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Australia Government
 
 
 

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, Macquarie 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 of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Michael JEFFERY (since 11 August 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister John Winston HOWARD (since 11 March 1996); Deputy Prime Minister Mark VAILE (since 6 July 2005)
cabinet: Prime Minister nominates, from among members of Parliament, candidates who are subsequently sworn in by the Governor General to serve as government ministers
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general
note: government coalition - Liberal Party and National Party


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