The constitution of Victoria was established by an Act, passed by the Legislature of the colony, in 1854, to which the assent of the Crown was given, in pursuance of the power granted by the Act of the Imperial Parliament of 18 & 19 Vict. cap. 55. This charter provided that the legislative authority should vest in a parliament of two chambers; the Legislative Council, composed of thirty members, and the Legislative Assembly, composed of sixty members. Members of the Council to be owners of property worth 5,000l., or 500l. a year. All candidates to deposit 100l. with returning officer before the nomination-day. Money returned to candidates who poll one-fifth of the number of votes polled by the successful candidate. Owners, lessees, and occupiers of property valued at 1,000l. or 100l. a year, barristers, solicitors, medical practitioners, ministers of religion, officers in the army and navy, schoolmasters, &c., are entitled to vote if in possession of electors’ rights. The constitution provides that six members of Council shall retire every two years. Recently a bill was introduced into the Upper House to effect a reduction in the qualification of electors and members, and an abridgment of the tenure of office. Had it passed die property qualification of members and electors would have been reduced one-half, and the term of office would have been reduced from ten to five years.
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