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


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.


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


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


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.


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


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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Assembly Live




Assembly Live lists the business currently before the House. It also includes a summary of what has already occurred that day.

It is updated regularly on sitting days - refreshing this page will provide you with the latest update.

Assembly Live is an unofficial guide only and is subject to revision. The official record of proceedings for the Legislative Assembly is the Votes and Proceedings

The next sitting day is Tuesday 2 March 2021, starting at 10.00 am

Legislative Assembly Statistics 2016

Assembly Statistics 2016


Assembly Statistics pages are produced for each Legislative Assembly sitting week. They summarise statistics such as the number of sitting days, petitions presented and bills passed for the sitting week, the current year and the current Parliament.

6-8 December 2016 pdfPDF214.05 KB docxDOCX38 KB
22-24 November 2016 pdfPDF214.73 KB docxDOCX37.95 KB
8-10 November 2016 pdfPDF214.71 KB docxDOCX37.77 KB
25-27 October 2016 pdfPDF214.28 KB docxDOCX37.78 KB
11-13 October 2016 pdfPDF214.09 KB docxDOCX37.72 KB
13-15 September 2016 pdfPDF214.27 KB docxDOCX37.52 KB
30 August-1 September 2016 pdfPDF21.6 KB docxDOCX44.88 KB
16-18 August 2016 pdfPDF21.63 KB docxDOCX44.97 KB
21-23 June 2016 pdfPDF21.51 KB docxDOCX44.8 KB
7-9 June 2016 pdfPDF21.55 KB docxDOCX44.72 KB
24-26 May 2016 pdfPDF21.48 KB docxDOCX44.21 KB 
3-4 May 2016 pdfPDF21.72 KB docxDOCX44.57 KB
27 April 2016 pdfPDF21.52 KB docxDOCX43.54 KB
12-14 April 2016 pdfPDF21.56 KB docxDOCX43.48 KB
22-24 March 2016 pdfPDF21.56 KB docxDOCX43.36 KB
8-10 March 2016 pdfPDF21.49 KB docxDOCX43.15 KB
23-25 February 2016 pdfPDF21.47 KB docxDOCX42.89 KB
9-11 February 2016 pdfPDF21.4 KB docxDOCX42.78 KB


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Legislative Assembly Statistics 2015

Assembly Statistics 2015


8-10 December 2015 pdfPDF21.32 KB docxDocx42.23 KB
24-26 November 2015 pdfPDF21.7 KB docxDocx41.35 KB
10-12 November 2015 pdfPDF21.69 KB docxDocx41.33 KB
20-22 October 2015 pdfPDF21.6 KB docxDocx41.26 KB
6-8 October 2015 pdfPDF144.26 KB docxDocx41.18 KB
15-17 September 2015 pdfPDF21.52 KB docxDocx41.04 KB
1-3 September 2015 pdfPDF21.46 KB docxDocx40.95 KB
18-20 August 2015 pdfPDF21.54 KB docxDocx40.93 KB
4-6 August 2015 pdfPDF143.97 KB docxDocx40.71 KB
23-25 June 2015 pdfPDF20.92 KB docxDocx40.5 KB
9-11 June 2015 pdfPDF20.86 KB docxDocx40.4 KB
26-28 May 2015 pdfPDF143.26 KB docxDocx40.36 KB
5-7 May 2015 pdfPDF20.96 KB docx Docx40.2 KB
14-16 April 2015 pdfPDF20.99 KB docxDocx40.23 KB
17-19 March 2015 pdfPDF20.87 KB docxDocx40.23 KB
24-26 February 2015 pdfPDF21.85 KB docxDocx40.09 KB
10-12 February 2015 pdfPDF21.3 KB docxDocx39.52 KB


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Fact Sheet D1

Fact Sheet D1: Motions


Summary: Motions are proposals that the Assembly can make a decision on. Members can move motions on a variety of topics. Motions are moved to refer inquiries to parliamentary committees, to set the agenda for the week, or simply to note a certain event. This fact sheet gives members practical advice on moving, debating, and voting on motions in the Assembly.

Motions are how the Assembly makes a decision      
Giving notice of a motion
Moving a motion
Rules for motions

Debating a motion
Amending a motion
Adjourning or ending debate on a motion
Voting on a motion

Motions are how the Assembly makes a decision

The Legislative Assembly makes decisions by debating and voting on matters proposed by members. These proposals are called motions.
Even when members are debating a bill they are debating special types of motions.

To find out more about debating bills: Fact Sheet C1: How a Bill becomes Law.
This fact sheet focusses on the other types of motions the Assembly debates.


Giving notice of a motion

Usually, you must give notice to the Assembly that you plan to move a motion on a future sitting day. You can also ask for leave to move a motion immediately, see ‘Moving a motion — By leave’ below for more.
If you are not a minister you must give notice in writing. To do this, hand a copy of your notice of motion to the Clerks at the table before the end of formal business.
If you are a minister you must give notice of your motion verbally during formal business. You must also give a written copy of your notice to the Clerks at the table before the Speaker calls for notices. Once the Speaker calls for notices, seek the call to give your notice verbally, by reading it aloud.
All notices are published on the notice paper.

Moving a motion

You must move your motion in order for it to be debated. You can move your motion in one of two ways, explained below.


