What is a parliamentary majority?

The term ‘parliamentary majority’ can have different meanings.

'Parliamentary majority' can mean  a party or coalition of parties must have the support of the majority of members in the House of Representatives to form government. This is also known as a government majority. With the support of more than half of the members in the House of Representatives, a government can use its parliamentary majority to pass its bills – proposed laws – and carry out its policies. In Australia there are 151 seats in the House of Representatives and the number required to form government is 76 (half the total number of members plus 1).

‘Parliamentary majority’ can also be used to describe the number of seats the government has above those needed to form government. If a party won 90 seats at an election—but they only needed 76 to form government—you could say they have a parliamentary majority of 14 (90-76=14). 

The Prime Minister and members of the government in the House of Representatives.

The government side of the House of Representatives.

Graham Tidy/DPS AUSPIC

The government side of the House of Representatives.

The Prime Minister and members of the government in the House of Representatives.

Graham Tidy/DPS AUSPIC

Description

This image shows part of the House of Representatives. There is a large table at which the Prime Minister and the Clerks sit. There are 5 rows of seats behind the Prime Minister, with the rear 4 rows also having desks in front of the seats. The seats are occupied by government members.