The NSW Legislative Assembly is often referred to as the Lower House or the Seat of Government due to the fact that the Government is formed by the political party which has the majority of Members in the Legislative Assembly. The term of the Legislative Assembly is fixed at four years unless the House loses confidence in the Government or fails to pass an appropriation bill for the ordinary annual services of Government, or the Governor decides to dissolve the Assembly in accordance with constitutional conventions.
The New South Wales Legislative Assembly follows the traditions of the House of Commons at Westminster and is furnished in green. There are a number of theories as to why green was chosen by the House of Commons. First, that the colour adopted by the House of Commons stems from the use of the colour within the palace of Westminster rather than due to any specific symbolism. Second, that the use of green stems from the cost of dyeing cloth for hangings. Dull green cloth was one of the cheapest colours to produce and it is argued that the House of Commons as the House of the commoner, had to be content with a more sober plumage than that of the House of Lords, which was decorated in red. Third, that the green is symbolic of the oak fields of Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 by King John, and fourth that it symbolises the village green and oak trees under which the commoners who later became Members of the House of Commons gathered.
The New South Wales Coat of Arms sits above the Speaker’s Chair in the Chamber as a symbol of the sovereignty of New South Wales. Prior to 2007 the Royal Coat of Arms was hung in the Chamber but was replaced with the New South Wales Coat of Arms in accordance with the State Arms, Symbols and Emblems Act 2004.