Making a law

Get an introduction to the law-making process of the Australian Parliament with this short video. It includes all the law-making steps in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Teachers can use this video to introduce the topic of law-making in the Australian Parliament to their students. This supports the Year 6 and Year 8 units of work and the Make a law: House of Representatives and Make a law: Senate Classroom activities.

Duration: 3 min 28 sec




Opening credits showing animated shapes with the words, UNDERSTAND, TEACH, BOOK, CONNECT.


The Parliamentary Education Office logo.


Animated Parliament House pops into frame.  Papers labelled 'A Law' pop out of the top.

Narrator: One of the main roles of the Australian Parliament is to make laws for the people of Australia.

A document titled, ‘Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. An Act to Constitute the Commonwealth of Australia’ swings into frame.

Icons depicting Parliament House, welfare, defence, immigration and taxation appear on the front of the Constitution.

Narrator: This power comes from the Australian Constitution, which says that the Australian Parliament has powers to make laws on important national matters such as welfare, defence, immigration and taxation.

Icons depicting laws and people appear on the front of the Constitution.

Narrator:  Laws are formal rules which people and organisations have to follow.

A new document, titled ‘A Bill for an Act to amend the Australian Education Act’ appears on screen.

Narrator: A proposal for a new law, or a change to an existing one, is called a bill.

Animated Parliament House appears and then focus moves to House of Representatives side of the building.

Narrator: Most bills are introduced into the Parliament by government ministers and usually begin in the House of Representatives.

The Clerk stands behind the Despatch Box and reads the title of the bill.

The Clerk: First reading, a bill for an act to amend the Australian Education Act 2013 and for related purposes.

A government minister speaks from the Despatch Box in the House of Representatives.

The Speaker: The Minister

The Minister: I move that this bill be now read a second time.

Narrator: Once a bill is introduced, members can debate it and then vote on it.

Members of the House of Representatives debate a bill in the House of Representatives.

Opposition member: As a community, we should make sure you get a great education. It’s the promise that we make to every Australian child at their birth.

The Speaker conducts a vote on the voices in the House of Representatives.

6 speech bubbles animate on to say "aye". 2 speech bubbles to say "no".

The Speaker: All those of that opinion say ‘aye’.

Supporters of the vote: Aye.

The Speaker: To the contrary ‘no’.

Those opposing the vote: No.

Speaker: I think the ‘ayes’ have it.

The bill swings back into frame in front of the Speaker. The word ‘PASSED’ is stamped onto the bill in green.

Narrator: If the bill is agreed to in one house, it is sent to the other house— in this case, the Senate— where a similar process is followed.

A crossbench senator speaks in the Senate.


Crossbench senator: It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this bill because whatever the outcome of our consideration, it will have a far-reaching effect on a generation of children and their educational outcomes.

A senator with a thought bubble. The thought bubble has the bill inside it then a lightbulb appears beside the bill.

Narrator: If senators and members think that a bill needs to be changed, they can suggest amendments.

Another minister speaks in the Senate.

Minister: These amendments provide for the establishment of a national school resourcing body.


Narrator: These amendments are also debated and voted on.

Another crossbench senator speaks in the Senate.

Crossbench senator: Are there educational measurable statistics attached to your amendment? Because I’d really like to consider it if there were.

A magnifying glass appears, going over the bill.

Narrator: Bills can also be investigated more closely through the work of parliamentary committees. Either house of Parliament can send a bill to a committee for detailed examination.

 Red lines and scribbles appear on the bill.

Narrator: A committee might suggest changes to a bill or make other recommendations for the Houses to consider.

A member holds a document labelled ‘Report’ and speaks in the House of Representatives.



In a split screen with the member on the left and a senator on the right, a senator, holding a document labelled ‘Report’, speaks in the Senate.


The member gives a thumbs up and the senator smiles.

Member: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the House of Representative Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, I present this report of the Committee entitled, ‘Innovation …


Senator: Here we have the Finance and Public Administration Reference Committee’s report…


Narrator: This process helps the Parliament make better informed decisions.


The bill, with the word ‘PASSED’ stamped on it in green, swings into frame.


The word ‘PASSED’ is stamped on the bill in red.


At the bottom of the bill are the words ‘Signed, The Governor-General (on behalf of the King).' Governor-General is written on the bill in pen.

Narrator: After being agreed to in exactly the same form in the House of Representatives and the Senate, bills must be approved by the Governor-General. This is called Royal Assent.

The bill is now titled, ‘A Law. The Australian Education Act.’

Narrator: After the bill is signed, it becomes a law—called an Act of Parliament.

Parliamentary Education Office logo.
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