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Representative Government

Politics and Law (Year 12) - Essential Information

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Representative Government Definition for Kids

This video simply outlines a broad definition of representative government. It uses the American system as an example, but it works similarly in Australia.


Representative government is the system in which citizens of a country/and or state elect representatives to faithfully reflect the composure and composition of the electorate, by making decisions for the betterment of the electorate. This also means that citizens have the power to vote for different representatives if they feel their beliefs are not being represented.

Section 7 and Section 24 of the Australian Commonwealth Constitution enables representative governance to occur. Section 7 stipulates that, "The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State..." Section 24 also declares something similar, stating that, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth..." Both these Constitutional sections empower Australian citizens to elect candidates which best represent their beliefs on a federal level.

Ensuring Representativeness: The Senate

The Senate is a true example of representative government considering its history in proportionally representing the composure of the Australian public. For example, it was the first house in parliament having an Indigenous Australian, an openly gay man, an Asian Australian, an openly gay woman, as well as many others. In comparing the House of Representatives and the Senate, women now make up 50% the Senate but only 30% in the House of Representatives.

The Senate has been criticised for representing the minority at a greater level than the majority, but through this representation the Senate is able to review legislation through which there is a great variety of beliefs.

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