Member of parliament

What they do

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.

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.

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

How do I become one?

Education and training

Any Australian citizen over the age of 18 who does not hold dual citizenship and is 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.