Fact Sheet G5

Fact Sheet G5: Victorian Parliament and Victorian Government — what is the difference?

 

Summary: The Victorian Parliament and the Victorian Government are separate bodies with different roles and responsibilities. This fact sheet outlines the role of both the Parliament and the Government in Victoria and how they differ.

Role of the Parliament

Role of the Government

What is the Parliament?

What is the Government?

Other differences

Useful terminology

Separation of powers

Who to contact — Parliament or Government?

 

Role of the Parliament

The Victorian Parliament is the legislature. Its main function is to make laws. Members of Parliament debate and vote on proposed new laws and amend existing laws.

Another function of the Parliament is to scrutinise the work and finances of the Government. This role helps hold the Government accountable for its decisions and use of public money.

Question time is another way the Parliament holds the Government accountable. Members question ministers about government actions in a public forum. Find out more: Fact Sheet B2: Question Time.

Some of these functions are also performed by parliamentary committees. Find out more: Fact Sheet G2: Parliamentary Committees.

Role of the Government

The Victorian Government is the executive. Its functions are to govern, set policy, and to administer and implement law.

To implement many of its policies the Government needs to pass laws through Parliament. This means the Government introduces most proposed laws into Parliament.

Each year the Government proposes how the Victorian budget will be spent. The budget is then presented to Parliament for debate, consideration and approval.

Ministers are supported by government departments and agencies. These departments help with government administration such as issuing fishing licences, implementing prevention of family violence policies and processing sporting grants.

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What is the Parliament?

The Victorian Parliament consists of two houses and the Governor. The two houses are the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Governor represents the Queen in Victoria.

There are 128 members of Parliament. These members represent different areas in Victoria.

The Assembly has 88 members. Each member represents a different district in Victoria. The Council has 40 members who represent eight regions in Victoria, with each region having five members.

There are currently 11 political parties represented by members of Parliament and four independent members.

What is the Government?

The Victorian Government is formed by the party, or coalition of parties, with the majority of seats in the Assembly. Its leader is the Premier.

The Government consists of the Premier and ministers.

There are currently 22 ministers in Parliament. Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Premier.

Each minister is responsible for one or more areas of government administration, called portfolios. Some of the current portfolios include:

  • Attorney-General
  • Education
  • Health
  • Police and Emergency Services
  • Public Transport
  • Roads


See here for the full list of Ministers and their portfolios.

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Other differences

Location

Parliament is located at Parliament House on Spring Street, Melbourne.

Each member has an office at Parliament. Generally, members use this office when Parliament meets. When Parliament is not meeting, members use their electorate offices. Each member has an electorate office located in or near their electorate, where constituents can visit and raise concerns.

Government departments and agencies have offices around Melbourne and throughout Victoria. Ministers also have ministerial offices so they can be close to their departments.

Contacts

Contact members at their electorate offices. See here  for a list of members and their contact details.
Contact ministers at their ministerial offices. See here for a list of ministers and their contact details

Staffing

Staff who work for the Government are often called public servants. Some examples of public servants are nurses, teachers, police and public administration staff. They deliver government services and serve the people of Victoria.

Parliament staff are employees of the Parliament and serve all members of Parliament. Electorate Officers are also employees of the Parliament, however, their main role is to support a member and the people within that member’s electorate.

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Useful terminology

Coalition

Two parties may join to form a coalition. The parties then work together to achieve similar goals. The Liberal Party and Nationals in Victoria are currently in a coalition.

The Opposition

The political party, or coalition of parties, with the second most number of seats in the Assembly forms the Opposition. Its leader is the Leader of the Opposition.

Governor

The Governor of Victoria is appointed by the Queen on advice of the Premier. They are the Queen’s representative in Victoria.

Bicameral

Victoria has a bicameral Parliament with two separate houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.

Separation of powers

The separation of powers refers to the three arms of government — the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The three powers are separated out to provide checks and balances on each other.

The legislature is made up of the Assembly, the Council and the Governor. It makes laws and holds the Government accountable.

The executive arm is made up of the Premier, ministers and the Governor. It implements the law and makes policy. The executive is commonly called the Government. Where this fact sheet refers to the Government, it means the executive. The executive is supported by public servants who work at government departments and agencies.

The judiciary is the third arm of power. The judiciary is distinctly separate from the Parliament and the Government. It is made up of the courts and judges. It applies and makes judgements on the law.

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Who to contact — Parliament or Government?

For information about Victorian laws and any changes to those laws that may affect you, contact the relevant Government ministerial office or the relevant Government department.

  • See here for a list of ministers and their contact details.
  • See here for contact details of government departments


If there is an issue you would like raised in the Victorian Parliament, or you wish to discuss a particular public policy issue, speak with your local member of Parliament.

  • See here for a list of members and their contact details.


For help finding a bill, law or reports tabled in the Parliament, or for information on submitting petitions, contact:

  • Assembly Procedure Office — 03 9651 8563.
  • Council Chamber Support Office — 03 9651 8678.
  • General enquiries — 03 9651 8911.

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