Makes laws—The House's central function and the one which takes up most of its time is the consideration and passing of new laws and amendments or changes to existing laws. Any Member can introduce a proposed law (bill) but most are introduced by the Government. To become law, bills must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They may start in either house but the majority of bills are introduced in the House of Representatives.
Determines the Government—After an election the political party (or coalition of parties) which has the most Members in the House of Representatives becomes the governing party. Its leader becomes Prime Minister and other Ministers are appointed from among the party's Members and Senators. To remain in office a Government must keep the support of a majority of Members of the House.
Publicises and scrutinises government administration—Debate of legislation and ministerial policy statements, discussion of matters of public importance, committee investigations, asking questions of Ministers (during question time—at 2 pm—Members may ask Ministers questions without notice on matters relating to their work and responsibilities; questions can also be asked on notice for written answer).
Represents the people—Members may present petitions from citizens and raise citizens' concerns and grievances in debate. Members also raise issues of concern with Ministers and government departments.
Controls government expenditure—The Government cannot collect taxes or spend money unless allowed by law through the passage of taxation and appropriation bills. Expenditure is also examined by parliamentary committees.