Furnished in the traditional red inherited fromthe British House of Lords, this chamber is the home of the NSW Upper House, the House of Review. Legislation must be passed by both Houses of Parliment to become law.The Council has similar powers to the Legislative Assembly (Lower House), but it has limitations in respect to some financial bills. As a House of Review the Legislative Council plays an important role in the scrutiny of laws for the good government of the State. Other important functions are the review and scrutiny of the finances, policy and administration of the executive government, which is largely done through inquiries by Committees of the Legislative Council.
The first Legislative Council consisted of five appointed members to advise the Governor in making laws and was presided over by the Governor. This was Australia's first governing body and it met for the first time on 25 August 1824. In those days the colony of NSW covered two-thirds of Australia.The Legislative Council today is vastly different from the first advisory body. There are 42 members elected by the people under a system of voting known as proportional representation, with the whole State as one electorate. One-half of the members of the Council (21) are elected each four years, so that members have an eight year term.