

Delegated Legislation

See Subordinate Legislation.


In a modern sense, a system of Government where the power of the people resides in representative structures.

Deputy Speaker

The person who, in the absence of The Speaker, performs the duties of The Speaker and has the full powers of The Speaker.


The formal conclusion of a Parliament by the Governor prior to a general election.


A formal vote in the Parliament, heralded by the ringing of bells, whereby Members vote for the "ayes" or "noes" to have their votes recorded.

Dorothy Dixer

A pre-arranged question from a Government Member to a Minister, in order to elicit praise for the Government or criticism of the Opposition.

Draft Bill

The Parliamentary Counsel's format of legislation prior to its introduction into the Parliament.


The method by which Queensland citizens select their representatives for the Parliament.

Electoral Districts Boundaries

The partition of the State into electoral districts (or seats) whose elected representatives are Members of the Queensland Parliament. At present, there are 93 single Member electoral districts which have been created by the Queensland Electoral Commission.

Electoral Roll

The official list of eligible persons who may vote in a State election, which is updated on a regular basis. The roll is closed three weeks prior to election day.

Electoral System

The structures and processes necessary to hold an election including the electoral laws, system of appointment, redistribution and voting.


See Constituency.


The point at which an Act of Parliament becomes law.

Entrenched Clause

A section of a Constitution or legislation which cannot be repealed or amended, unless by a special process such as a referendum.


A method in which Members of the public can make a formal request to the Parliament via the internet. See also Petition.


The sums of money (budget) the government proposes it will need to spend to provide works and services during a financial year. The term ‘Estimates’ also refers to the inquiries undertaken by committees into the proposed budget for each portfolio area, including the hearings held to question the relevant Ministers and departmental staff.

Estimates Committee

A group of parliamentarians who as an all party committee, scrutinise the expenditures of the Parliamentary Service, the Governor's Office, the Government departments and Government Owned Corporations (GOCs).


The Ministry which implements the Government's policy and is answerable to the Parliament for its administration.

Executive Council

Consists of persons appointed as Members of Executive Council by the Governor (see s.48 Constitution of Queensland 2001). Ministers are also appointed as Members of Executive Council. The Governor summons and presides over meetings of Executive Council, unless absent (see s.50 Constitution of Queensland 2001).

Financial procedures

The Parliament's granting of appropriations and supply for the Government's expenditure purposes, which incorporates Appropriation Bills, Supply Bills and scrutiny by Estimates Committees.

First Past the Post

Also called simple majority, a system of voting by which the candidate who receives a majority of the formal first preference votes is elected.

Floor of the House

The area within the Chamber from which Members must speak during debates or cross during a division.


The right to vote at elections.


Members of the Ministry or Opposition Shadow Cabinet who occupy the front seats of the Chamber on the right and left of the Speaker's Chair respectively.


Technically known as Closure, the motion which terminates a debate before all Members, wishing to do so, have spoken.


The gallery is the place above the Parliamentary chamber where people can observe parliamentary speeches and events. There are a number of types of galleries. The largest is the Public Gallery and it is where members of the public can sit and view parliamentary proceedings. The Parliamentary Media Gallery is the place where journalists sit to observe and then report speeches and events, while the Speaker's Gallery is where the Speaker can sit important guests and dignitaries. The Hansard Gallery is where Hansard staff are seated to record parliamentary speeches.

General Election

The required, periodic election held for all of the State's electorates after the Queensland Parliament has been dissolved by the Governor.


The majority political party, or coalition of parties, enjoying the support of the Parliament.

Government Business

The legislative or financial program or any other matter in the Parliament as determined by the Government.

Government Gazette

The official State Government weekly publication which details Proclamations, Orders-in-Council, Notices, Statutory Instruments, Ministerial Alterations, Public Service Vacancies and Appointments, Wills and Intestate Estates, etc. On occasions, separate Extraordinary Gazettes are issued for particular emergency occurrences.


The Governor of Queensland is the representative of Queensland’s head of state, the Monarch. The Governor has a number of duties, including granting Royal Assent to Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly (see below for a definition of Royal Assent).

Governor in Council

The Governor acting with the advice of Executive Council (Government Ministers) to give legal authority to actions or decisions of the Executive Government under Acts of Parliament or the Constitution, eg making subordinate legislation.

Green Paper

A Government document detailing a proposed future policy which does not commit the Government to a course of action but serves as a basis for discussion.


A parliamentary procedure by which a time limit is imposed upon parliamentary debates.


(1) The printed record of Members' speeches in Parliament; (2) the section and its staff who record, edit and produce the written record of the Parliamentary Proceedings.

