Australian Senate

The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia. There are a total of 76 senators: 12 are elected from each of the six Australian states regardless of population and 2 from each of the two autonomous internal Australian territories (the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory). Senators are popularly elected under the single transferable vote system of proportional representation.

Senate
47th Parliament of Australia
Type
Type
Leadership
Sue Lines, Labor
since 26 July 2022
Penny Wong, Labor
since 1 June 2022
Katy Gallagher, Labor
since 1 June 2022
Simon Birmingham, Liberal
since 5 June 2022
Anne Ruston, Liberal
since 5 June 2022
Structure
Seats76
Political groups
Government (26)

  Labor (26)

Opposition (32)
Coalition
  Liberal (26)[lower-alpha 1]
  National (6)[lower-alpha 2]

Crossbench (18)
  Greens (12)
  One Nation (2)
  Lambie Network (2)
  United Australia (1)

  Independent (1)
Length of term
6 years (state senators)
3 years (territory senators)
Elections
Single transferable vote
Last election
21 May 2022
(half-Senate election)
Next election
2024 or 2025
Meeting place
Senate Chamber
Parliament House
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,
Commonwealth of Australia
Website
Senate

Unlike upper houses in other Westminster-style parliamentary systems, the Senate is vested with significant powers, including the capacity to reject all bills, including budget and appropriation bills, initiated by the government in the House of Representatives, making it a distinctive hybrid of British Westminster bicameralism and American-style bicameralism. As a result of proportional representation, the chamber features a multitude of parties vying for power. The governing party or coalition, which has to maintain the confidence of the lower house, has not held a majority in the Senate since 1981 (apart from the period between 2005–2007) and usually needs to negotiate with other parties and independents to pass legislation.[1]


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