What do you know about the political system of Australia?

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The Commonwealth of Australia is a self-governing federal state and a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. So Australia is a monarchy and formally the head of the state is the Queen of the UK. The British sovereign is represented by the Governor-General and state Governors.

Australia is a federation of six states and two territories. This country has a parliamentary system of government. It has a parliament in each state for local affairs and the Federal Parliament of the Commonwealth at Canberra. Under the written Constitution, which came into force on 1 January, 1901 when colonies joined the Commonwealth of Australia, the federal government is mainly responsible for the national economy and Reserve Bank, customs and excise, immigration, defence, foreign policy to form and the postal system.

The state governments are chiefly responsible for health, education, housing, transport and justice.

Australian Parliament House

In the Federal parliament, the lower house is the House of Representatives, the upper is the Senate. The House of Representatives has 147 members divided among the states on a population basis. It is elected every three years. The Senate has 12 Senators from each state and two each from the ACT and the Northern Territory. State Senators serve six-year term, territory Senators serve only three-year term. The federal government is run by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the party which has the majority in the House of Representatives.

There are two main political groups: the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party. The other political party of any real substance is the Australian Democrats which has largely carried the flag for the ever-growing “green” movement. They have been very successful in recent times.

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