A guide to accessing Queensland government publications at SLV and online.
Parliament House, Brisbane, Queensland / Charles Rudd 1849-1901 photographer.
Accession no. H39361/5
The website of the Queensland Parliament provides an overview of the history of Queensland's unicameral legislature:
Unicameral legislatures, or parliaments with only one chamber, are uncommon in Westminster parliamentary democracies. It is generally considered that the preferred parliamentary model is two chambers with both a Lower House and an Upper House of review.
In Australia, Queensland and the two territories are alone in having just one Parliamentary chamber, with the Federal Parliament and all other states having two.
The Queensland Parliament is unique among Australian states in that it was the only colonial Parliament (pre-1901) to commence with two chambers and is now the only state parliament to have just one chamber, following the abolition of the Legislative Council in 1922.
The Legislative Council was the least democratic of the states, with members not subject to any kind of popular vote, but being appointed by the Governor. Several attempts were made by the ruling Labor government to abolish the Council.
A referendum was held and failed in 1917. The validity of the referendum was challenged in the Australian High Court.
By 1921 the ruling Labor Party was able to convince the new Governor to appoint a number of Labor members to the Council, who then used their majority vote to support the Abolition of the Council Bill.