Series S4410 - TABLED PAPERS

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AU WA S4410




  • 1871-01-01 - 1965-12-31 (Accumulation)
  • 1832-02-07 - (Creation)

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AU WA A632 - LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL (1832-01-01 -)

Administrative history

On 1 November 1830 an Order-in-Council was issued in England, which Order was published in Western Australia on 29 December 1831, "for the establishment of a Legislative Council to make all necessary laws and to constitute all necessary courts for the peace, order and good government of the settlement". These powers, granted under the terms of an Imperial Act of 1829 which empowered the Crown to authorize any three or more persons to make laws for the colony, were subject to the provisos that any law or ordinance made by the Council must have been first proposed by the Governor or officer administering the Government and was subject to disallowance by the Secretary of State. Owing to the delay in the receipt of the Order-in-Council in Western Australia, it was not until 7 February 1832 that the first sittings of the Legislative Council were held.

The Legislative Council as first constituted consisted of five official members all of whom also constituted the Executive Council. These were: Captain James Stirling R.N., Governor; Captain Frederick Chidley Irwin, Commandant; Peter Broun, Colonial Secretary; John Septimus Roe, Surveyor General; William Henry Mackie, Advocate General.

In 1839 the appointment of four non-official members was also sanctioned.

An ordinance passed in 1870 provided for the establishment of a Legislatiave Council with 18 members: 12 elected, 3 officials (Colonial Secretary, Surveyor-General and Attorney-General) and 3 nominee non-officials. A property franchise had to be satisfied both by those voting and by those seeking election to the reconstituted Legislative Council.

The Governor, who was no longer a member of the Council, had the power to prorogue or dissolve the Council at any time. He retained a power of veto and remained primarily responsible to the Secretary of State in London.

With the achievement of responsible government in 1890, through the Constitution Act of 1889 as enacted in the Imperial Act of 1890, a bicameral legislature was established. It consisted of an elected lower house, the Legislative Assembly, and a nominated upper house, the Legislative Council. The latter was to become an elected house after six years or when the population exceeded 60, 000 whichever occurred first. The Council became fully elective under the Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1893. Eligibility to vote included a property qualification until 1964.

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Scope and content

Tabled papers comprise government reports (including annual reports), petitions, regulations, by-laws, financial returns and correspondence associated with the aforementioned that have been tabled before the Legislative Council.

These records consist of the original items tabled before the Council and as such often contain documentation and information (such as supporting correspondence, annotations, etc.) not replicated in the published Parliamentary Votes and Proceedings.

Some of the tabled papers consist only of the front cover, with no contents. The reasons for this are: 1) the tabled paper was a departmental file which was subsequently returned to the relevant department; 2) there was a transfer between Houses with the paper being tabled also in the Legislative Assemblyl; or 3) the papers were not otherwise present at the time they transferred from the Legislative Council in 1963.

Debate about matters raised in relation to papers tabled before the Legislative Council is chronicled in the published Parliamentary Debates (Hansard).

(Copies of Parliamentary Votes and Proceeding and Hansard are publicly available at the State Library of Western Australia).


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