Act

A Bill that has been passed by Parliament, received Royal Assent, and become law.

Adjournment Debate

A debate held at the end of each sitting day in Parliament in which Members can raise a matter of government administration for a Minister’s attention; so called because it takes place on the motion to adjourn the House for the day.

Appropriation Bill

Bill passed annually that provides the key mechanism through which Parliament controls the expenditure of public money.

Approval in Principle

Approval given by Cabinet before government bills are introduced to Parliament.

Bicameral

A Parliament that has two Houses (an Upper House and a Lower House).

Bill

A proposed law (or statute or piece of legislation) that is introduced into Parliament but has not yet been passed. If passed and granted Royal Assent, it becomes an Act.

Bill at Cabinet Submission

Bill prepared for Cabinet approval before being introduced to Cabinet.

Cabinet

Comprises the Premier and all government Ministers and is the means through which the Government makes decisions on policy, administration and its legislative program.

Cabinet Committee

A Cabinet Committee focuses on a particular area such as economic development, social development or the environment.

Cabinet Submission

A document prepared for Cabinet’s consideration.

Council of Australian Governments

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak inter-governmental forum in Australia. COAG comprises the Prime Minister, state Premiers, territory Chief Ministers and the president of the Australian Local Government Association. The role of COAG is to initiate, develop and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and which require cooperative action by Australian governments (for example, health reform).

Community Cabinet

Ministers meet with local community groups, organisations and individuals to discuss local issues.

Constitution

The law that defines the powers and responsibilities of the Parliament of Victoria.

Crown

The formal term for Her Majesty, used especially in the context of the Queen of Australia exercising her legal powers.

Department

The Governor in Council establishes departments by Order published in the Government Gazette.

Department liaison officer

The primary contact between a Minister’s Private Office and the government department.

Executive

Those from within Government who define and implement policy, and who are answerable to Parliament for their administration.

Executive Council

The Executive Council consists of all Ministers.

General Order

The General Order allocates responsibility for administration of Acts of Parliament to Ministers.

Government

The party or group of parties (Coalition) that enjoys the support of the majority of Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Government Gazette

The Victoria Government Gazette provides official notification of decisions or actions taken by, or information from, the Governor of Victoria, government authorities, government departments, local councils, companies and individuals.

Governor of Victoria

The Crown’s representative in Victoria. The Governor exercises power on the advice of the Premier.

Governor in Council

Refers to when the Governor is given advice in the presence of the Executive Council.

Hansard

The written record of parliamentary debates; also a work unit within the Department of Parliamentary Services that produces the written record.

Judiciary

A branch of government that has the authority to interpret and apply the law, adjudicate legal disputes and administer justice.

Legislative Assembly

The Lower House of the Parliament of Victoria. Legislative Council The Upper House of the Parliament of Victoria. Legislation Laws enacted by a Legislature or Parliament.

Legislative Assembly

The Lower House of the Parliament of Victoria.

Legislative Council

The Upper House of the Parliament of Victoria.

Legislation

Laws enacted by a Legislature or Parliament.

Machinery of government

The expression ‘machinery of government’ has long been used to refer to the allocation and reallocation of functions between departments and Ministers. In Victoria, machinery of government matters are the sole responsibility of the Premier.

Minister

A Member of the Government responsible for one or more government departments; he or she is also a member of Cabinet.

Outcomes

Outcomes refer to the government’s desired or intended impacts or effects on the community

Outputs

Outputs are goods or services produced or delivered by, or on behalf of, a department or public entity.

Parliament

The Parliament of Victoria consists of the Queen, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The term also refers to the two Houses.

Parliamentary committee

A parliamentary committee consists of a group of Members or Senators (or both in the case of joint committees) appointed by one or both Houses of Parliament. The main purpose of parliamentary committees is to conduct inquiries into specified matters and report the findings to Parliament.

Parliamentary Secretary

A Parliamentary Secretary is a Member of a Parliament in the Westminster system who assists a more senior Minister with their duties.

Portfolio

The specific policy responsibilities that a Minister oversees.

Premier

Head of Government and leader and elected leader of the party or parties with a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

Prorogue

The suspension of a parliamentary session.

Public Record

Public records include any records made or received by a person employed in a public office in the course of his or her duties, or by a court or person acting judicially in Victoria.

Public sector

The public sector comprises the public service, public entities and special bodies.

Public Service

Government organisations and the staff employed in them.

Public Service body

Defined under s. 4(1) of the Public Administration Act to mean a department, administrative office, or the Victorian Public Sector Commission.

Public Service body head

Head of a department, administrative office or the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner.

Responsible government

A political system in which the Government must be supported by a Parliament which is itself answerable to the community, usually through the election process.

Royal Assent

The last stage in the process by which a Bill becomes an Act; the Governor, representing the Queen, gives it formal approval.

Second reading speech

The stage in Parliament at which the underlying principles of a Bill are debated.

Select committee

A group of Members of Parliament that considers matters referred to it and reports its findings to Parliament.

Separation of powers

Refers to the three separate branches of government: the Parliament, executive and judiciary.

Special body

Those bodies prescribed under s. 6(1) of the Public Administration Act, and any body declared by the Governor in Council, under s. 6(2) of the Act, to be a special body for the purpose of the Act.

Specific purpose payment

Grants made by the Commonwealth to state and territory governments subject to terms and conditions laid down by the Commonwealth, generally with a view to ensuring that Commonwealth policy objectives (or national objectives agreed between the Commonwealth and the states) are met.

Standing committee

Standing committees operate throughout the life of a Parliament.

Question on notice

Written questions from Members of Parliament to a Minister that require a detailed written response.

Question without notice

Oral questions asked directly of the Premier or a Minister during Question Time.

Westminster System

The system of government that exists in the United Kingdom and which has been copied, to a greater or lesser extent, by many Commonwealth countries; so called because it is named after the precinct Westminster where the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet.