For the last full day I had in Melbourne, I made a visit to Victoria's Parliament House. The members of this parliament would be the ones who establish laws for the State of Victoria, and it operates in a similar fashion to the national parliament of Australia.
One select days when parliament is not in session, they offer tours of the building, taking you into the chambers and explaining where the different members and people of significant positions would sit during the parliamentary sessions.
The tour begins with a visit to the main central hall where press conferences, banquets and receptions are held. Inside of this room is a statue of Queen Victoria, for whom the state was named after, along with portraits of the former premiers of Victoria's Parliament, or the equivalent of the Prime Minister at the state level (if the Prime Minister is similar to the President, then the Premier would be similar to a Governor in the U.S.)
The first chamber they take us into is the Legislative Assembly, which is the lower house of parliament. One of the neat things about this tour was that we were able to sit in the seats that the members of parliament also sit in, unlike other government buildings where they would never dream of letting visitors into the chamber like this. This chamber has the color green as it symbolizes more of the "common man", and is similar to the house of commons in British Parliament. If comparing this to congress in the United States, this would be the equivalent of the House of Representatives. According to our tour guide, this is where the discussions tend to be more lively and the arguments between members more heated.
We then had the opportunity to visit the parliamentary library, which is utilized by the members of parliament for their research when discussing the issues in their sessions, and it has several historic artifacts inside of it on display.
From the library, we then went to the Legislative Council, or the upper house of parliament. The red color in this chamber is that of royalty. This is symbolized by the crown that is on display at the end of the chamber above the chamber president's desk. In the British Parliament, this would be referred to as the House of Lords. The congressional equivalent for the United States would be the Senate.
Of course, no good tour is complete without a visit to the Parliament gift shop!
It was fascinating to come and learn more about how the government of another country works, and to find some similarities between theirs and ours. I did come back for a little bit before my flight back to Auckland the next day to watch a little bit of the parliamentary session, and it was interesting to see the differences between the two chambers, although it wasn't quite as lively as I had anticipated, but many of the members were not present, or a few would pop in and out during different times of the session.
And that would bring an end not just to the visit to Melbourne, but to Australia as well because the next day was the return back to Auckland to prepare for the long journey home.
See more of 2016 New Zealand & Australia Trip:
1: Arriving in New Zealand / 2: Walk to Mission Bay / 3 : Mount Eden / 4: Rainbow's End / 5: Arrival in Sydney /
6: Mrs. Macquarie's Point / 7: Sydney's Luna Park / 8: Sydney Habour Bridge & Rocks Tour /
9: Bondi Beach & Darling Harbour / 10: Walking Through Cairns / 11: Green Island & The Great Barrier Reef /
12: Warner Bros. Movie World / 13: Australia Zoo / 14: Aussie World / 15: Sea World & Wet'n'Wild / 16: Alice Springs /
17: Kings Park & Indian Ocean / 18: Fremantle / 19: Perth CBD & Elizabeth Quay / 20: Adventure World /
21: Walking Through Melbourne / 22: Luna Park Melbourne & St. Kilda / 23: Victoria Parliament / 24: Back to Auckland