The political system of Australia is classified as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australian citizens elect governmental representatives to the Federal Parliament which resembles the Westminster system of legislature. State elections take place in the six states and two territories of the country in which a Premier of the State (similar to a Prime Minister) is elected. A Governor who observes Federal level politics on behalf of the region he or she represents is also elected. Each state also has a supreme court as well as state parliaments.
At the national level, elections are held once every three years in Australia. Elections for the Prime Minister can be called at any time, but elections for the Senate are fixed by the Australian Constitution. The most recent national poll took place in July of 2016, and the country has had a long history of fair and transparent elections. Elections for state and regional representation are held at least once every four years. In many areas, election dates are fixed by legislation, but in areas such as the Northern Territory, the State Premier can call an election at his or her discretion.
The national parliament of Australia is located in the capital city of Canberra and is located at Parliament Hill which is in the centre of the city, surrounded by foreign embassies and other government departments. This parliament consists of two houses, the lower and upper house, with 226 seats in total. Senators make up the 76 seats in the upper house, and there are 12 senators for each state and two each for the two territories. The lower house, the Australian House of Representatives, consists of 150 members who gain their seat by being elected from regional constituencies. Interestingly, the governing party of Australia has never held a majority in the Senate and often requires cooperation with the opposition to have legislation passed.
The Australian Labor Party and the Liberal/National Coalition are the most popular political parties in Australia.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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