High Court

Australia's supreme judicial body which is responsible for interpreting the Australian Constitution.

High Tea

"High Tea" is a fairly substantial meal that includes tea which is usually served in the late afternoon or early evening.


A word often used to refer to the Legislative Assembly.

House of Commons

The lower House of the British Parliament comprising elected representatives.

House of Lords

The upper House of the British Parliament comprising the peerage such as the Lords Spiritual and Temporal.

Independent (IND)

A candidate or parliamentarian who does not belong to or represent a political party.

Informal vote

A ballot paper declared invalid because it is incorrectly marked or incomplete.

Interest Group

See Pressure Group.

Katter's Australian Party

The Katter’s Australian Party was founded in 2011 by Hon Bob Katter MP, former Queensland state member for Flinders and current Member for Kennedy in the Australian House of Representatives. The first Katter’s Australian Party representative was Aidan McLindon from 11 October 2011 to 23 March 2012. The Katter’s Australian Party won their first elected seats at the 2012 Queensland State election for the Mount Isa and Dalrymple electorates.

Lay on the Table

A term used to denote the introduction of Bills, Papers or Subordinate Legislation into the Parliament by Ministers or Members who physically lay the items on the Table of the House. Synonymous with the term "tabling" of a paper.

Leader of the House

A Government Minister appointed by the party, to organise proceedings and coordinate tactics in the Legislative Assembly.

Leader of the Opposition

The leader of the Opposition party who shadows the Premier.


Another word for laws. Acts are called ‘primary legislation’, while subordinate legislation is legislation made by a person or organisation other than Parliament, such as a Minister or a government agency, using powers delegated by the Parliament in an Act.

Legislative Assembly

The only House of the Parliament of Queensland, made up of the 93 Members.

Legislative Council

The upper House in all Australian States, except Queensland, where it was abolished in 1922.


The elected, representative body of persons in a nation or State invested with powers to make, alter or repeal laws.

Letters Patent

Documents issued by the monarch, sealed with the Great Seal, which are open (patent) and ready to be shown for confirmation of their authority.

Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP)

A major political party which was formed in 2008 when the Queensland divisions of the Liberal Party and the National Party merged. The party won the 2012 Queensland State election with a record majority of seats, winning 78 out of 89 seats.

Liberal Party (LIB)

In Queensland, a political party, which in 1945, changed from the Queensland People's Party to the Queensland Division of R G Menzies' newly formed national organisation. The Liberal Party governed Queensland as a junior coalition partner from 1957 to 1983 and from 1996 to 1998.


(1) A group of people seeking to influence the Government through representation to Members; (2) the area outside the Chamber where Members can liaise with journalists, public servants, or the public.

Lower House

See Legislative Assembly.


A ceremonial staff representing the Speaker's, and hence the Parliament's authority, as derived from the Crown. The Mace is carried into and from the Chamber by the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Maiden Speech

A Member's first speech in the House which often occurs in the Address in Reply debate.

Manager of Opposition Business

The Opposition Member appointed to shadow and liaise with the Leader of the House as well as coordinate the Opposition's speakers and tactics.

Matters of Public Interest Debate

An hour period set aside once a week for six Members, alternately proposed by both Government and Opposition, to debate a topic of public importance.

Media Gallery

(1) The journalists who report the parliamentary proceedings for the media; (2) the gallery above the Chamber set aside for their use.

Member of Parliament (MP)

A person elected to the Legislative Assembly.


A Member of Parliament, who is a Member of the executive Government, and is responsible for a Government department. Ministers are also Executive Councillors. There are currently 18 Ministers.

Ministerial Responsibility

A Minister's collective responsibility, as a Member of cabinet Government, and individual responsibility, as the head of a department, to the Parliament and hence the people.

Ministerial Statement

A Minister's report or explanation to the House concerning their portfolio.


See Cabinet.

Minor Party

A political party which gains only limited electoral support or minor representation in the Parliament.


A term formerly used to signify a Member of the Legislative Assembly. The term Member of Parliament is now used.

Money Bill

A Bill which appropriates revenue or moneys or imposes any form of taxation.


A proposal seeking a decision of the House, e.g. a motion "For leave to bring in a Bill".


Member of Parliament.

Naming a Member

A declaration by the Speaker whereby a Member who obstructs House Business, or disobeys a ruling, can be named, and subsequently suspended from the proceedings for a period.

National Party of Australia (NPA)

Originally the Country Party, it can trace its immediate ancestry back to 1936. Renamed the National Party in 1974, it governed Queensland as the senior partner of a coalition from 1957 to 1983 and in its own right from 1983 to 1989. More recently, it governed as the senior coalition partner from 1996 to 1998.


