The Commonwealth of Australia is a federation of states. Australia is a parliamentary democracy, generally modeled on the British system but with a few differences. In Australia the primacy of parliament is limited by a written constitution. The Australian Constitution (called An Act to Constitute the Commonwealth of Australia) was ratified by the British parliament on July 9, 1900. It came into force on the first day of the 20th century, Jan. 1, 1901, the founding date of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The constitution of Australia may be described as an amalgam (смесь) of the constitutional forms of the United Kingdom and the United States. Like the United Kingdom, it is a monarchy, and the British king or queen is the king or queen of Australia. As in the United Kingdom, the governments of the Commonwealth of Australia and of the Australian states are chosen from the majority party in their parliaments. Like the United States, Australia is a federation, and the duties of the federal government and the division of powers between the Commonwealth and the states are laid down in a written constitution.
Australia has six states. They are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Each state has its own government. Australia also has two mainland territories - the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
Australia has a parliamentary system of government. Under the parliamentary system, the national government is controlled by the political party (or the coalition of parties) with a majority of seats in the lower house of the parliament. The leader of the majority party or the coalition heads the government as prime minister. The leader of the majority party automatically becomes prime minister in the federal parliament, or premier in state parliaments.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy like Britain. The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is also queen of Australia and the country’s head of state. However, the queen has little or no power in the Australian government. The functions of the present queen have been regarded as almost entirely formal and decorative. She serves mainly as a symbol of the historical tie between the two countries.
Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the association formed by Britain and a number of its former colonies that are now independent countries.
Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations
The official name of the country is the Commonwealth of Australia.
Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations
(This association is formed by the United Kingdom and includes 54 former British colonies that are now independent countries)
The Queen of England is the head of the Commonwealth.
Flags of Australian states and territories
New South Wales Queensland
South Australia Tasmania
Victoria Western Australia
The Australian Capital Territory .................. The Northern Territory
The office of the Governor-General was established by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. Section 2 of the Constitution provides that “A Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty’s representative of the Commonwealth...”
The Governor-General is appointed by The Queen for five years on the advice of the Prime Minister. After receiving his Commission (назначение на должность), the Governor-General makes an Oath of Allegiance (присяга на верность) and an Oath of Office (должностная присяга) to Her Majesty and issues a Proclamation assuming office.
The Governor-General’s salary is tax-free. It is set by an Act of Parliament at the beginning of each term of office, and cannot be changed during the appointment.
The Governor-General has many important constitutional, official and ceremonial duties to perform. For example, the Governor-General:
• dissolves the Parliament and issues writs (указ) for new elections;
• commissions (утверждать в должности) the Prime Minister and appoints other Ministers after elections;
• gives assent to laws when they have been passed by the two Houses of Parliament - the Senate and the House of Representatives;
• appoints Federal judges; ambassadors and high commissioners (высокий комиссар - представитель одной из стран Содружества в другой стране Содружества) to overseas countries and other senior government officials; exercises the prerogative of mercy (право на помилование); and
• authorises many other executive decisions by Ministers such as approving treaties with foreign governments.
The Governor-General is the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. As Commander-in-Chief, the Governor-General has an important ceremonial role to play.
• attends military parades;
• attends special occasions such as Anzac Day at the Australian War Memorial;
• presents colours (знамя) and other insignia (знаки отличия) to units (воинская часть) of the Australian Defense Force.
There are many other ceremonial duties performed as representative of the Head of State. For example, the Governor-General:
• receives visiting heads of state, heads of government and other prominent visitors to Australia;
• opens new sessions of the Commonwealth Parliament;
• receives the credentials (верительные грамоты) of Ambassadors and some High Commissioners appointed to represent their countries in Australia;
• conducts investitures (церемония введения в должность) at which people receive awards under the Australian Honour system for notable service to the community, or for acts of bravery; and
• receives and formally entertains many Australian citizens and representatives of organizations active in the life of the community.
Possibly the most important role of the Governor-General, as the office has evolved over the years, is to represent those things that unite Australians as a nation. In this capacity, the Governor-General and his wife:
• travel widely throughout Australia, visiting the capital cities, regional centers, rural districts, Aboriginal communities and disadvantaged groups;
• accept patronage of many national charitable, cultural, educational, sporting and professional organizations;
• open and participate in conferences where topics of national importance are discussed - such as educational, health, cultural, welfare, defense, economic and rural issues;
• attend services, functions (мероприятия), commemorations and exhibitions of local significance, lending their encouragement to individuals and groups who are making a substantial contribution to their communities.
