Representation: Activity 2

Federal Parliament - Analysing, interpreting and comparing information

  1. Divide class into eight groups and ask each group to research representation in Federal Parliament. Instruct students to complete the two tables on BLM 3 Parliament Research Worksheet 1. The information gathered in the second will be jigsawed with the whole class so ensure that each group researches only one specified State/Territory. 

    The following websites will assist:

    Australian Parliament House

    Australian Electoral Commission

  2. Provide each group with large sheet of poster paper. Alternatively students may choose to use a graphing software program if available.

    Instruct students that they are to create three charts based on information from their Parliament research worksheet. Inform students that they will need to present, discuss and display their graphs to the whole class.

    Graphs

    1. A histogram showing the number of House of Representatives members and the number of electors in their given State/Territory.
    2. A pie chart showing the number of House of Representative members in their given State/ Territory as a proportion of the total House of Representatives members.
    3. A pie chart showing the number of Senate members in their given State/ Territory as a proportion of the total number of Senate members.
  3. Draw the class together and allow each group to present their findings. Display posters prominently for information to be viewed by the whole class. Using the groups’ graphs and accompanying presentations, jigsaw information and facilitate a discussion around number of representatives, electors, and State/Territory representation in Federal Parliament.

    Prompt questions could include:

    • How many House of Representatives members are there in each State/ Territory?
    • Do all States and Territories have the same number of House of Representatives members?
    • Why do you think they differ?
    • How many electors are in each State / Territory?
    • Which State/Territory has the most/least?
    • Is there a pattern to the number of electors and the number of members in the House of Representatives in each State and Territory?
    • How many Senators are there in each State or Territory?
    • Do all States and Territories have the same number of Senators?
    • What are the similarities/differences?
    • Why do you think they might differ?

    Summarise class discussion points on a large poster paper and display.

    Teacher note: Explain to students that the original States at the time of Federation were guaranteed the same number of Senate representatives. This gave each State equal representation in the Senate. This was to encourage the smaller States to join the Federation in 1901. This equality in representation is enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

    Originally each State had six Senate representatives, but, because of the growth in Australia’s population, this number has now expanded to twelve. This increase in Senate representation is also determined by the Constitution in what is called the nexus - the number of Senate members must be approximately half the number of the total number of members in the House of Representatives. The two Territories do not have the same number of Senators (only 2 each) because they are not ‘original states’.

    Introduction | Activity One | Activity Two | Activity Three | Activity Four