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Australian House of Representatives

Extract from Wikipedia.

The Australian House of Representatives is one of the two houses (chambers) of the Parliament of Australia. It is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being referred to as the upper house. The term in office of members of the House of Representatives is a maximum of three years from the date of the first sitting of the House, but may be abridged if an early election is called (ie, if the House alone is dissolved, or if both the House and the Senate are dissolved jointly - a "double dissolution"). A member of the House may be referred to as a "Member of Parliament" ("MP" or "Member"), while a member of the Senate is usually referred to as a "Senator".

The House is not currently constituted as a result of its dissolution on 9 May 2016. The next general election will be held on 2 July 2016. The former Parliament, as elected at the 2013 election, was the 44th Federal Parliament since Federation. The most recent federal election was held on 7 September 2013 and the new House first sat on 12 November 2013. The Liberal/National Coalitionwon 90 seats out of 150 and formed the government. The Labor Party holds 55 seats and forms the opposition. The Australian Greens, Palmer United Party and Katter's Australian Party each held a single seat, while the remaining two are held by independents.

The House of Representatives currently consists of 150 members, elected by and who represent single member districts, known aselectoral divisions (commonly referred to as "electorates" or "seats"). The number of members is not fixed, but can vary with boundary changes resulting from electoral redistributions, which are required on a regular basis. The most recent overall increase in the size of the House, which came into effect at the 1984 election, increased the number of members from 125 to 148. It reduced to 147 at the 1993 election, returned to 148 at the 1996 election, and has been 150 since the 2001 election.

Each division elects one member using full-preference preferential voting. After the 1918 Swan by-election, which Labor unexpectedly won with the largest primary vote, the Nationalist government led by Billy Hughes changed the lower house voting system from first-past-the-post to full-preference preferential voting, effective from the 1919 general election. The system has remained in place, allowing the Coalition parties to safely contest the same seats. The system would continuously benefit the Coalition until the 1990 election, which was the first time Labor obtained a net benefit from preferential voting.