What is Parliament?

Discover the structure and key functions of the Australian Parliament with this short video. It introduces the Parliament’s roles of law-making, representing Australians, the formation of government, and checking the work of the government.

Teachers can use this video to provide an overview of the Australian Parliament for their students. This supports the Year 6 Unit of work.

Duration: 2 min 3 sec




Opening credits showing images of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Australian Flag, the Governor-General, and the Main Committee Room. Music. 
Title: About Parliament, What is Parliament? What is Parliament?
The presenter stands in front of Parliament House in Canberra. Presenter: The federal Parliament meets here at Parliament House in Canberra to represent the people of Australia.
This is the place where laws are made and where issues of national importance are debated and dealt with.
It's where government is formed and where government is held accountable for its actions.
Footage of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).
Footage of the Senate and House of Representatives at work.
Presenter: In Australia, the Parliament is made up of the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, and two Houses of Parliament: the Senate, and the House of Representatives.
Footage of people voting in a polling place.
Graphic showing Australia divided into electorates and then into states and territories.
Presenter: At election time, Australians vote to send a person from their local region, known as an electorate, and people from their state or territory, to represent them in Parliament.
Footage of the Senate at work.
Footage of the House of Representatives at work.
Presenter: 76 senators are elected to the Senate and 150 members are elected to the House of Representatives.
Footage of the government in the House of Representatives with the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, standing at the Despatch Box. Presenter: The political party with the most members in the House of Representatives forms the government.
The presenter stands in front of a bookcase filled with red books. Presenter: One of the most important things Parliament does is to make new laws or change old ones.
A proposal to change a law, or make a new one, is called a bill.
Picture of the cover of a bill entitled The Australian Education Amendment Bill 2017.
Graphic showing stacks of bills piled up.
A government minister stands and speaks at the Despatch Box in the House of Representatives.
Footage of the Parliament at work, including in the Senate, the House of Representatives and in a committee room.
Caption: Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee.
The Parliament passes around 160 bills each year.
Most are introduced by government ministers. The actions of government are carefully examined by the Parliament through processes such as Question Time and through the work of parliamentary committees.
Text appears next to an Australian flag:
Represents the people of Australia.
Where government is formed.
Makes and changes laws.
Examines the work of the government.
So let's sum up.
Parliament represents the people of Australia, and it's the place where government is formed.
Parliament makes and changes laws and examines the work of the government.
Title: Parliamentary Education Office. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2017.
Parliamentary Education Office logo
Parliamentary Education Office website: www.peo.gov.au