The process by which a person applies to become a candidate for an election.


A declaration of intent to the House by a Member to either move a motion or present a Bill on a specified day.

Notice Paper

An official House document detailing the business of the House for a particular day's sitting, and includes Notices and Orders of the Day.


Prior to Members taking their seats or voting in the Parliament, the Queensland Constitution requires them to swear an oath or make an affirmation of allegiance recognising the Monarch as the lawful sovereign.


Formerly titled Parliamentary Commissioner for Administrative Investigations, the Ombudsman is appointed by the Parliament to investigate grievances on behalf of the public against the actions of State Government departments, local and statutory authorities and their officers, and report to the legislature. The term and role originated from Sweden.

On The Voices

See Voices, On the.

One Nation Party (ONP)

A political party formed by Pauline Hanson in 1997 after winning the Federal seat of Oxley as an Independent the previous year. At the 1998 Queensland State election, the One Nation Party won eleven seats however the party's representation was reduced to five due to a retirement and other resignations. The party has been renamed Pauline Hanson's One Nation.


The next largest party or coalition of parties after the Government majority party, which shadows the Ministry and can provide an alternative Government.

Optional Preferential Voting

The process of voting in which electors have a choice of whether to mark a second or further preferences for other candidates, as well as their first preference.


Behaviour in the Chamber in accordance with Standing and Sessional Orders, which is maintained by the Presiding Officer.

Order in Council

Formerly a decree of the sovereign, it is now an order made by the Governor in Council in respect to Governmental matters of major significance (appointments, financial dealings, town plans, etc).

Order, Point Of

A right of Members to call to the attention of the Presiding Officer any breaches of order made during another Member's speech.


Instructions of the House which direct its committees, its Members, its officers, the order of its own proceedings and the acts of all persons whom those orders concern, and include Orders of the Day and Orders of the House.


An agreement, usually made by the party whips, whereby an absent Member arranges for a Member on the opposite side of the Chamber to be also absent during a vote in a division.


The various reports and documents tabled during a parliamentary sitting.


In Queensland, the Parliament is made up of the Legislative Assembly and the Monarch’s representative, the Governor.

Parliament House

In Queensland, the building on the corner of George and Alice Streets where the State Parliament meets - originally designed by Charles Tiffin, the Queensland Colonial Architect of the 1860s.


See Member of Parliament.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Administrative Investigations

See Ombudsman.

Parliamentary Committee

A group of parliamentarians usually from all parties, who are responsible for certain functions, or who investigate and report back to the Parliament on particular issues, in most cases with recommendations.

Parliamentary Counsel

A body of legal officers who draft or prepare the Bill format of proposals for new laws.

Parliamentary Librarian

A permanent officer responsible for the Library, which provides information and research requirements for Members and the various committees.

Parliamentary Library

The Parliamentary Library provides information and research for members and various committees.

Parliamentary Papers

The term parliamentary papers loosely refers to a number of documents which record what is said or done in Parliament, working papers of the Parliament as well as Acts of Parliament.

Parliamentary Procedures

The body of rules by which the Parliament functions, that have evolved from traditional practice, the Standing Orders and the precedents of Presiding Officers' rulings.

Parliamentary Service

The group of parliamentary employees who provide services and support for the Queensland Parliament and its Members.

Parliamentary Term

The fixed four year period stipulated in the Queensland Constitution over which the Parliament can no longer continue from the first meeting of the House after an election.

Pecuniary Interest

Under the Standing Orders, a Member cannot vote in the House on a matter involving a direct pecuniary interest. Under The Standing Rules and Orders of the Legislative Assembly, all Members are required to detail their pecuniary interests in a register.

Personal Explanation

A procedure which allows Members to provide to the Parliament an explanation regarding their particular statements or actions or the rebuttal of statements or actions of which they are aggrieved.


An ancient right by which a person (citizens of Queensland; residents of the State of Queensland; or electors of the Division of …) can have their grievances brought to the notice of the Parliament by a Member or the Clerk of the Parliament on their behalf. Petitions are lodged with the Clerk and tabled in the House. Once tabled, Ministers must forward a ministerial response to a petition to the Clerk within 30 days.

Plural Voting

Up until 1905, eligible voters owning property in more than one electorate were entitled to a vote in each one.

Political Party

An organised group of people seeking political power through endorsed candidates at elections.


Porte-cochere is an architectural term for a porch-like structure at the entrance to a building, through which a horse and carriage or a motor vehicle can pass, so the occupants can get in and out under protection from the weather.