The Constitution grants the Governor-General fairly broad rights, but in practice he performs only representative functions and has only an advisory voice when discussing important decisions for the country. Even when appointing the Prime Minister of a country, the Governor-General rarely resorts to the practice of rejecting a candidate proposed to him by Parliament, only formally approving it.
The official residences of the Governor-General are Government House, Canberra and Admiralty House, Sydney.
Government House, Canberra
Admiralty House, Sydney
Oath of Allegiance:
I, (name)…, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law. SO HELP ME GOD!
Oath of Office:
I, (name)…, do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law, in the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Commonwealth of Australia, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. SO HELP ME GOD!
The Governor-General’s flag
The Governor-General’s flag is flown continuously when His Excellency is in residence. It is also flown on vehicles in which the Governor-General is travelling.
The Governor-General’s Flag
The New Governor-General
The new Governor-General of Australia is David Hurley. Hurley, 65, was a career officer in the Australian army for 42 years, having finished his service as head of the Australian Defence Force. During his service, he participated in military operations of the Australian armed forces in Somalia (1993) and East Timor (1999-2000). In 2009, after being promoted to General of the Army, he became head of the Australian air force, and in 2011 became head of the Defence Force, concentrating the Royal Australian Army, Navy and Air Force under his command. In 2014, Hurley resigned and became Governor of New South Wales, remaining in this position until May 2019. In December 2018, the current Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, recommended Hurley for the post of Governor-General of the country to the Queen of Great Britain.
The 27-th Governor-General of Australia David Hurly
The Governor-General of Australia is the official representative of the monarch on the territory of the country (the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II). He is the head of the Executive branch and is responsible for appointing ambassadors, Ministers, and judges, approving bills, announcing elections, and presenting awards. The Governor-General is also President of the Federal Executive Council and commander-in-chief of the Australian Defence Force.
On 1 July 2019 he was sworn in as the twenty-seventh Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The structure of Australian government is the separation of powers into
Executive, Legislative, Judicial branches of the government.
The constitution defines the form and duties of the federal government in detail. The most important of these are defense, foreign policy, immigration, customs and excise, and the post office. Those powers not given to the federal government in the constitution are left to the states.
The prime minister, Australia’s head of government, is normally responsible only to the majority party or coalition. If the party chooses a new leader, that person becomes prime minister. The prime minister appoints members of Parliament to head the government departments. As of July 1, 2019, the Prime Minister of Australia is paid a total salary of $549,250.
The power of the Prime Minister is:
• to advise the Governor-General on the granting of Royal assent to laws;
• the dissolution and appointment of Parliament;
• the calling of elections;
• the appointment of members of the government to be followed by the Governor-General.
The department heads, called ministers, and the prime minister make up the Cabinet. The Cabinet of Ministers is the main body of the government that forms its policy. The Cabinet of Ministers is headed by the Prime Minister and consists of about half of the members of the government. Unlike the heads of American government agencies, they must also be elected as members of Parliament. They are thus answerable to both Parliament and the public.
State and local government
Each Australian state has its own parliament, court system, head of government, and governor. A bicameral (двухпалатный) system of government exists in each state (except Queensland where the upper house was abolished in 1922). The heads of state governments are called premiers. The governor of each state represents the queen.
Local governments in Australia are responsible for such services as building local roads, maintaining public libraries, and collecting the residents’ garbage.
The highest legislative body in Australia is the Federal Parliament, consisting of the Senate (upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house).
The main role in the implementation of legislative functions of the Parliament is played by the House of Representatives, elected by universal secret ballot for 3 years. The party (or coalition of parties) that has a majority in the House of Representatives forms the government.
Most bills are introduced in the House. The Senate reviews bills passed by the House and can reject them. The Senate, according to the Constitution, must control the decisions of the House of Representatives.
Executive power is exercised by the Federal government, which is formed from members of the lower house.
In the event of a conflict between the Houses of Parliament, both houses are simultaneously dissolved: in Australian constitutional practice, this is called a “double dissolution”. If the conflict continues after the election, the Governor-General may hold a joint session of both chambers.
The Australian Senate has 76 members. Each state elects 12 senators, and each mainland territory elects 2. Membership in the 148-member House of Representatives is divided among the states and mainland territories according to population. According to the Australian constitution, the House should have about twice as many members as the Senate. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and representatives to three-year terms. Elections for the House must be held at least every three years.
Parliament House on Capital Hill in Canberra
The Australian Parliament House was opened in 1988 (the bicentenary of the founding of Australia) at a cost of $1.1 billion. It is built in the centre of Canberra city. A huge 81m flagpole marks its location.
The House of Representatives
The New Prime-Minister
Scott Morrison - the Australian politician, the member of the Liberal party, the Prime Minister since 24 August, 2018.
