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Australian Government & Democracy
An Egalitarian Society!
Australia has a system of government based on the liberal democratic tradition, which embraces religious tolerance and freedom of speech and association.
Following Australia's federation in 1901, the six former colonies (now states) opted for a written constitution with a relationship between national and state governments similar to that of the United States. At the same time, they chose to retain the Westminster model as the basis for the legislature, executive government and judiciary. This blend of two democratic traditions is now uniquely Australian.
|Government type:||Democratic, federal system|
|States:||6 states - New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia; and 2 territories - Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.|
|Constitution:||Written constitution effective 1 January 1901, from the time of independence from British rule. This defines the responsibilities of the federal government in areas such as defence, trade, taxes and foreign affairs and the responsibilities of state/territory governments in areas such as education, welfare and law enforcement.|
|Legal system:||Based on English common law|
|Voting:||universal and compulsory voting from 18 years of age in federal and state elections|
|Head of state:||Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor General|
|Head of government:||Prime Minister|
|Cabinet:||Government ministers are selected from among members of parliament to set government policy|
|Parliament:||Bicameral federal parliament, elected by popular vote, consisting of the Senate (76 seats) and the House of Representatives (150 seats)|
|Elections:||National general elections are scheduled every three years|
|Political Parties:||Multi-party system; however, the two prominent political parties are the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party|
|Judiciary:||High Court (the Chief Justice and six other justices are appointed by the Governor General)|
The Federal Government, through the Attorney-General's Department administers:
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