Governor Signs Writ for Half Senate Election on 21 May 2022
The Governor today presided at a special meeting of Executive Council and signed the writ for a half Senate election to take place on 21 May 2022.
The Queensland Governor’s main constitutional duty is to ensure Queensland enjoys stable government.
However, Governors also have an important constitutional duty relating to the Commonwealth parliament, the issuing of the writ – a document which brings about an election – for senators of Queensland (see s12 Australian Constitution Part II - The Senate – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)).
Having state Governors sign writs for the election of federal senators is one way of reinforcing that the Senate is, as it has been historically regarded, the 'State’s House' – a powerful Upper House of the bicameral federal parliament where each state of the Australian federation is ensured equal representation.
In practice, once the Governor-General has accepted the advice of a Prime Minister in seeking an election, the Governor-General will write to each state Governor, inviting them to adopt a suggested date.
Governors are provided advice through Executive Council, which is a body comprised of the Premier and Ministers which gives legal authority to certain decisions, that the suggested date is agreeable, and upon that advice, the Governor signs the writ (see s 3 Senate Elections Act 1960 (legislation.qld.gov.au)).
Therefore, while in practice senate elections are ultimately under the control of each state, removing them from control of the federal government, they invariably take place at the same time as elections for the House of Representatives (the Lower House), the writs for which are issued by the Governor-General.