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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Australia Government

Australia    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Commonwealth of Australia

conventional short form:  Australia
Government type: democratic, federal-state system recognizing the British monarch as sovereign
Capital: Canberra
Administrative divisions: 6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Dependent areas: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island
Independence: 1 January 1901 (federation of UK colonies)
National holiday: Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
Constitution: 9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901
Legal system: based on English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state:  Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Rev. Peter HOLLINGSWORTH (since 29 June 2001)

head of government:  Prime Minister John Winston HOWARD (since 11 March 1996); Deputy Prime Minister John ANDERSON (since NA)

cabinet:  Cabinet selected from among the members of Federal Parliament by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

elections:  none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general for a three-year term

note:  government coalition - Liberal Party and National Party
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats - 12 from each of the six states and two from each of the two territories; one-half of the members elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (148 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve three-year terms; no state can have fewer than five representatives)

elections:  Senate - last held 3 October 1998 (next to be held by October 2001); House of Representatives - last held 3 October 1998 (next to be held by October 2001)

election results:  Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 35, Australian Labor Party 29, Australian Democratic Party 9, Green Party 1, One Nation Party 1, independent 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 80, Australian Labor Party 67, independent 1
Judicial branch: High Court (the chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general)
Political parties and leaders: Australian Democratic Party [Meg LEES]; Australian Labor Party [Kim BEAZLEY]; Green Party [Bob BROWN]; Liberal Party [John Winston HOWARD]; National Party [John ANDERSON]; One Nation Party [Pauline HANSON]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Australian Democratic Labor Party (anti-Communist Labor Party splinter group); Peace and Nuclear Disarmament Action (Nuclear Disarmament Party splinter group)
International organization participation: ANZUS, APEC, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMEE, UNTAET, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Michael THAWLEY

chancery:  1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone:  [1] (202) 797-3000

FAX:  [1] (202) 797-3168

consulate(s) general:  Atlanta, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Edward W. GNEHM, Jr.

embassy:  Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600

mailing address:  APO AP 96549

telephone:  [61] (02) 6214-5600

FAX:  [61] (02) 6214-5970

consulate(s) general:  Sydney

consulate(s):  Melbourne and Perth
Flag description: blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant; the remaining half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars


Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook

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