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Listed under:  Society  >  Citizenship  >  Law  >  Parliaments  >  Parliamentary procedures  >  Bills of Parliament
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Balance of power

Who decides what laws will be passed in Australia's parliament? See what can happen when a small number of politicians hold the balance of power. Find out how larger political parties have to convince independent politicians and members of minor parties to join their side to either support or object to a bill.

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Bob Hawke at a Canberra 'dismissal' rally, 1975 - asset 1

This is a colour photograph that shows Bob Hawke, then President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and National President of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), speaking at a rally to protest the dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr. The photograph was taken on the lawns ...

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Gough Whitlam outside Parliament House on 11 November 1975

This is a black-and-white photograph that shows Prime Minister Gough Whitlam speaking on the steps of the then Parliament House (now Old Parliament House) on 11 November 1975 after Governor-General Sir John Kerr had revoked Whitlam's commission to form a government - an event that has become known as 'the dismissal'. A ...

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Bob Hawke at a Canberra 'dismissal' rally, 1975 - asset 2

This is a black-and-white photograph of Bob Hawke, then President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and National President of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), speaking at a rally to protest the dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

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Petition for enfranchising South Australian women, 1894

This is a fragment of a signed petition, organised by the South Australian Women's Suffrage League in 1894, asking the Speaker and House of Assembly in South Australia to grant women equal voting rights with men. The document respectfully requests that legislation be passed to allow the enfranchisement of adult women. The ...

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Female suffrage Act, South Australia, 1894

This is the first page of a Bill for the enactment of an amendment to the Constitution and Electoral Acts of South Australia to allow women to hold equal voting rights with men. The 1894 Bill grants women the right to vote in elections for both the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly. A handwritten notation on ...

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'The hungry miles', 1955 - part 1 of 12

This is a clip from a black-and-white Australian dramatised documentary titled 'The hungry miles' that outlines the history of unionism among waterside workers and their attempts to maintain and improve their working conditions in the early 1950s. The film opens with a shot of the Australian coat of arms on old Parliament ...

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The Dismissal, 1983: Fraser has the numbers

This clip, from the television miniseries 'The Dismissal', shows the then Liberal Opposition leader, Malcolm Fraser, played by John Stanton, being interviewed on television in 1975 by Stuart Littlemore, playing himself. Littlemore asks Fraser a number of questions related to his political intentions. In a cutaway to The ...

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The Dismissal, 1983: Is this a time for the reserve powers?

This clip depicts governor-general Sir John Kerr (John Meillon), prime minister Gough Whitlam (Max Phipps) and the prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak (Peter Collingwood), discussing the continuing crisis of Supply, the blocking of the Appropriation Bills, and the possibility of the political crisis becoming a constitutional ...

Teacher resource

Forming government and passing legislation: unit of work

This is a unit consisting of four extended lessons about how an Australian federal government is formed and how bills are passed in the Australian Parliament. The unit takes the form of an extended simulation in which students play the roles of members of the House of Representatives. As appropriate, they take part in the ...

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Snapshots - passing a bill

This is a video of a bill being passed through the Australian Parliament. The video shows teachers and students how a law is made and details the law-making process in the Australian Parliament. It is supported with a diagram that illustrates the process and a downloadable fact sheet.