Evaluation of Parliament as a Law Making Body

“Parliament isn’t the most effective body to make laws.” Parliament is an elected supreme law-making body that is able to create new laws that reflect the needs of the people. It is not always effective as there are many different factors that can both help and hinder the process of legislation within the two houses. By being an arena for debate parliament is able to formulate effective laws through by discussing and debating the presented purpose of a proposed law.

Thus lessening any chance of an unjust and inconsistent law being passed by allowing many different views to be voiced and considered. However with government controlling the majority of seats within the lower house, proposed laws are easily passed and in some occasions party discipline is used to achieve this. By forcing its members to vote according to what the party mandates, some laws involving different electorates don’t reflect the views of that area. Furthermore some proposed laws may be take months, or even years, to be passed.

This is largely due to a hostile upper house. Senate is described in this manner the government does not hold a majority and so the senators may show hostility towards any plans of change in the laws and therefore vote against them; an advantage of this is that proposed laws will be debated more. However the disadvantage is that some laws have to be watered down in order to be passed thus making them not as effective as they could be. An example of this is GST which had to be watered down before it was accepted by Senate and in doing this the law itself become more complicated and harder to decide which items would have GST added to them.

As the supreme law making- body parliament is able to change existing laws and create new ones as the need arises within as long as the problem falls under its jurisdiction. Parliament is able to amend laws that have become outdated because of changed values in society and those that are ineffective due to advances in medicine and technology. This is demonstrated in the Crimes (Stalking) Act 2003 in which it is now a punishable offence to be found electronically contacting either the victim, or persons relating to the victim, with the intent of causing psychological damage or fear for their own safety. However some changes in the law are delayed due to public debate on the issue. This often takes a long time and so some law changes may be delayed indefinitely.

The Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001, which was given royal assent on 12 June 2001, changed a number of different acts so that all forms of domestic relationships would be covered, regardless of the gender of both partners. The bill itself was first initiated on the 22nd of November 2000 and underwent the second reading on the 23rd of November 2000. The bill was then delayed in order for public debate to take place.

For parliament to accurately reflect the social values of the majority of the people, they set up committees in order to investigate different areas of law. In order to gain this information the committee usually hold public forums or ask for submissions by the public so as to determine their needs.

This allows for whole areas of law to be thoroughly investigated and any necessary expert knowledge to be sought; the findings of the committee are reported to parliament. As committees contain members from the government and the opposition the findings generally have the support of both parties. In retrospect parliament lacks the time to pass minor details that are related to a particular area of the law.

The power to create these laws is passed to subordinate authorities; who have not been elected by the people (excluding local councils). This means that minor laws are contained within regulations and the authority to create these regulations, or delegated legislation, has to be given under a parliamentary act. An example is the Road Safety (Road Rules) (School Days) Regulations 2007 which is a minor law that was made under the Road Safety Act 1986.