The Parliament of South Australia makes the laws that govern our State. Our Parliamentary system is based on the British Westminster system, which divides the Parliament into two Houses – the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council.

The procedures of the Parliament of South Australia are set out in the Constitution Act and in the Standing Orders as written over the years. The Presiding Officers’ decisions have also established precedents over time to meet local requirements.


The first Council of Government held its meeting in a sitting room at Government House from 1836 to 1843. With the enlargement of the Council and the proposed admission of strangers to witness the proceedings, a larger meeting place became necessary. The location chosen for the new building was on North Terrace, immediately west of the present day Parliament House site.

In 1874 a Commission was appointed by the Governor to inquire into and report on the designs submitted in competition for the new Parliament Houses and a successful design was chosen. It was decided to use local material – marble from Kapunda and granite from West Island (near Victor Harbor) – for the building. Work began on the current site, immediately east of the then existing House, and was completed in 1889.

Parliament House as it stands today was eventually completed to commemorate the centenary of the State. The project also functioned to provide hundreds of people with work during the Depression. Towards this end, the Hon. Sir J. Langdon Bonython, K.C.M.G., one of the State’s greatest benefactors, made the gift of £100,000. Plans for the completion of the building were drawn up in 1934, altered slightly from the scheme which had been approved by the Joint Committee in 1913.