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The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It shares the power to make laws with the the House of Representatives. The Senate is elected by proportional representation, so that its composition closely reflects the voting pattern of the electors. The House of Representatives, also known as the Lower House, is the other house of the Australian Federal Parliament, sometimes called the "people's house" or the "house of government".
At the time, when Bob Brown was Leader of the Australian Greens Parliamentary Party, he called upon the Federal Parliament to take the 10% Challenge and reduce their usage of fuel and energy by ten per cent. Given that Parliament spends over $3 million a year on energy, a 10% cut would save taxpayers $300,000 a year. The motion was successfully passed on June 21, 2011 with a rare multi-party agreement. It was on this day that the House of Representatives was called to join the campaign.
On August 17, 2011 the discussion took place in the Lower House:
" Parliament House easily has the capacity to meet this challenge and the Department of Parliamentary Services has the capacity to facilitate these reduction targets. Other organisations that have signed up to the 10 Per Cent challenge include Bunnings, Visy, Unilever, Toyota, Sensis, the University of Canberra and, notably, News Limited. I for one would hate to see a situation where this Parliament House was trailing News Limited when it came to energy innovation initiatives.
One of the practical consequences will be to provide some real leadership from this parliament to Australians about the benefits of cutting their electricity bills through energy efficiency. It is clear that one of the greatest steps we can take to reduce energy use is also the one that is going to reduce people's power bills. That is true in the home. It is estimated that somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent savings can be made on energy bills simply through energy efficiency measures. And that is true here. By reducing our reliance on energy here in Parliament House we will of course be saving a significant amount of taxpayer dollars. It is also an example of practical leadership, one that I would hope all sides of parliament and all members of this House would support. I commend the motion to the House. "
Adam Bandt, MP
On August 18, 2011 the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the House concurred with the resolution relating to the reduction of energy use in Parliament House.
Energy Reduction Targets
A series of actions are being planned which will reduce energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas production. These include:
(a) Campaign to educate and change the behaviour of building occupants.
(b) Completion of existing capital works projects including:
(i) improved energy metering;
(ii) upgrade of some internal and external lighting;
(iii) replacement of aging chillers; and
(iv) continued virtualisation of computer servers.
(v) Planning for the introduction of a trigeneration plant to provide baseload electricity for Parliament House.
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