Australia Government and Politics
Australia’s legislative power lies in the Federal Parliament, which consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Both are elected in general elections. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of AU and its meanings of Australia.
The Senate, which consists of 76 senators – twelve from each of the six states, two from the Northern Territory and two from the Australian Capital Territory – is elected by a form of proportional elections for six years and so that half of the Senate is renewed every three years.
According to AllCityCodes.com, the House of Representatives is elected for three years by a majority vote in one-man circles. Its composition should be proportional to the population of the states, but none of the original six states should have less than five representatives; territories are also represented. The House of Representatives should have almost twice as many members as the Senate, and (from 2005) has 150.
The voting age is 18 years. From 1925 there has been voting. If a long-standing conflict arises between the Senate and the House of Representatives, both chambers can be dissolved.
Formally, the executive power lies with the British monarch, represented by a Governor General. This is assisted by an Executive Council, which is responsible to Parliament. All ministers are automatically members of the executive council. In reality, all decisions are made in the Cabinet, which is headed by the Prime Minister. Cabinet decisions take effect when they are dealt with in the executive council. The federal state has authority over, among other things, trade, transport, finance, banking, currency, defense, foreign policy and the social security system.
All areas not mentioned in the Constitution fall under the jurisdiction of the states. A federal law is effective against a state law. Proposals to amend the Constitution shall be put to the referendum. To be passed, an amendment must be supported by a majority of the states and a majority of voters. Each of the six states is governed by the federal government with a governor, a parliament with upper and lower house (with the exception of Queensland, where the upper house was abolished in 1922), a government headed by a prime minister, and an executive council. Among the most important functions of the states are education, health care, the judiciary and the police.
Australian politics is dominated by three parties: the Trade Union Allied Labor Party, the Right-wing Liberal Party and the National Party, which is an agricultural-oriented party. The latter two parties have often cooperated.
Australia is a federal state consisting of six states and three federal territories. A number of remote island regions administered by Australia without being a part of the federation of state law: Norfolk Island, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, a sector in Antarctica (Australian Antarctic Territory), Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Korallhavterritoriet (Coral Sea Islands Territory) and Macquarie Island.
The law in Australia is based on British Common Law, expanded by newer local laws. In Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, criminal law is codified. The Supreme Court is the federal supreme court, and consists of one justice and six other judges. It makes judgments in cases involving representatives of other countries in Australia and in some cases involving the federal state or states. It is the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Since 1977, Australia has had a federal court that has been responsible for matters of economic and constitutional nature. It is also a federal family court. Each state has its own judicial system with a Supreme Court and lower courts.
Australian Prime Ministers
|1901-1903||Sir Edmund Barton|
|1904||John Christian Watson|
|1915-1923||William Morris Hughes|
|1923-1929||Stanley Melbourne Bruce|
|1929-1932||John Henry Scullin|
|1932-1939||Joseph Aloysius Lyons|
|1939||Sir Earle Page|
|1939-1941||Robert Gordon Menzies|
|1941||Arthur William Fadden|
|1945||Francis Michael Forde|
|1945-1949||Joseph Benedict Chifley|
|1949-1966||Robert Gordon Menzies|
|1972-1975||Edward Gough Whitlam|