Politics of Victoria
The Australian state of Victoria has a bicameral parliament. The Legislative Assembly (lower house) is composed of 88 members of parliament, each of whom represent a single electorate. The voting system is preferential. Until recently, Members of the Assembly serve for between three and four years, but the Bracks Government has made terms a fixed length of four years. The Legislative Council (upper house) is organised into 22 electoral provinces, each with two members. Council members serve for two terms of the Assembly, with half submitting themselves to the electorate at each election. Hence, the Council never formally dissolves. The Queen of Victoria, who is the same person as the Queen of Australia and the Queen of the United Kingdom has a representative called the governor who formally appoints the elected premier. In practice the governor has no real power.
The two main parties are the governing Labor party (ALP) and the opposition conservative coalition of the Liberal and National parties. Other minor parties include the Greens, and the Democrats.
The Victorian Government is often referred to as Spring Street, a metonymy of the street of that name where the Parliament House of Victoria is located in Melbourne.
Notable Victorian political figures
Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix (opponent of conscription in World War I)
John Wren - notorious bookmaker, underworld figure and politician. The famous novel Power Without Glory by Communist author Frank Hardy was allegedly based on his exploits, although a short TV documentary appearing on Rewind showed Hardy's motivations for painting Wren as a lifelong crime figure were themselves politically motivated. Unsuccessful attempts were made to suppress the novel on the grounds of libel, although these backfired and caused the fictional life of Hardy's John West to become tangled with Wren's in the minds of most Australians.
Robert Menzies: Australians longest serving Prime Minister held office during the 1950s and 1960s. Remembered for anti-communism, extreme devotion to the Queen and Empire, and for a period of particular prosperity and a sense of well-being and stability in Australia.
Henry Bolte: Conservative populist premier responsible for the last judicial execution (the hanging of Ronald Ryan in 1967)
Jeff Kennett: Conservative populist premier. He was one of the most aggressive proponents of privatisation in the world, who was inspired by, but went beyond Margaret Thatcher. Roads, prisons, power, hospitals, trams and railways were privatised. He massively reduced Victoria public debt, and reduced public assets by an even greater proportion. His aggressive reforms led to a surprise electoral loss in 1999 to the current Premier (2004) Steve Bracks.
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