The Queensland Parliament is unique among Australian states in that it was the only colonial Parliament (pre-1901) to commence with two chambers and is now the only state parliament to have just one chamber, following the abolition of the Legislative Council in 1922.

Below is a brief history of the Legislative Council and the events that took place prior to its abolition.

May 1860 – Parliament meets for the first time
The first Parliament, consisting of 26 elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, and 11 nominees appointed to the Legislative Council, met on
22 May 1860.

The members of the Legislative Council were appointed by the Governor, whereas the members of the Legislative Assembly were elected by eligible voters. Original appointments to the Legislative Council were for five years with subsequent appointments made for life.

Abolition of the Legislative Council - March 1922
Abolition had been a platform of successive Labor Governments since 1915, but was only achieved by the appointment of sufficient additional Members of the Legislative Councils (MLCs) to ensure passage of the Bill.

In May 1917, an attempt was made to force abolition by passage of a referendum. The move was not successful, the votes being 116,196 for, and 179,105 against.

On October 24, 1921, the Constitution Amendment Act Bill was introduced, the fifth time a bill was introduced to abolish the Legislative Council. The Bill passed the Legislative Assembly 51 votes to 15 and the Legislative Council by 28 votes to 10.

The Legislative Council was abolished on 23 March 1922. This was the date that The Constitution Amendment Act 1922 was proclaimed. As a result, Queensland became the only unicameral State Parliament in Australia, and one of the few in the Commonwealth.

The Legislative Council chamber, commonly known as the Red Chamber, is now used for Estimates committee hearings and ceremonial purposes. The room features red carpet, ornate coffered ceilings and two Waterford crystal chandeliers.

100th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Legislative Council - March 2022

In 2022, the Queensland Parliament commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the abolition of the Legislative Council with a historical seminar.

The historical seminar took place on Saturday, 19 March 2022 in the Legislative Council Chamber. The event was co-hosted with The Royal Historical Society of Queensland and included talks from:

  • Dr Denver Beanland AM 
  • Emeritus Professor Kay Saunders AO
  • Dr Gerard Carney, and
  • Mrs Lynne Armstrong and
  • Mr Neil Laurie, Clerk of the Parliament.
 Youtube icon Click here to watch the recorded speeches

As part of the event, a portal was created to show connections between the Members of the Legislative Council. Click the link below to view.

Explore the connections between members of the Legislative Council, the Legislative Assembly, politicians from other states, and prominent public servants and officers.

100 year anniversay LC Abolition

The Legislative Council of Queensland

 Presidents (1860-1922) Chairmen of Committees (1889- 1922)
 22.05.1860 - 26.08.1860 - Sir Charles Nicholson  30.05.1860 - 26.07.1889 - Hon Daniel Foley Roberts
 27.08.1860 - 23.03.1879 - Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell  31.07.1889 - 31.12.1892 - Hon Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior
 03.04.1879 - 20.12.1881 - Sir Joshua Peter Bell, KCMG  26.05.1893 - 22.07.1902 - Hon Frederick Thomas Brentnall
 24.12.1881 - 20.03.1898 - Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer, KCMG 23.07.1903 - 05.08.1907 - Hon Albert Norton
 13.04.1898 - 01.01.1906 - Right Hon Sir Hugh Muir Nelson, PC, KCMG, DCL
06.08.1907 - 12.09.1913 - Hon Peter MacPherson
 19.01.1906 - 19.12.1916 - Sir Arthur Morgan, Kt  30.09.1913 - 16.11.1920 - Hon William Frederick Taylor
 15.02.1917 - 17.08.1920 - Hon William Hamilton  17.11.1920 - 23.03.1922 - Hon Thomas Nevitt
 18.08.1920 - 23.03.1922 - Hon William Lennon  

 For more information about the Abolition of the Legislative Council see also: