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Overview

Legislative Council

Unicameral legislatures, or parliaments with only one chamber, are uncommon in Westminster parliamentary democracies. It is generally considered that the preferred parliamentary model is two chambers with both a Lower House and an Upper House of review. In Australia, Queensland and the two territories are alone in having just one Parliamentary chamber, with the Federal Parliament and all other states having two.

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. The story behind the abolition of Queensland’s Upper House is detailed below.

The Legislative Council of Queensland - Presidents (1860-1922)

22.05.1860 - 26.08.1860Sir Charles Nicholson

27.08.1860 - 23.03.1879 - Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell

03.04.1879 - 20.12.1881 - Sir Joshua Peter Bell, KCMG

24.12.1881 - 20.03.1898 - Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer, KCMG

13.04.1898 - 01.01.1906 - Right Hon Sir Hugh Muir Nelson, PC, KCMG, DCL

19.01.1906 - 19.12.1916 - Sir Arthur Morgan, Kt

15.02.1917 - 17.08.1920 - Hon William Hamilton

18.08.1920 - 23.03.1922 - Hon William Lennon

The Legislative Council of Queensland - Chairmen of Committees (1889- 1922)

30.05.1860 - 26.07.1889 - Hon Daniel Foley Roberts

31.07.1889 - 31.12.1892 - Hon Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior

26.05.1893 - 22.07.1902 - Hon Frederick Thomas Brentnall

23.07.1903 - 05.08.1907 - Hon Albert Norton

06.08.1907 - 12.09.1913 - Hon Peter MacPherson

30.09.1913 - 16.11.1920 - Hon William Frederick Taylor

17.11.1920 - 23.03.1922 - Hon Thomas Nevitt

Note : The Legislative Council was abolished from 23 March 1922, the date on which the abolition Bill - The Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1922 - was proclaimed, thus giving Queensland the only unicameral State Parliament in Australia, and one of the few in the Commonwealth. Abolition had been a platform of successive Labor Governments since 1915, but was only achieved by appointment of sufficient additional MLCs to ensure passage of the Bill. An attempt had been made in May 1917 to force abolition by passage of a referendum. However, the move was not successful, the votes being 116,196 for, and 179,105 against.

For more information about the Abolition of the Upper House see also: