The principal colour of the Legislative Assembly is green. This is the distinguishing colour of the Lower Houses in Westminster Parliaments and the colour of the House of Commons in England.

Measuring an impressive 24.5 x 11m high, the Chamber houses 93 Members of Parliament during a sitting day, with the Government sitting to the Speaker’s right and the Opposition to the left. Member seating is organised in a U-shape and the presiding officer sits on a raised dais.

The Speaker’s dais is framed by Corinthian columns which support the Media and Hansard Galleries. The Queensland Coat of Arms hangs above the Speaker’s dais – an addition during the 1980s renovations.

Members formerly sat on leather covered benches without desks, similar to that in the Council Chamber. Today, the original décor is reflected through more modern furniture including green leather theatre seats, desks and microphones for each Member. The installation of air-conditioning and communication equipment has been discreetly installed to preserve the ambience of the original Chamber.

The heavy brass rail at the rear of the Chamber, and two wooden rails either side of the Speaker’s chair are referred to as the Bars. When the House is sitting, only Members and select staff (such as Clerks at the Table and parliamentary attendants) can go beyond the Bars. When a division is called and the bells cease ringing, the Bars are closed and no Member can enter or leave until they are reopened.


Close up of Mace


When Parliament is sitting, the Mace is placed in two raised brackets on the centre table, with the head pointing towards the Government side of the Chamber.

The Sergeant-at-Arms carries the Mace into the Chamber before the Speaker at the commencement of a sitting and carries it out before the Speaker at the adjournment. 

The Mace is symbolic of the Parliament’s authority derived from the Crown via the Speaker.

The mace is thought to have been first used in the Palaeolithic Europe (10,000 years ago). Evidence of elaborately carved mace heads have been found that date to the Neolithic era (4500-2000BC).

During the Middle Ages the Sergeants-at-Arms were the royal bodyguards. They had the power to arrest and carried a mace as a symbol of their position. Originally the mace was a weapon used to protect the Monarch but over time the mace became ornamental and was no longer needed as a weapon.

The Queensland Parliament received its first mace in 1978 as a symbol of parliamentary authority. The mace was presented to the Parliament not by the people of Queensland or even by the British House of Commons but by the ‘Government of Queensland’.

According to the Premier at the time, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, this mace would now represent the authority of the Parliament and remind the Parliament of ‘the importance to democracy of a supreme Legislature to which the executive branch of government is fully responsible’. (The Ayes Have It – the history of the Queensland Parliament 1957-89, 2010)

The mace of the Queensland Parliament was designed and constructed in Britain by Birmingham goldsmiths and silversmiths Marples and Beasley in 1978. It is 122 centimetres in length, weighs 7.7 kilograms, and is made of gold-plated sterling silver. There are 32 Queensland gemstones set in the Mace including nine opals, two garnets, six amethysts and 15 sapphires.

The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for carrying the mace to and from the table each day the Parliament is in session, although in practice this position was sometimes merged with that of the Clerk Assistant (between 1922 and 1978), and Deputy Clerk Assistant (from 1981 to 1992).

The mace sits in brackets on the centre table, representing the authority of the Speaker. If the Speaker deliberately removes or withdraws the mace for any reason (other than that the House has resolved itself into a ‘Committee of the Whole House’) then the Parliament is technically adjourned and no longer sitting.
(The Ayes Have It – the history of the Queensland Parliament 1957-89, 2010)


Speakers chair


The Speaker’s Chair and Desk are an ornate yellowwood, made by John Petrie’s firm. These pieces, along with the carved dais armchairs for Deputy Speakers and cameo back chairs for Clerks at the Table, are among the few original furnishings in the Assembly Chamber. 



Located on either side of the O'Donovan Library on the second floor, are the public galleries for both chambers. The public gallery of each House is where Members of the public may sit to watch the activities of the Parliament. Although the galleries were originally identical, changes over the years to accommodate technology and changed work practices have resulted in some minor differences.

The gallery also accommodates the press, Hansard and official guests. Areas are reserved for each of these purposes in the Legislative Assembly gallery. Hansard reporters, who transcribe the reports of debate in the House, are located directly above the Speaker's chair. The Media Gallery is located above and to the Speaker's right. Journalists reporting on the daily business of the House are entitled to sit in this area.

The Speaker's Gallery, to the left of the Speaker, is where special guests of the Speaker such as dignitaries and visiting parliamentarians, may sit to view parliamentary proceedings.