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Member of parliament

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Summary of occupation

Parliamentarians represent the people of Australia and Western Australia in federal or state parliament by making decisions on their behalf and undertaking community-oriented activities in their electorate. They attend public meetings and events, make speeches in public or to organised groups,and work to develop government policies that represent the views of their electorate. Parliamentarians also attend sittings of parliament, during which time they debate and vote on new laws and changes to existing laws. They may also be placed in charge of a ministry or government department, and take responsibility for the directions that these bodies take under their leadership.

ANZSCO description: Represents the interests of people in a constituency as their elected member to a national, state or territory parliament.
Alternative names: Parliamentarian, Politician
Specialisations: Chief Minister (Aus), Government Minister, Member of the Legislative Assembly (Aus), Member of the Legislative Council (Aus), Premier (Aus), Prime Minister, Senator (Aus), State Parliamentarian
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A parliamentarian needs:

  • knowledge of either state or federal politics
  • conviction in their political beliefs
  • strong communication and networking skills
  • public speaking and debating skills
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to make decisions
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Working conditions

Parliamentarians work in offices, as well as in parliament buildings either in Perth or Canberra, depending on whether they are involved in state or federal politics. They also work at their electorate or political party's offices, and may also work from home. They work long and irregular hours, and may be on call to attend meetings or provide statements to the press. Parliamentarians travel regularly and often between their electorate and either state parliament in Perth or federal parliament in Canberra.

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Salary details

On average, Western Australian members of parliament can expect to earn at least $2 863 per week ($148 871 per year). A member of parliament's income is dependent on their position within the parliament and the type of political duties they undertake.

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Tools and technologies

Parliamentarians use computers and standard office equipment. They may also use laptop computers with wireless internet and mobile phones to stay in touch with key political contacts

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Education and training/entrance requirements

Any person who is an Australian citizen over the age of 18 and free from indictable offenses on their criminal record may stand as a candidate to be elected to represent their state or federal electorate in parliament.

In order to become a parliamentarian you need to be elected to parliament. Any member of the community may seek to become a member of parliament by either independent nomination or by becoming a member of a political party and then standing for pre-selection, where they are selected from a group of other candidates by members of their political party to represent the party in parliament.

There are no standard qualification requirements to become an elected official, but it is useful to have a broad educational background. Most members of parliament already have established careers in anything from law or business to agriculture or community services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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