Australian Government: The Essentials to Know

Je propose today to enlighten you on the formation, composition and role of the Australian government . Indeed, living or traveling in a country is also understanding how it works at the political and administrative level, the way it is governed.

The origins of the Australian government

The birth of a federation

Aefore 1901, Australia was made up of six distinct and independent British colonies . Within its borders, each colony had its own constitution and its own laws concerning defense, immigration, commerce, transportation, and so on.

For several reasons (simplification of trade and transport between colonies, better defense, need for national identity, etc.), the settlers wanted to unite and thus form a single Australian nation .

On January 1, 1901 , the colonies thus united in a federation of states , namely the same independent nation called the Commonwealth of Australia .

The birth of a government

THEe Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 is the legal document that stipulates the basic rules of the Australian government . It created the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia , consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the High Court of Australia , which has the power to enforce and interpret the laws of Australia.

Australian Government

The Australian Constitution can only be changed by a special vote called a referendum . In a referendum, it takes a double majority for the Australian Constitution to be amended.

The composition of the government

THEAustralian’s what we call a constitutional monarchy , that is to say, a country in which the Head of State is not a President but a sovereign who must act according to the Constitution .

Modeled on the British system, it is also a parliamentary democracy and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister .

  • The head of state

The Australian head of state is the Queen of England, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II . In Australia, the Queen does not have a daily role in government. It appoints the Governor General as representative in Australia , on the advice of the Australian Prime Minister.

  • The Prime Minister

He is the one who really holds the power and heads the Australian government .

  • Governor General

He is the representative of the Head of State , therefore of the Queen, in Australia. He is responsible for signing all bills passed by the Australian Parliament of Law (Royal Assent), the regulation of signs, performing ceremonial duties, approving the appointment of the Australian Government and its ministers, judges federal and other public servants.

The Governor General also has special powers called “reserve powers” that can only be used in specific circumstances.

  • The governor

There is one in each state / territory . He represents the Queen and his role is similar to that of the Governor General.

  • The ministers

They are members of Parliament . Each minister is responsible for one or more government departments.

The federal Parliament of Australia consists of two chambers : the Senate consists of 76 senators and the House of Representatives consists of 150 deputies.

Australian Government
Senate Chamber in Canberra Parliament

The separation of powers

THEpower of the Australian Government is divided into three branches  :

  • The legislative power (Federal Parliament) has the role of creating and modifying laws.
  • The role of the executive (ministers and governor general) is to put the laws into practice.
  • The role of the judiciary (courts and judges) is to interpret and apply the law. Courts and judges are independent of parliament and the government.

These powers are enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

The state government

Cach territory has its own constitution and its own parliament . The territorial governments are based in their respective capitals.

The Head of Government of the Australian State is the Prime Minister and the Head of Territorial Government is the Chief Minister .

The territorial governments function in the same way as the Australian government. In each of them, a Governor General represents the Queen of Australia.

As with the Australian government, people are voting to elect a representative for their region. These representatives therefore become members of the Parliament of the territory concerned.

Bill Ardern

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