How to become a Parliamentarian

Parliamentarian

Parliamentarians are elected by the people (constituents) of a particular region (such as an electorate) to represent their interests. They make decisions in federal, state or territory parliaments and undertake activities in their local electorates.

Personal requirements for a Parliamentarian

  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy talking to, working with and helping people
  • Able to apply sound judgment
  • Enjoy dealing with issues in current affairs and politics
  • Prepared to work long hours
  • Willing to travel and live away from home when required
  • Sound management skills

Education & Training for a Parliamentarian

There are no specific education requirements to become a parliamentarian, but it helps to have a broad educational background. Most parliamentarians have already established successful careers in other fields, such as law, business, agriculture, economics, industrial relations or community services, before standing for election. They may also have had previous experience as councillors, who perform many of the same tasks as parliamentarians at the local government council level. Parliamentary skills are usually developed on the job and through day-to-day contact with colleagues and party officials. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in political science, law, business, economics or an area in the humanities, such as English or history. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

Parliamentarians can be elected to the Federal Senate or House of Representatives, or, at state and territory level, to the State Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council. Local government councils also have elected councillors.

Duties & Tasks of a Parliamentarian

Parliamentarians:

  • Present issues for debate and discussion in parliament
  • Propose and debate new legislation and changes to existing legislation
  • Develop policy that best serves 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.

Tasks

  • May serve as a member on parliamentary committees and inquiries..
  • Attends community functions and meetings of local groups to provide service to the community, gauge public opinion and provide information on government plans..
  • May present petitions on behalf of concerned groups..
  • Introduces proposals for government action and represents public and electoral interests..
  • Helps constituents with a range of problems particularly with regard to matters concerning government and local agencies..
  • Investigates matters of concern to the public and to particular persons and groups..
  • Develops policy, and formulates, amends and repeals legislation and by-laws..
  • Issues policy directions to government departments and exercises control over local government authorities..

Working conditions for a Parliamentarian

Parliamentarians have a high level of personal contact with the public. Elected parliamentarians tend to spend most of their time working with constituents who are seeking assistance with issues such as pensions, taxation, immigration, education, health services, visas and other matters of public concern.


Employment Opportunities for a Parliamentarian

Most parliamentarians in Australia are members of political parties. To be elected to parliament as a member of a political party you must first be pre-selected by the party to represent them in your electorate. 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, if they are a member of a party in government, 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.


Specializations

Parliamentarian

Parliamentarians are elected by the people (constituents) of a particular region (such as an electorate) to represent their interests. They make decisions in federal, state or territory parliaments and undertake activities in their local electorates.

  • Average age
    Average age
    50 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    34% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    62 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    96% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    770 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 4.4%
    NSW: 22.7%
    NT: 3.2%
    QLD: 16.1%
    SA: 10.9%
    TAS: 6.2%
    VIC: 20.8%
    WA: 15.7%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 0.5%
    25-34: 7.8%
    35-44: 22.7%
    45-54: 37.1%
    55-59: 14.8%
    60-64: 10.6%
    65 and Over: 6.4%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 7.2%
    Bachelor degree: 44.5%
    Certificate III/IV: 5.1%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 27.6%
    Year 10 and below: 4.2%
    Year 11: 1.5%
    Year 12: 10%
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