House at work

The most important functions of the provincial Parliament are to make laws for the province, to provide a forum for public debate, to oversee the Executive (government) and to hold the government to account.

After a general election, the Provincial Parliament convenes to swear in the elected Members and to elect a Speaker who chairs meetings of the House and a Premier who heads the government. At a special sitting of the House called the official opening, the newly elected Premier delivers the opening or state of the province address setting out the policies the government intends to pursue and identifies some of the bills it intends to introduce.

Business of parliament is arranged by the Leader of the House and the whips of the various political parties represented in Parliament. Mondays to Fridays are parliamentary working days and the hours of sitting from Monday to Thursday are from 14:15 to adjournment, and on Fridays from 10:00 to adjournment. The parliamentary programme is published quarterly and contains the business the House will deal with for that period. On Thursdays parliamentary questions, interpellations and questions without notice to the Premier are dealt with. Ordinary Members may put questions to Ministers relating to their portfolio as part of their oversight function.

The Secretary is the principal adviser to the Speaker and Members on procedural issues and is responsible for the publication of all parliamentary documents and for monitoring all records of the House.