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The House of Assembly Chamber

The House of Assembly Chamber has not changed since the western wing was completed in 1889. Its lofty walls, beautifully decorated ceiling and oil portraits of past Speakers and Premiers, contribute to the charm and distinctive character of the Chamber. The layout of the Chamber is in the traditional British style with the Government benches on the Speaker's right and the Opposition benches to the left. The cross benches at the southern end of the Chamber curve around to meet the gangway leading into the Chamber from the end.

The Speaker occupies an exquisitely carved chair on a dais at the northern end of the Chamber. At the table below the Speaker's chair there are three chairs, that on the Speaker's right being used by the Clerk, the centre chair by the Chairman of Committees, and that on the left by the Deputy Clerk and Serjeant-at-Arms. There are two brackets on top of the table in which the Mace rests when the Speaker is in the chair. When the House is in Committee, the Mace is removed from the table and placed on two supports below the table.

The Chamber furniture is of walnut with teak panels. The ribbed upholstery and the carpet with its South Australian motif of grapes, sheaves and wattle, are both in traditional green. A further traditional touch is added by the red 'sword-strip' carpet border which is immediately in front of the Treasury bench and the Opposition front bench, and which incorporates in its design the distinctive floral emblem of South Australia, the Sturt Pea. This red border is a reminder of more dangerous times in the history of the House of Commons, when Members were required to keep both feet behind a red carpet border, as to cross this line would put them in a position to make a successful sword thrust at a Member on the opposite side of the House. While the wearing of swords in the Houses of Parliament has long since been discontinued, the presence of this strip of carpet in the House of Assembly Chamber is a visible reminder of the source of our Parliamentary heritage.

Galleries of The House of Assembly

Above the Speaker's chair are the galleries occupied by the 'Hansard'  reporters (in the centre) and media reporters (on the two sides). At the southern end of the Chamber and beyond the bar of the House is the Speaker's Gallery. Members of the public may be admitted to this gallery with the permission of the Speaker.

The Stranger's Gallery is immediately above the Speaker's Gallery and is freely open to the general public when the House is in session.

Government And Opposition Benches

On the front Government Bench, known as the Treasury bench, sit the House of Assembly Members of the Ministry, in order of precedence, with the Premier nearest to the Speaker. Behind the Treasury bench sit the Government Members. Directly across the floor of the Chamber from the Premier sits the Leader of the Opposition and, alongside and behind them, sit members of their Party. Other Members who are affiliated neither directly with the Government nor with Opposition Parties sit on the cross benches on the Opposition side of the Chamber. Each member is allocated a specific seat in the House and this is indicated by the name printed on the desk in front of the position. Microphone and speaker sets are on the desks for amplification in the Chamber and galleries.

The Legislative Council Chamber

The Legislative Council Chamber was completed in 1939. Its lighting and acoustic properties are superb and beautiful Queensland maple panelling and traditional red carpet enrich the atmosphere of the 'House of Review'. Galleries surround the Chamber on three sides on the floor level and on all four sides on the first floor level.

Legislative Council Chamber.

Its overall dimensions are the same as those of the House of Assembly Chamber. The Vice-Regal throne (which is also the President's chair) at the northern end has been in use in the Legislative Council since 1855. Made of English oak, it is richly carved with Gothic decorations, and the seat is covered with red velvet. The back is supported by spiral columns, surmounted by the Royal Arms carved also in solid oak.

Beneath the President's dais is the Table of the Council, with the Clerk's chair at the President's right and the chair of the Deputy Clerk and Black Rod at the left. The centre chair is occupied by the President in his capacity as Chairman of Committees when the Council is in Committee. Black Rod's staff lies in the brackets on the front of the Council Table during the sitting of the Council.

On the front bench on the right of the President sit the Legislative Council Ministers. The allocation of the remaining seats is made on the basis of a Member's affiliation with either the Government or Opposition Parties, Government Members occupying the seats on the right of the President.

It is in the Legislative Council Chamber that each session of Parliament is opened by the Sovereign's Representative (the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor) in the presence of Members of both Houses.

Galleries of the Legislative Council

The galleries on either side of the Chamber immediately behind the Members' benches are used during the Opening of Parliament for the accommodation of distinguished guests. Beyond the bar is the President's Gallery and upstairs are the Stranger's Galleries. 'Hansard' and media reporters occupy the northern upstairs galleries.