The way laws have been made and implemented in Queensland has varied over time and been significantly impacted by changes to the government and independence of Queensland from the rest of Australia.
A number of groups and institutions have been responsible for the creation and amendment of law in Queensland over time, these include:
Until 1859 New South Wales included Queensland (Queensland wasn't even given its name until 1859.) This means that the New South Wales government was responsible for the creation and amendment of legislation in what is now called Queensland.
In 1859 the Colony of Queensland was formed, separating Queensland from New South Wales. This meant the appointment of a Governor and Parliament. The Parliament was formed based on the Westminster system, with an elected lower house (Legislative Assembly) and an appointed upper house (Legislative Council). All new laws had to be agreed on by both houses to be passed, then signed off on by the Governor. The Governor not only represented the Queen but selected the members of the upper house (Legislative Council).
When Federation occurred in 1901 Queensland became a state of Australia. This meant that federal law made by the new Australian Government applied to Queensland, and legislative powers were divided between Queensland and the new Commonwealth of Australia.
In 1922 Queensland abolished its upper house (Legislative Council) after decades of debate and criticism. The key criticism appears to have been that the upper house (Legislative Council) was appointed by the Governor General, not elected by the people of Queensland, it was argued that the council was not democratic. In all other states in Australia there is a upper and lower house but both are elected by the people.
The Queensland government was also having increasing difficulty passing legislation as the upper house (legislative Council) was often 'hostile' towards the lower house (Legislative Assembly). Although debate and disagreement in central to good government - enabling the best possible outcome through negotiation and compromise, it was felt that the Upper House (Legislative Assembly) was going too far, and did not represent the people of Queensland.
State legislation in Queensland now passes through the lower house, a number of committee(s) and the Governor General.
Prepared by: Elizabeth Daniels
Created: 30 October 2014, Last modified: 11 November 2014