He was born in the Sydney. His ancestors were Scots and English. In the 1970s, he starred in television commercials, and at the age of 9, he actively participated in the election campaign of his father, a police officer who was elected to the local Council, and then —a mayor. He graduated from the University of New South Wales, where he studied geography and Economics, and went into the tourism business. In 2004, he gained some notoriety when, as managing Director of the government Agency Tourism Australia, he approved a $ 180 million advertising campaign under the slogan “So Where the Bloody Hell are You?”, banned in the UK. In September 2008, he was appointed shadow housing Minister in Malcolm Turnbull’s Shadow Cabinet. From 2013 to 2014 he was the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. In this position, he authorized the operation “Sovereign borders” on September 18, 2013, the purpose of which was stated to stop the sea route of illegal immigration to Australia. From September 2015 to August 2018 he was the Minister for Finance.
Scott Morrison, the Prime-Minister of Australia
On August 24, 2018, in the second round of voting, he won in the fight for the post of leader of the Liberal Party. On August 24, 2018, he took office as a Prime Minister of Australia.
On May 18, 2019, the center-right coalition won the parliamentary elections, and on May 29, Scott Morrison formed his second government.
State courts are structured hierarchically. Magistrate’s courts have jurisdiction over less serious offenses. District courts are presided over by judges who hear indictable felonies (преступление, преследуемое по обвинительному акту) and civil claims of less than 100,000 dollars. The State supreme courts hear the most serious indictable offenses.
The more recently established federal court system includes the Family Court, dating from 1976, and responsible for settling disputes over marriage and offspring (дети); and the Federal Court, dedicated since 1977 to labor law, bankruptcy, and restrictive trade practices.
The final arbiter is the High Court of Australia, which seats a Chief Justice (председатель Верховного суда) and six Justices, now appointed to the age of 70. The High Court of Australia decides constitutional questions. Since its creation in 1903, the High Court of Australia has been responsible for interpreting the constitution. It also serves as the nation’s court of final appeals.
Magistrate’s courts - less serious offenses
District courts - indictable felonies and civil claims of less than 100,000 dollars
State supreme courts - most serious indictable offenses
Family Court - disputes over marriage and offspring
Federal Court - labor law, bankruptcy
The High Court of Australia
The Australian colonies inherited an electoral tradition from Britain that included limited franchise (ограниченное избирательное право) and public (открытое) and plural voting (множественное голосование - голосование одного избирателя в нескольких избирательных округах). Abuses such as bribery and intimidation (запугивание) of voters stimulated electoral reform. Australia pioneered reforms that underpin (поддерживать) the electoral practices of modern democracies.
In 1856, South Australia eliminated professional and property qualifications (имущественный ценз). In 1855 Victoria introduced the secret (тайное) ballot, which became known throughout the world as ‘the Australian ballot’. The South Australian government was the first in the world to adopt adult male suffrage (всеобщее избирательное право) (1856), and the second after New Zealand to enfranchise (предоставлять избирательные права) women (1902). In the 1890s the colonies adopted the principle of one vote per person, stopping the practice of plural voting.
All Australians 18 years of age or older must vote in parliamentary and state elections (universal and compulsory suffrage). Since 1915, voting has been compulsory. Those who fail to vote in an election may be fined up to 50 dollars. Voter turnout exceeds 90%. The government adopted a preferential voting system in 1919: voters number the candidates in order of preference on the ballot.
Voting rights were granted to aborigines only in 1967.
1855 – secret ballot (Victoria)
1856 – male suffrage (South Australia)
1902 – enfranchise women (South Australia)
the 1890s – one vote per person principle (all colonies)
1915 – universal and compulsory suffrage
The Australian Federal Police was consolidated in 1979 from the older Commonwealth Police to enforce federal laws. It deals mainly with drug trafficking, organized crime, and large-scale fraud.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was established in 1949. It handles internal counterespionage, leaving external (foreign) operations to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the electronic interception (перехват) of intelligence run by the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD).
The System of Defense employed by Australia dates from 1911, when the commonwealth government first instituted compulsory military service and created the Royal Australian Navy. The armed forces of Australia consist of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Australian Air Force. The three services make up a united command that is called the Australian Defense Force.
Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Air Force
The Australian Defence Force has a total of approximately 70,000 men and women. All of the military service is voluntary.
Australian forces have taken part in the Crimean War (1853-1856), the Sudan campaign (1897–1899), the Boer War (1899-1902), World Wars I and II, the Korean War (1950–1953), the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), the Vietnam War (1959-1975), and the Persian Gulf War (1991).