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 vests the legislative authority in a Parliament of two Chambers; the Legislative Council, composed of thirty members, and the Legislative Assembly, composed of sixty members. Originally a high property qualification was required both for members and electors of the Legislative Council, but the same was reduced recently, by Colonial Statute, as regards members to the possession of an estate rated at not less than 50l. a-year, and as to electors to the possession or occupancy of property of the value of 50l., or 5l. per annum. No electoral property qualification is required for graduates of British universities, matriculated students of the Melbourne university, ministers of religion of all denominations, certificated schoolmasters, lawyers, medical practitioners, and officers of the army and navy. Six members, or a fifth of the Legislative Council, must retire every two years, so that a total change is effected in ten years. The members of the Legislative Assembly are elected by universal suffrage. The duration of the Assembly was originally fixed at five years, but the term has since been reduced to three. Clergymen of any religious denomination, and persons convicted of felony, are excluded from sitting in both the Legislative Council and the Assembly. Members of the Legislature are not entitled at present to any remuneration for their services.
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