House of Representatives
Lower house of the Parliament of
Timofey Matveev, Social Democratic
Leader of the
Isaak Shvets, Social Democratic
... Social Democratic (70)
... Ecological (25)
... Socialist (10)
... Conservative (48)
... National (31)
... Liberal (5)
... Democratic (4)
... Christian Democratic (3)
... New Right (4)
Mixed member proportional
10 March 2020
By March 2023
House of Representatives Chamber
Ketchikan, San Carlos Capital Territory
San Carlos Islands
The House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of the San Carlos Islands, the upper house being the Senate. Its composition and powers are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of the San Carlos Islands.
The term of members of the House of Representatives is a maximum of three years from the date of the first sitting of the House, but on only one occasion since Federation has the maximum term been reached. The House is almost always dissolved earlier, usually alone but sometimes in a double dissolution of both Houses. Elections for members of the House of Representatives are often held in conjunction with those for the Senate. A member of the House may be referred to as a "Member of Parliament" ("MP" or "Member"), while a member of the Senate is usually referred to as a "Senator". The government of the day and by extension the Prime Minister must achieve and maintain the confidence of this House in order to gain and remain in power.
The House of Representatives currently consists of 200 members, 150 of which are elected by and representing single member districts known as electoral divisions (commonly referred to as "electorates" or "seats"). The remaining 50 members are elected proportionally off of party lists.
The San Carlos Islands House of Representatives takes the British House of Commons as its model. The San Carlos Islands is based, in practice, on the Westminster system (that is, the procedures of the British Parliament). As a democratic institution, the primary role of the House of Representatives is to provide representation for the people and to pass legislation on behalf of the people.
The House of Representatives also plays an important role in responsible government. The Government of the San Carlos Islands, directed by the Cabinet, draws the majority of its membership from the House. A government is formed when a party or coalition can show that it has the "confidence" of the House, meaning the support of a majority of members of parliament. This can involve making agreements among several parties. Some may join a coalition government, while others may stay outside the government but agree to support it on confidence votes. The prime minister is answerable to, and must maintain the support of, the House of Representatives; thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the governor-general appoints the person who has the support of the House, or who is most likely to command the support of the House. In the event that the House of Representatives loses confidence in the Cabinet, and therefore the government, it can dissolve the government if a vote of no-confidence is passed.
The current government is a coalition government consisting of the Social Democratic party, the Ecological party, and the Socialist party. These parties collectively have 105 members in the House (52.5% of seats), thus Social Democratic leader Kennedy Piątek commands the support of the House.
The Opposition's main role in the House is to present arguments against the Government's policies and legislation where appropriate, and attempt to hold the Government accountable as much as possible by asking questions of importance during Question Time and during debates on legislation. By contrast, the only period in recent times during which the government of the day has had a majority in the Senate was from 2009 to 2012 (following gains by the Conservative party led opposition that year). Hence, votes in the Senate are usually more meaningful. The House's well-established committee system is not always as prominent as the Senate committee system because of the frequent lack of Senate majority.
Universal suffrage exists for those 16 and over; San Carlos Islands citizens and others who are permanently residing in the San Carlos Islands are usually eligible to vote. However there are a few disqualifications; since 2004, all prisoners are ineligible to vote.
Parliamentary elections are conducted by secret ballot. Since 1976, a form of proportional representation called mixed-member proportional (MMP) has been used. Under the MMP system each person has two votes; one is for electorate seats, and the other is for a party. Currently there are 150 electorate seats, and the remaining 50 seats are assigned so that representation in parliament reflects the party vote, although a party has to win one electorate or 3.25% percent of the total party vote before it is eligible for these seats. No single party has won an outright majority since the introduction of proportional representation.
Main article: 2020 San Carlos Islands federal election
Name of political party
... New Right
... Christian Democratic
Timofey Matveev is the
current Speaker of the
Several partisan roles are filled by elected members. The Prime Minister is the leader of the largest political party among those forming the government (which is usually the largest caucus in the House). The Leader of the Official Opposition is the member of Parliament who leads the largest Opposition party (which is usually second-largest caucus). The Leader of the House is a member appointed by the Prime Minister to arrange government business and the legislative program of Parliament. Whips are organizers and administrators of the members in each of the political parties in the House. The whips make sure that members of their caucus are in the House during crucial votes.
Officers of the House who are not members include the Clerk of the House, the Deputy Clerk, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, and several other junior clerks. These are non-partisan roles. The most senior of these officers is the Clerk of the House, who is responsible for several key administrative tasks, such as "advising members on the rules, practices and customs of the House".
Another important officer is the Sergeant-at-Arms, whose duties include the maintenance of order and security in the precincts of the House. The Sergeant-at-Arms sits in the debating chamber opposite the Speaker at the visitors door for each House sitting session. The Sergeant-at-Arms is also the custodian of the mace, and bears the mace into and out of the chamber of the House at the beginning and end of each sitting day.
In addition to the work of the main chamber, the House of Representatives also has a large number of committees, established in order to deal with particular areas or issues. There are 22 subject select committees, which scrutinize and amend bills. They can call for submissions from the public, thereby meaning that there is a degree of public consultation before a parliamentary bill proceeds into law. The strengthening of the committee system was in response to concerns that legislation was being forced through, without receiving due examination and revision.
Each committee has between twelve and twenty-four membersóincluding a chairperson and a ranking memberówith parties broadly represented in proportion to party membership in the House. MPs may be members of more than one committee. Membership of committees is determined by the Rules Committee, which is chaired by the Speaker.
Occasionally a special committee will be created on a temporary basis.