Australia’s political system
Politics of Australia
State and local government
Political parties
Category: policypolicy

Australia’s political system. Politics of Australia

1. Australia’s political system

2. Politics of Australia

The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal
parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australia has maintained a stable liberal
democratic political system under its Constitution, one of the world's oldest, since
Federation in 1901. Australia is the world's sixth oldest continuous democracy and
largely operates as a two-party system in which voting is compulsory.
The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Australia a
"full democracy" in 2019.
The federal government is separated into three branches:
Legislature: the bicameral Parliament, defined in section 1 of the
constitution as comprising the monarch (represented by the
governor-general), the Senate, and the House of Representatives;
Executive: the Federal Executive Council, which in practice gives
legal effect to the decisions of the cabinet, comprising the prime
minister and ministers of state who advise the governor-general.
Judiciary: the High Court of Australia and other federal courts,
whose judges are appointed by the governor-general on advice of the
Federal Executive Council.

3. Elections

At a national level, elections are held at least once every three years.
The Prime Minister can advise the Governor-General to call an election for the
House of Representatives at any time, but Senate elections can only be held
within certain periods prescribed in the Australian Constitution.
Although governments have preferred simultaneous elections of the House and
the Senate, the differences in timing and constitutional requirements mean that
separate elections have occurred. The most recent Australian federal election
took place on 18 May 2019.
Julia Gillard, Prime
Minister of Australia from
2010–2013 and the first
female Prime Minister of
the country.

4. State and local government

Australia's six states and two territories are structured within a political
framework similar to that of the Commonwealth.
Each state has its own bicameral Parliament, with the exception of
Queensland and the two territories, whose Parliaments are unicameral.
Each state has a Governor, who undertakes a role equivalent to that of the
Governor-General at the federal level, and a Premier, who is the head of
government and is equivalent to the Prime Minister.
Each state also has its own supreme court, from which appeals can be
made to the High Court of Australia.

5. Political parties

The late 19th century saw the rise of the Australian Labor Party, which represented
organised workers. Opposing interests coalesced into two main parties: a centre-right
party with a base in business and the middle classes that has been predominantly
conservative and moderate, now the Liberal Party of Australia; and a rural or agrarian
conservative party, now the National Party of Australia. While there are a small number
of other political parties that have achieved parliamentary representation, these main
three dominate organised politics everywhere in Australia and only on rare occasions
have any other parties or independent members of parliament played any role at all in
the formation or maintenance of governments.
Australian politics operates as a two-party system, as a result of the permanent
coalition between the Liberal Party and National Party. Internal party discipline has
historically been tight, unlike the situation in other countries such as the United
States. Australia's political system has not always been a two-party system, but nor
has it always been as internally stable as in recent decades.
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