The role of the President
|The Hon. Don Harwin MLC|
President of the Legislative Council
Mr Harwin was elected as President of the Legislative Council on 3 May 2011.
The President is the Presiding Officer of the Legislative Council, who is recognised as its independent and impartial representative.
The principal role of the President is to preside over the House. The President is responsible for maintaining order and applying and interpreting the practices and procedures of the House, relying on the standing orders, precedents, rulings of past Presidents and various procedural authorities.
The President is also the spokesperson of the House, and is the sole representative of the House in its relations with the Governor, the Legislative Assembly, the Executive Government and other persons and organisations outside of Parliament.
When occupying the Chair in the House, the President is referred to as ‘Mr President’.
Outside the House, the President performs various ceremonial duties including in relation to the opening of Parliament, receiving visits from foreign Heads of State and foreign delegations, and representing the Council at conferences and events.
In addition, the President has extensive corporate functions within the Parliament. The President is responsible, with the Speaker, for the control of the parliamentary precincts under the Parliamentary Precincts Act 1997
and for the overall administration of Parliament.
The President is also the head of the Department of the Legislative Council, and is responsible to the Council for its operation. As such, the role of the President is similar to that of a minister in a Government department.
The President is elected by the House as the first item of business at the first meeting of the Council following an election, and continues in office until the next election unless he or she resigns, is voted out of office or ceases to be a member.
More information on the role of the President
New South Wales Legislative Council Practice, Chapter 6
Fact Sheet 08
For a list of former Presidents of the Legislative Council, click here