After giving notice

If you have given notice of your motion, it will be listed on the notice paper.
If you are a minister your notice of motion is listed on the notice paper as ‘Government Business’. If you are not a minister your notice of motion is listed on the notice paper as ‘General Business’.
General Business is only debated if all Government Business is completed. This rarely occurs, so if you are not a minister it is very unlikely that you will be able to move and debate your motion.
To move your motion you must wait until the Assembly has completed or adjourned any items before it on the notice paper. Once this happens, the Chair will call you to speak. You may stand and move your motion by reading it as it is printed in the notice paper. You can now debate your motion.

By leave

You can move a motion without notice on the condition that all members agree to allow it. This is called getting ‘leave’. You can only do this during formal business, or when the Assembly is moving from one business item to another (a ‘break in business’).
To move a motion by leave, you must seek the call and ask for leave to move your motion immediately by saying:
I move, by leave, that [insert motion here] OR
I seek leave to move that [insert motion here].
The Chair will ask members present if leave is granted. Leave is granted if no members oppose you moving your motion immediately. If leave is granted you can move and debate your motion immediately.
If any member disagrees, leave is not granted, and you cannot move your motion. You may still give notice of your motion on the next sitting day.


Rules for motions

Your motion must:

  • be framed in such a way that the Assembly can vote upon it
  • be a single sentence
  • refer to members by their proper titles
  • be no longer than 50 words (unless it is a complex procedural motion or a motion to establish, appoint members to, or refer a matter to, a committee).


Your motion must not:

  • relate to a matter before the courts
  • be a series of questions
  • be a statement
  • be the same in substance as a motion already resolved during the current session, or already listed on the notice paper
  • contain argument, evidence or statements supporting the substance of the motion
  • contain offensive, disorderly or unbecoming words
  • be frivolous or contain frivolous content.


The Clerks check notices of motion before they are published in the notice paper, and may amend notices at the Speaker’s direction.


Debating a motion

Once you have moved a motion the Assembly can debate it, amend it, postpone it, and vote on it. General business motions (motions moved by anyone other than a minister) are rarely debated.
The time you can speak depends on the type of motion. See the table over page.

Types of motions and speaking times

Type of motion
Maximum time for mover
Maximum time for other speakers
Substantive motions, for example:
  • take note motions
  • motions ratifying planning scheme amendments
  • motions adopting/amending Standing or Sessional Orders.
30 minutes, and 15 minutes to reply 30 minutes for responding lead speaker from government/opposition, 20 minutes for lead speaker from any other party (except if that party is in coalition with another party), 10 minutes for any other member

Procedural motions, for example:

  • motions to adjourn debate
  • motions to postpone items of business
  • motions setting the government business program
Five minutes

Five minutes

Total debate time limited to six speakers

Want of confidence motions Unlimited Unlimited for opposition lead speaker, one hour for lead speaker from any other party (except if that party is in coaltion with another party), 15 minutes for any other member
Address-in-reply to the Governor’s speech 20 minutes 20 minutes for seconder, 15 minutes for any other member

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Amending a motion

You can move to amend a motion once it is being debated. Your amendments must be a proposal to:

  • leave out certain words
  • leave out words and insert other words in their place, or
  • insert words.

You should give amendments to the Clerk in writing, and any amendment you propose must be relevant to the original motion.
If you wish to amend a motion please contact the clerks for advice.

See also for information on amending bills:
Fact Sheet C4: Amendments to Bills — A Practical Guide
Fact Sheet C5: Reasoned Amendments


Adjourning or ending debate on a motion

Adjourning debate

You can ask the Assembly to adjourn (postpone) debate on a motion by moving the following motion:
I move that the debate be adjourned.
You do not need to give notice, but you can only move this motion when no other member is speaking, and only if a motion to adjourn debate has not been defeated in the last 15 minutes. If you have already spoken on the motion, you cannot move to adjourn debate.
If the Assembly disagrees with the motion to adjourn, then debate continues on the original motion.
This type of motion is commonly used when a member wants to postpone the second reading debate on a bill.


Closure motion

If you want the Assembly to end debate and decide on a motion immediately you can move a closure motion. You can move a closure motion at any time without leave, even when another member is speaking.

The only restrictions are that the motion:
1. cannot be moved if a previous closure motion has been defeated in the last 15 minutes
2. can only be moved if the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is in the Chair
3. must not be an abuse of the rules of the Assembly
4. must not deny the rights of the minority
5. must not be used to obstruct business.

You can move a closure motion by saying:
I move that the question be now put.
The Chair will only accept the closure motion if it does not violate points three to five above. This is entirely at the Chair’s discretion.
If the closure motion passes, the Chair will immediately ask the Assembly to decide on the original motion. If the closure motion does not pass, debate on the original motion continues.


Voting on a motion

The Assembly decides on a motion by voting on it. The Chair will ask the Assembly to vote on a motion, called ‘putting the question’ if one of the following things occurs:

  • no member seeks the call to speak, that is, debate finishes
  • the mover of the original motion has spoken in reply to the other speakers
  • the Assembly agrees to a closure motion (see above)
  • the agreed time allotted for debate has ended
  • the government business program ‘guillotine’ time has arrived (see Fact Sheet A4: Government Business Program).

Find out more: Fact Sheet D2: Divisions

Voting on amendments to a motion

Before voting on the motion, the Chair will put the question on each proposed amendment to the Assembly. For example, if an amendment sought to insert words the Chair would put the question:
That such words be inserted.
The Assembly decides on the amendment by voting on this question.

Voting on the motion

Once all amendments have been dealt with, the Chair puts the question on the original motion, including any amendments that were agreed to. Most often, this question is:
That the motion be agreed to.

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