The Legislative Council was Western Australia's first governing and legislative body and met for the first time on the 7th February 1832, less than three years after the first British settlers arrived. Originally, the Legislative Council consisted of five appointed members and was presided over by the Governor of the colony.
Representative Government was first established in Western Australia with the Legislative Council in 1870 comprising 18 Members; with 12 elected and six nominated.
In 1890, Western Australia gained self-government in most domestic matters. The Legislative Assembly was established and the Legislative Council was re-constituted as the upper House of the colony's Parliament.
Since 1890, there have been various reforms in the constitution and method of election of members of the Legislative Council. Today, the Council comprises 36 members elected from 6 multi-member, regional electorates. Members of the Council are elected for a fixed term of 4 years. In the most recent elections, held in September 2008, members were elected from 4 political parties, which is an indication that the Council increasingly reflects the political diversity of the people of Western Australia.
What does the President do?The President's Home PageHon Barry House MLC
The Legislative Council plays an important role in the governance of Western Australia. Although the Government is formed in the Legislative Assembly, regardless of the composition of the Council, laws can only be made with the approval of both Houses. The Council is therefore often called a House of Review, although the review of Government action is only one of the Council’s functions. In the performance of its functions, the Council exercises most of the same powers as the Legislative Assembly, but has some limitations in respect of its ability to introduce or amend certain financial legislation.
I hope that through this Site you will be able to explore and understand the role, functions, composition and history of the Legislative Council in Western Australia. The server will be updated regularly, and the information will be kept as current as possible. There are plans to expand the Site and increase its usefulness over time. In the meantime, we welcome your comments and suggestions for improvement of the Site.