Government & Defence
Member of Parliament
Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected by the people of their local constituency to represent their interests in parliament.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Member of Parliament do?
Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected by the people of their local constituency to represent their interests in state or federal parliament. Members of Parliament are commonly referred to as MPs or parliamentarians.
As an MP, you would:
- attend sessions in parliament
- debate issues and raise questions in parliament
- propose and debate new legislation or changes to existing legislation
- serve on committees or enquiry panels
- take up issues and concerns on behalf of your constituents
- visit people in places like schools and businesses to get insight into local issues
- make speeches inside and outside parliament
- give interviews to the media
- manage an electorate office and a parliamentary office
- reflect the views and policies of the parliamentary party to which you belong.
Outside of parliamentary sitting times, parliamentarians tend to spend most of their time working with constituents who are seeking assistance with issues such as pensions, taxation, immigration, education, health services, visas and other matters of public concern.
Key skills and interests
To become an MP, you would need:
- motivation, determination and commitment
- the confidence to speak in public
- strong political and social beliefs
- the desire to represent the people in your constituency
- the ability to persuade and motivate people
Working hours and conditions
You would attend parliament during sitting times, for a designated amount of weeks each year. During sitting times, days can be very long and parliamentary debates sometimes continue into the night.
Outside of sitting times, you would work from your office in your electorate. You would be expected to attend functions, meetings and community events at night, and on weekends and public holidays.
You would spend a lot of time travelling to and from parliament, around your electorate and to many different types of meetings and events.
MPs are elected every 3 or 4 years, and need to be re-elected to keep their job.
How to become an Member of Parliament?
Entry Level Education
There are no specific education requirements to become a parliamentarian, but many parliamentary candidiates have already established successful careers in other fields, such as law, business, agriculture, economics, industrial relations or community services, before standing for election.
Other useful experience can be gained from serving as a local councillor, being active in a trade union, or being involved in student politics.
Most MPs in Australia are members of political parties. To be elected to parliament as a member of a political party you must first be pre-selected by the party to represent them in your electorate. You can also stand for election as an independent candidate. You must also be at least 18 years of age, be an Australian citizen, pass appropriate police checks, and be qualified to register on the electoral role.
The job outlook for MPS is expected to remain neutral.
There are a set number of roles for MPs, based on the number of federal and state electorates. Competition for roles in strong, and MPs often hold their seats for many years once elected.