coat of arms 600x400  Parliament of Botswana 

 

A

Act: a law passed by Parliament.

Adjournment: termination of a sitting of the House.

Appropriation Bill: a Bill granting authority to spend public money or to incur expenses for the needs of the state.

Presidential Assent: the President’s consent to sign a Bill passed by Parliament thereafter it becomes law.

B

Backbencher: a Member of Parliament who is not a Minister and usually occupies a back bench in the National Assembly.

Bi-cameral Parliament: a title for a Parliament that consists of two Houses.

Bill: a proposed law.

Budget: a financial statement or document released by the Minister of Finance, outlining the government’s proposed economic and fiscal policies. A plan of how money should be spent over a period of time.

C

Candidate: a person who stands for election to Parliament.

Casting vote: a vote of Presiding Member that breaks an impasse when votes in the Chamber are equally divided.

Caucus: a closed meeting of Members of Parliament belonging to a particular political party to decide on a matter.

Chamber: a hall in which all Members of a House meet to debate.

Clause: an individually numbered item in a bill or law.

Clerk-at-the-Table: the most senior administrative officer in the Chamber.

Coalition: a combination of two or more political parties for the purpose of getting more representation.

Committee: a small group of Members of Parliament selected or appointed to perform a specific function.

Committee Clerk: a staff member appointed to serve as secretary to a parliamentary committee.

Committee Stage :  a stage during which a House examines a Bill in detail with a view to making changes where necessary.

Constituency: an electoral area.

Constituency Office: the office of a Member of Parliament in an electoral constituency.

Constituent: a person having a right to vote, and living in an electoral area.

D

Debate: a discussion of a bill/issue or proposition.

E

Election: the process of selecting (voting for) Members of Parliament.

Electorate: the voters

Enact a law:  making a law

Executive: the President and Ministers

F

First Reading: a stage in the passing of a bill– the first opportunity for Members of Parliament to debate the intent of a Bill.

G

Gallery: public-seating areas in the National Assembly.

General Election: the election held to elect Members of Parliament.

I

Introduce a Bill: to present or table a Bill in Parliament.

L

Law: binding rules by which society is governed.

Leader of Government Business:  a Cabinet member who co-ordinates government‘s business in Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition:  the leader of the largest opposition party in Parliament.

Legislation:  laws or statutes (Acts).

Legislative Process:  the process by which laws are made.

Legislature: a law-making body – Parliament.

M

Mace: a ceremonial staff used in Parliament to symbolize the authority of a Presiding Officer overseeing the legislature.

Maiden Speech:  the first speech made in the House by a new Member.

Member of Parliament (MP):  a Member of the National Assembly .

Minister: a Member of the Executive who is usually in charge of a government ministry.

Minority/Opposition party: a political party or parties which does not have a majority in Parliament.

Motion: a proposal by a Member to have a House discuss an issue.

N

Notice of motion: a notice by a Member of Parliament on his/her intention to move a motion.      

O                                                                                 

Order Paper: the document which sets out the agenda for a House on a sitting day.

Orders of the Day: the items of business written down on the Order Paper for consideration on a particular day.

P

Parliament: is the national legislature, consisting of the National Assembly.

Parliamentary Procedure: the way in which Parliament conducts its business.

Petition: a document presented to Parliament, signed by a person(s), requesting that a certain course of action be taken or not be taken.

Point of Order: is an interjection on the correct procedures to be followed.

Presiding Officer: the Member controlling the debate in the Chamber.

Press Gallery: the area in a Chamber set aside for accredited members of the media.

Q

Quorum: is the minimum number of MPs required to start a meeting.

Quorum of the National Assembly:Twenty One (21) members, excluding non-voting members.

R

Recess: the period between Sessions of Parliament.

Referendum : a process for deciding on a matter of public policy through a public vote by registered voters.

Resolution: a decision by the whole House or a Committee.

Ruling: an authoritative decision made by a Presiding Officer on matters of procedure.

S

Sergeant-At-Arms: the officer, who leads the Presiding Officer in and out of Chamber, and carries the Mace.

Second Reading: the stage in the passage of a Bill at which the House agrees to a Bill.

Secretary: the most senior staff member at Parliament who deals with daily administrative duties.

Session: the period between the time the House first meets until it is suspended for recess.

Sitting: the period between the time the Presiding Member takes the Chair and the time the House is adjourned for the day.

Speaker:  the principal Presiding Officer of the National Assembly.

Standing Committee:   a permanent group of Parliamentarians composed of members elected by each party to whom matters relating to a given subject may be referred for closer examination. Statutes: Laws or Acts of Parliament.

State of the Nation Address: an annual speech by the President, to the National Assembly, outlining the state of affairs in the country and government’s intentions.    

T                                 

Table: the table immediately in front of and below the Presiding Officer’s chair.

Tabling: a formal presentation of a document to the House by a Member.

Third Reading: the final stage during which a Bill is passed.

Title (Short): the title of a Bill or Act by which it is known.

V                             

Vacation of a Seat: the act of a Member ending his/her membership of Parliament

Vote:  * to choose a candidate or party in an election. *to take a stand for or against an issue. * Questions are put to a vote in the House. *The parts of an Appropriation Bill detailing the authority to spend public money or incur expenses are called votes.

Vote of no Confidence: he act of Members expressing their distrust in the ability of a Member or a party to continue with duties.        

W                               

Whip: a Member of Parliament, elected by his/her party to enforce order and discipline among fellow Members.

White Paper: a document outlining and detailing how a law is intended to be carried out.