The President is the Presiding Officer of the Legislative Council and as such must act with both authority and impartiality. The President is responsible for upholding the rights and privileges of the Council and is the spokesperson for the Council.
The role of the President in the House is to maintain order, put questions after debate, and conduct divisions. This means that the President must ensure that, within the rules of the House, each member must get a fair opportunity to speak on a matter being debated, and that the matter is brought to a resolution.
In maintaining order, the President interprets and applies the Standing Orders and the practice and procedure of the House by making decisions and formal rulings. The President's decisions are, however, subject to the will of the House; that is, they can be changed by a majority vote of the House.
The President of the Council is a member of the Council who is elected by the other members of the Council under section 49 of the Consitution Act 1889. A President must be elected after each general election, or upon the resignation or removal from office of a serving President. A President may be removed from office only by a vote of the House. This means that the President must maintain the confidence of a majority of members of the House. In turn, this ensures that the President is impartial in his or her maintenance of order in the House.
The President also has extensive administrative functions. The President is the political head of the Parliamentary Department of the Legislative Council, just as a Minister is the political head of a Department of State (such as the Health Department). Together with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the President is responsible for the overall management of the Parliament.
The current President of the Legislative Council is the Hon Barry House MLC.