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Overview of Australia – Australian Facts About Government

Overview of Australia
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Australian Government

The Australian Constitution makes Australia a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia and the Governor-General as her representative. Australian government is based upon the British parliamentary system which gives the people three levels of government – the Federal, State and Local Governments.

See also on our website  – Australian Governor-General     Australian Prime Ministers     Australian Constitution

Government typefederal parliamentary democracy
Independence1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies)
Constitution9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901
Administrative divisions6 states and 2 territories
   New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria,
   Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory
Dependent areasAshmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island, Macquarie Island
Legal systembased on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state
   Queen of Australia Elizabeth II (since 6 Feb 1952); represented in Australia
   by Governor General.
head of government:
Prime Minister Kevin Michael RUDD (since 27 June 2013); Deputy Prime
   Minister Anthony ALBANESE (since 27 June 2013)
   prime minister nominates, from among members of Parliament, candidates
   who are subsequently sworn in by the governor general to serve as
   government ministers
   none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch
   on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections,
   the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as
   prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branchbicameral Federal Parliament consists of –
  76 seats – 12 from each of the 6 states and 2 from each of the two mainland
  territories; one-half of state members are elected every 3 years by popular vote
  to serve 6 year terms while all territory members are elected every 3 years
House of Representatives
  150 seats; members elected by popular preferential voting to serve terms of
  up to 3 years; no state can have fewer than 5 representatives
Judicial branchHigh Court
(chief justice & 6 other justices are appointed by the governor general)
Political partiesAustralian Democrats, Australian Greens, Australian Labor Party, Country Liberal Party, Family First Party, Liberal Party, The Nationals

Updated August 2011. You may notice that we show information from a variety of dates. We are unable to find the same type of information for more recent dates than what we show here. The information provided above is for entertainment purposes only. For more information, please visit any of the Australian government websites and the CIA World Fact Book

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