About members of Parliament
Members of Parliament (MPs) are your representatives in Parliament. There are 36 members in the Legislative Council, with six members elected to represent six regions. There are 59 members in the Legislative Assembly representing 59 electoral districts. The government is always formed based on the party that has a majority of members in the Legislative Assembly.
Members of the Legislative Council are elected under a proportional representation voting system for a fixed term of four years, commencing 22 May following a general election. Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected under a preferential voting system for a maximum of four years.
Members bring a variety of experience to their role and work long hours to achieve a broad range of responsibilities, both in Parliament and in their electorate. Members are required to be at Parliament on sitting days unless granted leave of the house.
Members who are not ministers will generally be allocated positions on parliamentary committees with a strong scrutiny role in relation to legislation in the Legislative Council and government portfolio responsibilities in the Legislative Assembly.
Maintaining a close connection between members and voters is an important feature of Western Australia’s democracy. Members use newsletters, websites, social media and regular meetings to keep in touch. Constituents can also approach members for help and members can represent them on particular issues with ministers and government departments.
You will find contact details for your MP, ministers, parliamentary secretaries, shadow ministers and ministers representing ministers in each house, by clicking on the relevant right-hand navigation links on this page.
What do they do?
While the responsibilities of a member are quite broad and are influenced by the designated roles and responsibilities they hold in Parliament, broadly speaking they have the following duties:
Members make laws and debate public policy
Members participate in debates in Parliament to make laws for Western Australians or to discuss policy issues that are important to the people of this state. Members also sit on parliamentary committees where they can conduct detailed inquiries or investigations into bills (proposed laws) and social policy issues and make recommendations that can influence outcomes in the Parliament.
Members scrutinise the work of the Government
Members scrutinise the work of the government and government expenditure primarily by asking questions of ministers and debating, and through parliamentary committees. The annual estimates process in the Legislative Assembly, which examines the government’s forthcoming budget and the forward estimates of expenditure, is the primary mechanism by which members scrutinise the government’s annual financial performance.
Members represent their constituents
Members seek to address concerns, issues, questions and ideas raised by the people they represent in their electoral region or district (their constituents).
This may require a member to ask a question of a minister in Parliament or contact a public sector agency to raise an issue about a constituent concern. They may also provide information directing a constituent to the appropriate department to try to resolve an issue.
Members often represent political parties
The majority of members belong to a political party and contribute to the views and policies of that party.
Collectively, these duties mean that members of Parliament have roles as parliamentarians, as representatives of their constituents (electors) and generally as members of their political party.
These responsibilities place considerable competing demands on a member’s time. Members spend approximately 22 weeks a year (three days per week with extended hours) at Parliament, with the majority also serving on parliamentary committees. Members also spend a large portion of their time in their region or electorate so that they can understand and advocate for their electors.