Politics in Australia: How does it work?

Learn about the political system in Australia

Politics is an important part of a country and Australia has quite an interesting political system.

Australia is composed of 6 states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia; and two mainland territories: the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, which is Canberra.

Photo by Google Maps

POLITICS IN AUSTRALIA

First of all, it is important to say that Australia is a constitutional monarchy. This means that the monarchy shares power with a constitutionally organized government.

This political system is also used in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand.

In this type of government, the King or Queen has limited power under the constitution. That way, the Governor-General, and the Prime Minister are responsible for leading the government.

Queen Elizabeth II, the same in the UK, is the head of state in Australia. However, this works more as a title and The Queen is not involved in the daily decisions of the Australian government.

The Queen also indicates who represents her in the role of Governor-General with the help of the Prime Minister.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Since 2019, her representative in the country is the Governor-General David Hurley and the current Prime Minister of Australia is Scott Morrison.

Moreover, the Prime Minister is the spokesperson of the country and it is also considered the most relevant person inside the Parliament, responsible for choosing the ministers.

In the Parliamentary system, there is no election to decide who is going to be the Prime Minister, since he is the leader of the major political party in the House of Representatives.

It is necessary to say that there are many political parties in Australia. Yet, there are two main political parties that are always in charge of the government:

  • The Australian Labor Party (considered center-left wing),
  • And the Liberal Party of Australia (considered center-right wing), which is the political party of the current PM, Scott Morrison.

Besides, in Australia, the Prime Minister doesn’t have a maximum period of service.

Photo by Social Estate on Unsplash

POLITICAL STRUCTURE IN AUSTRALIA

The Parliamentary system in Australia is made up of three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. The organization of these three branches is divided by the Federal, State, and Local dimensions.

Each one of them has their own responsibilities defined as it follows:

  • Federal: National defense, foreign affairs, immigration, taxation, trade, and commerce, etc.
  • State: Public transport, highways, police, firefighters, etc.
  • Local: Construction projects, local streets, parks, etc.

Moreover, each state has its own governor, as well as a House of Parliament. The two mainland territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, also have their own laws and governments.

As mentioned before, the Executive branch is composed of the Prime Minister, the Governor-General, and The Queen. They are responsible for implementing the laws in the country.

The Legislative branch is formed by ministers that are responsible for proposing, debating, and voting new laws that are relevant for the population and Australian citizens.

There are two segments of the Legislative branch: the House of Representatives and The Senate. Every 3 years, there is a mandatory election to vote for the candidates to the House of Representatives.

The Judiciary branch is represented by the High Court and it is the department that analyzes, judges, and put in practice the approved laws by the Executive and Legislative branches.

Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

If you are interested in learning more about politics in Australia, access the Parliament of Australia website here.

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