Roles and responsibilities
- present issues for debate and discussion in parliament
- propose changes to existing legislation and policy that best serve the interests of the public and the electorate
- investigate matters of concern to the public or particular interest groups
- present petitions on behalf of concerned interest groups
- serve on parliamentary committees or enquiries
- manage an office in their home electorate and in the house of parliament
Most parliamentarians in Australia are members of political parties. You can also stand for election as an independent candidate. Parliamentarians who gain extensive experience and develop a high profile in parliament and in the community can be promoted to ministerial positions.
Ministers are responsible for managing a particular area of government such as defence or education. Experienced parliamentarians in opposition parties can become shadow ministers, who are responsible for developing their party's policies and leading debate in a particular area of government. Familiarity with specialist areas such as economics, finance, tourism and industrial relations may be advantageous to parliamentarians who are seeking particular portfolios.
Parliamentarians who are chosen to lead their party can become Prime Minister, Premier or Chief Minister if their party is elected to form government. Advancement to these levels of responsibility is dependent on talent, interpersonal skills, perseverance, and the number of years of experience.
Relevant postgraduate courses include: