The Georgeland Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of Georgeland. Constitutionally, the Senate is designed to share power between the country's states; in practice, however, this is not always the case.
Until 2005, each state maintained its own electoral system for choosing Senators. At the 2005 election, the size of the Senate was increased to 80 members, and the method of election was standardised. All Senators are now elected via the Single Alternative Vote method, in which candidates or group tickets are ranked by voters, and preferences used to determine quotas. The Senate electoral system is complicated, and there has been criticism of this in some sectors of the community.
All Senators serve a term of six years, beginning on January 1. Each state elects one-half of its Senators every three years; usually, but not always, in conjunction with a general election. On rare occasions (the last in 2007), both Houses can be dissolved (a double dissolution) and all Senate seats are up for election.
The Senate draws many of its traditions and functions from the British House of Lords, though it is an entirely elected body. Following the Westminster system of government, the Senate does not determine the government - to govern, a party or coalition must control the House of Commons but need not control the Senate. Furthermore, while the two houses have theoretically equal power, appropriation bills may not originate in the Senate and it has no power to reject them, though it may delay them or amend them.
In 1891, when the Senate first met, it consisted of eight Senators from each of the five states, for a total of 40 members. In 1942, this number was increased to 50, with ten senators from each state.
In 1958, in order to increase the number of Senators and thus his own chances of winning senate control, Prime Minister Nathan Keegan granted statehood to the small island of Delmago Island, though due to its small size it was granted only five Senators. This has been regarded for years as unfair on Delmago Island and has led to some calls for reform. In 1970, the Federal District was granted two Senators, bringing the total to 57. In 2000, when the state of Mainland subdivided into East Mainland and West Mainland, each of the new states was given ten senators, making the total 67. And finally, in 2005, the number of Senators was increased to 80 following constitutional reforms - 12 from each of the six large states, six from Delmago Island and two from the Federal District. The new, enlarged Senate will not take office until January 1, 2006.