A Minister's area of responsibility as a Member of Cabinet.


The traditional beginning to the sitting day recited by the Speaker prior to the Legislative Assembly's daily business.

Preferential Voting

A voting system whereby voters are required to cast votes in a preferential order for all candidates.


The leader of the parliamentary majority party and the Chief Minister in the State Government.

Presiding Officer

The Member of Parliament elected to preside over the Parliamentary proceedings in the Chamber as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Pressure Group

A group of people with a common interest or issue, who seek to influence a Government without themselves aspiring to direct political representation.

Private Member's Bill

A Bill introduced by an individual Member of Parliament other than in the role of Premier or a Minister. The Member of Parliament may be a member of the government, but more usually is from the opposition, a minor party or an independent.

Private Members' Motions

A one hour debate from 5:00 pm on Wednesday's with the mover and other speakers allowed five minutes, on a topic which has been moved as a Notice of Motion in the morning.

Private Members' Statements

A one hour period on Thursday's after the lunch break where 20 Members may speak for three minutes each on any topic.

Parliamentary Privilege (Assembly)

The powers, rights or immunities of the Legislative Assembly, its members or committees. The most well-known privilege is the right of freedom of speech which protects members and witnesses for things said in the Assembly or a committee meeting or hearing.

Parliamentary Privilege (Committees)

Includes, protection of a person providing information in a submission (that is accepted and published by a committee) or at a hearing so that the information given cannot be used against the person to form the basis of legal proceedings (criminal or civil), including defamation, breach of confidentiality, or perjury. See the Guide to making a submission for more information.


Traditionally the sovereign's responsibility, proclamations are issued by the Governor and cover declarations of a state of emergency, the commencement of legislation or dealings in Crown Land.


The termination of a session of Parliament by the Governor.

Public Gallery (Assembly)

The gallery or seated area above the Chamber from which the public can watch the parliamentary proceedings.

Public Gallery (Committees)

The public seating areas in each committee room.

Public Sector

In contrast to the private sector, that part of a nation's or State's economic activity owned and controlled by the Government. It includes the public service as well as Government instrumentalities and enterprises.

Public Service

In Queensland, the Government departments, and their employees who are known as public servants and are covered by the Public Service Act 2008.


An integral, constitutional component of the Queensland Parliament. The head of the state Government, represented by the Governor.

Queensland Greens (GRN)

The Queensland Greens was founded in 1991 and is affiliated with the Australian Greens. The first Queensland Greens representative was Ronan Lee from 5 October 2008 to 20 March 2009. The Queensland Greens won their first elected seat at the 2017 Queensland State election for the Maiwar electorate.

Queensland Labor Party (QLP)

Formed in 1957 by a breakaway group of the then ruling Labor Party Government after the expulsion of Premier Vince Gair, the party was eventually absorbed into the Democratic Labor Party (DLP).

Question Time

A set, daily period in the Parliament providing an opportunity for Members to ask questions of Ministers concerning their portfolios and include Questions on Notice and Questions Without Notice.

Quorum (Assembly)

The necessary number of members needed to be present in the Chamber for the conduct of parliamentary business, which in Queensland's Legislative Assembly is sixteen.

Quorum (Committees)

The minimum number of committee members that must be present for a committee’s proceedings to be valid. Currently, a committee meeting has quorum if at least 4 committee members are present.

Readings (of a Bill)

The formal three stages of a Bill's passage through the Parliament, includes the First Reading - permission to introduce the Bill, usually followed by referral of the Bill to a committee; the Second Reading - debate on the Bill's underlying principles after the committee has tabled the report on its inquiry; and the Third Reading - the final stage prior to the Bill being passed.


The periodic alterations to electoral boundaries and the numbers of electors contained within as prescribed by legislation.


A ballot allowing electors to express their views directly about a policy issue, e.g. daylight saving in Queensland.


Legislation made by a person or organisation, such as the Minister or a government agency (not the Parliament), using powers delegated by the Parliament in an Act.


An expression of the opinion of the House or of its intention to take a certain course of action.

Royal Assent

When the Governor of Queensland, on the Monarch's behalf, provides assent to a Bill by signing two parchment copies of the Bill. This makes a Bill an Act.

Royal Commission

A group of people commissioned by the Parliament to inquire into various issues and report their findings back to the Parliament.

Royal Prerogative

The Governor's discretionary powers, acting as the Monarch's representative, to dissolve the Legislative Assembly and to appoint and dismiss Ministers.


A decision or determination made by the Chair on a matter to do with the business or operation of the House.

Secret Ballot

First introduced in Australia in 1856, a system by which electors are entitled to privacy when casting their votes.


