State Structure and Political System of Australia

According to topschoolsintheusa, Australia is a democratic, independent state that is both a constitutional monarchy and a federation, based on a combination of British and American models of state organization, ensuring freedom of speech, religious beliefs and the creation of public organizations. The Australian Constitution was adopted by a legislative act of the British Parliament on July 9, 1900. Amendments or additions to the Constitution can only be adopted by a national referendum, must be approved by a majority in 4 of the 6 states and both houses of the federal parliament.

Administratively divided into 6 states – New South Wales (area 800.6 thousand km2, population 6.67 million people, December 2002), Victoria (227.42 thousand km2, 4.90 million people), Queensland (1.73 million km2, 3.75 million people), Western Australia (2.53 million km2, 1.94 million people), South Australia (983.48 thousand km2, 1.52 million people) and Tasmania ( 68.4 thousand km2, 474 thousand people), as well as two territories – the Australian Capital Territory (2.36 thousand km2, 323 thousand people) and the Northern Territory (1.35 million km2, 197 thousand people.).

Largest cities (2001 census, million people): Sydney (4.2), Melbourne (3.5), Brisbane (1.65), Perth (1.4), Adelaide (1.11), Newcastle (0. 5), Canberra, Wollongong (0.271), Hobart (0.198).

The head of state is formally the Queen of England (who holds the title of Queen of Australia and Head of the Commonwealth in the country). It is represented at the federal level by the governor general, and in each state by the governor. The Governor General is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia, usually for a term of 5 years and currently only from Australian citizens. Since August 2003, the Governor General has been retired Major General F. Michael Jeffrey. Legislative power belongs to the bicameral federal parliament, elected by universal, mandatory suffrage (for non-participation – a fine), consisting of the Senate (upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house). The Senate has 76 senators (12 from each state and 2 from the territories), elected for 6 years (half of the senators are re-elected every 3 years simultaneously with elections to the House of Representatives). The House of Representatives has 148 deputies (elected for 3 years under a preferential-proportional system). The number of seats received by federal subjects in the House of Representatives is proportional to the number of voters, but at least 5 seats are reserved for each state. As for the territories, following the results of the 2001 elections, the Northern Territory has one representative in the lower house, the Australian Capital Territory has three.

Elections may be held early by decision of the prime minister and with the formal approval of the dissolution of the lower house or both houses of parliament by the governor general. The latter retains the constitutional right to dissolve parliament and call general elections. The party (or coalition of parties) that has received the majority in the elections to the lower house forms the government, and its leader becomes the prime minister – the head of the executive branch. The prime minister should preferably be a member of the lower house, and ministers formally appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister should be members of the lower house or senators. Since March 1996, the Prime Minister of Australia is John Howard, leader of the Liberal Party of Australia. The leader of the opposition is Mark Latham, who leads the Australian Labor Party. The previous elections were held in November 2001,

Among the prominent statesmen of Australia who have influenced various aspects of the development of the country, many can be noted. So, A. Deakin served as prime minister 3 times in 1903-09, is considered the father of the Australian federation, since he made a decisive contribution to the formation of the country’s long-term domestic policy, among the main elements of which were industrial protectionism, state arbitration in the field of labor relations, social paternalism states, the policy of “White Australia” in the field of immigration and close ties with the mother country. J. Monash is an Australian general who became famous in the 1st World War in victorious hostilities against Germany in Europe (now the largest Australian university, Monash University, is named after him). J. Curtin – Prime Minister during the 2nd World War (1941-45). Ben Chifley – Prime Minister in 1945-49, during which the programs of accelerated immigration and industrialization were formulated and began to be implemented, covering the 1950s and 60s. G. Evatt – one of the most influential Labor politicians in the history of Australia, Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 1940s, led the Australian delegation to the UN organizing conference in 1945, took an active part in the development of the UN charter, leader of the opposition in 1950 -s. R. Menzies, prime minister in 1939–41 and 1949–66, founder of the current Liberal Party of Australia (LPA), remained the longest head of government during the years of the country’s post-war economic recovery and the longest rule of the LPA. R. Hawk – head of the country’s largest trade union association – the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Prime Minister in 1983-91 and P.

All administrative units have their own legislatures and governments, enjoying considerable autonomy (states – more, territories – less). The states have bicameral parliaments (except Queensland, where it is unicameral) and their own constitution. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have legislative assemblies. Many aspects of the life of the country are regulated precisely by the laws of the states (criminal law, education, road facilities, etc.). The state government is headed by the premier. In the territories, the chief executive is the chief minister. In each state and the Northern Territory there are local governments (city, municipality, county) – in total there are approx. 900.

The judiciary is based on the legislative acts adopted by the federal parliament and the legislative institutions of the constituent entities of the federation, on the remaining in force English laws and on English customary (unwritten) law. The highest court of the country is the High Court (the chief judge and 6 judges are appointed by the governor general on the proposal of the prime minister), which is increasingly acquiring the features of a constitutional court in its practice. Since 1977, the Federal Court of Australia has been operating, combining the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court of Australia and the Federal Bankruptcy Court, as well as some of the functions of the High Court. Each state and territory has its own judicial hierarchy headed by the Supreme Court of the state (territory).

Politics of Australia

About the author