By Jacqui Smith and Kristen Sample
Women account for half of the global population, yet represent less than a quarter of the world’s parliamentarians. The causes behind this imbalance are myriad and multi-faceted, based on culturally rooted gender norms, political institutions, and economic disparities. In other words, a woman who is elected to parliament has beaten the odds.
By Richard Reid 
Prior to the 2016 federal election held on 2 July, the Australian Coalition government demonstrated a rare degree of collaboration with the Australian Greens and passed changes to reform the electoral process for the Senate. This post seeks to explain the reform and its intentions, and its complete failure in the wake of Australia’s double dissolution election. Further it argues that the debate about Senate reform should go much further than these changes, and the whole structure of the Senate’s composition should be opened up for debate in an effort to increase, rather than decrease, the representativeness of the Australian Senate.
By Louise Thompson
The scrutiny of legislation is key to the role of MPs. It sounds relatively simple – asking lots of questions about what the government is planning to do and probing elements of bills to make sure that they will work properly, but the task facing them is a formidable one. Not only is the quantity of legislation increasing (particularly from delegated legislation), but the parliamentary timetable is busier than ever. Bills are also becoming much more complex, using terminology which can be tricky to understand. The language used facilitates the interpretation and implementation of the legislation. It is not written with Members of Parliament or the general public in mind. Yet, as this weekend’s discussions about whether the Scotland Act 2016 means that the Scottish Parliament can veto the UK’s decision to leave the EU show, the precise wording of legislation is important.
Please note that this piece was originally posted on the UCL Constitution Unit blog, and is available here.
By Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny
Yesterday MPs defeated the government by 317 votes to 286 on its proposals to relax Sunday trading rules. But although the policy would have applied only in England and Wales, the votes of Scottish MPs proved decisive. In this post Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny discuss the territorial dimensions to this episode, and why the recent ‘English Votes for English Laws’ reform did not help the government to pass its legislation.