A traditional, ceremonial office in which the incumbent bears the Mace, and assists the Speaker in the Chamber.


A period during the life of a Parliament between its opening and prorogation, or in the case of the final session, its dissolution.

Sessional Orders

Orders and resolutions which are renewed at the beginning of each session.

Shadow Minister

An Opposition frontbencher who is the party spokesperson for an area of responsibility that matches a Minister's portfolio.

Simple Majority

See First Past the Post.

Sitting Day

The daily period when the House meets between the time when the Speaker takes the Chair and the House is adjourned.


See Queen.


The chief Presiding Officer of the Parliament, who chairs the debates and maintains order in the House.

Standing Orders

The written rules, agreed by the Legislative Assembly, which govern the procedures and conduct of the Legislative Assembly and committees.

Statute (or Statute Book)

A statute is more commonly known as an Act, which is a written law passed by a legislative body.

Statutory Authority

A Government agency established by legislation, which has the legal status of a corporate body with an independent legal existence.

Statutory Instrument

The overall classification for any writing issued under, or deriving its effect from authority conferred by an Act of Parliament, such as proclamations, orders in Council, regulations or rules.


'Stranger' refers to a visitor or guest who is not a Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Sub Judice

A convention by which, under Standing Orders in Queensland, the House and its Committees excludes debate, motions, discussion or questions on any matter awaiting or under adjudication in a court of law so that court proceedings are not jeopardised.

Subordinate Legislation

The term subordinate legislation, or delegated or secondary legislation, refers to legislation made by a Minister, department or other statutory body, under a power given by an Act (primary legislation). The most common types of subordinate legislation are: regulations; proclamations that provide for the commencement of Acts; rules; and by-laws.


See Franchise.


The general term describing the annual vote by the Parliament for the Government's expenditures.

Suspension of Member

See Naming of Member.

Suspension of Proceedings

The House by a Notice of Motion or vote may, at any time, suspend the order of Business as laid down by Standing and Sessional Orders to bring on a Motion Without Notice or another item of Business.


A table situated in front of the Speaker's Chair in the Chamber, at which the Clerk and Assistants sit in order to record the daily business of the House.

Table Officers

The title applied to the Clerk, the Deputy Clerk and Clerk Assistants because they are seated at the Table in the Chamber.


The four Members (two each from either side) appointed to count the votes during a division in the House.

Temporary Speakers

At the commencement of a Parliament, the Speaker can nominate up to eight Members of the Legislative Assembly to act as Temporary Speakers and chair the debates in the absence of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker.


A senior Government Minister, heading the Treasury Department, who is responsible for the State's economic and financial matters plus the preparation, presentation and supervision of the State's budget.


A Parliament with only one House, like the Queensland Parliament which comprises only the Legislative Assembly.

Universal Adult Suffrage

See Adult Suffrage.

Universal Manhood Suffrage

An exclusive, electoral privilege which only allowed qualified males the right to vote in elections.

Upper House

A House which reviews the legislation passed by the representative Lower House. Queensland abolished its Upper House - the Legislative Council - in 1922.

Voices, On the

The initial method of voting by Members in the Parliament for or against a motion by exclaiming "Aye" or "No". If the vote is contested a Division is called.


(1) The method by which the House determines the outcome of Motions, e.g. the various stages of legislation, which can be either on the Voices or the calling of a Division; (2) the method by which the State's electors choose their parliamentary representatives.

Vote of Confidence

An important motion, usually by the Leader of the Opposition, which requires the Government to prove it has the House's confidence in terms of numbers.

Vote Weightage

Part of an electoral system in which certain electorates are allowed a lower quota of voters to return a Member, in comparison to others requiring a higher quota.

Votes and Proceedings

The official daily record of the Legislative Assembly's proceedings, as complied by the Clerk and the Table Officers.

Westminster System

The British system of Government which provides the basic model for the parliamentary Governments of Australia and its States. So called because the House of Commons and House of Lords are located on the site of the Palace of Westminster.


A political party appointee who is responsible for organising party Members as speakers for debates or numbers in divisions.

White Paper

A Government document which details a course of action after reviewing and acting upon the submissions sought from a previously, distributed Green Paper.


A person or Member who has been summoned to attend a meeting of the House or its Committees (public or private) to be either examined or produce documents.


The document issued by the Governor authorising the conduct of an election or referendum, and providing the dates by which various electoral procedures must be completed.

Zonal System

An electoral system in which the State is divided into zones with varying quotas for the return of Members. Queensland's State electoral system was based on a zonal system from 1949 to 1989.