UnderstandingParliament.An introduction presentation on the Parliamentaryprocess from an International Perspective.
Parliamentary Language… The word Parliament comes from the French, Parlement, which in turn comes from the verb Parler meaning ‘to speak.’ A parliament therefore is where people come to speak about the running of a country. Other words for Parliament are… Assembly, Senate Council Diet
The context… From around the 1500-1900s many Parliaments came about due to a desire for Democracy and less dictatorships by Kings. There were many political issues being considered at this time..... Such as… What to do with the King/Queen, where do they fit in a Democracy? What about all the rich lords, Barons and Knights, who once played major roles in the running of the country? How do we make sure the country stays a Democracy where the ‘everyday’ people are always represented?
The Structure of Government Parliaments in most countries have three sections.Head of Upper House Lower HouseState
Head of State The highest rank in a country. In Democracies it is a ceremonial role, in Kingdoms it is a Monarch. Heads of State do not usually take part in law making. The Head of state, gives a country a sense of being legitimate. It’s a pomp and ceremony role. Charles de Guile who created the modern French state wrote that the head of state is the ‘the spirit of the nation“ In Presidential Systems the Head of State forms the Executive, in Parliamentary systems, this is not the case.
The Upper House Sometimes called, Senate, Legislative Council or Federation Council. It has far less powers than the Lower House, It reviews laws and can add minor changes, Some Upper Houses have the power only to delay laws. Members are not usually elected, many are members for life, or are Chairmen of Universities. Some memberships are given as State Honours such as UK (House of Lords) There have been discussions in some countries in favour of abolishing the Upper House (Ireland)
The Lower House Sometimes called, House of Representatives, House of Commons, Chamber of Deputies, National Assembly. Although a lower House, it has the most power. The leader of the country usually sits here. (In Parliamentary systems) All members are elected by the public. Lower House creates laws and votes on them. This House usually has full control over all decision making matters of the country. The lower house can even exert laws on the Upper House.
Inside the Chamber… The Prime Minister and the party in power sit on the The Speaker, keeps right of the speaker. order They form the Government The strongest opposing party sit on the left of theLess known speaker, they aremembers of know as thethe House sit opposition and theyat the back, form a ‘shadowthey are known Government’as‘Backbenchers There aren’t enough seats for all members well known members so when the house is of the House sit at the full, some will stand. front, they are known as ‘Frontbenchers’ Green Carpet is a Commonwealth tradition for Lower Houses.