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It comes from the Latin "bi" (meaning two) and "camera" (meaning chamber). In most cases they have different numbers of members. The smaller is often called the "upper house" or "senate" and the larger is called the "lower house", and sometimes also called by another name such as "assembly" or "commons".
For legislation to be passed, bicameral legislatures normally need a majority of members of both chambers to vote for the legislation.
Bicameral systems in the world
- In the United Kingdom, the two chambers are called the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
- The United States Congress is bicameral.
- Australia has a bicameral system with a House of Representatives and a Senate. All the Australian states are also bicameral, except Queensland which is unicameral.