Ekonomiko-geographical description of Australia — страница 4

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The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional democracy based on a federal division of powers. The form of government used in Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Australia, a role that is distinct from her position as monarch of the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General at federal level and by the Governors at state level. Although the Constitution gives extensive executive powers to the Governor-General, these are normally exercised only on the advice of the Prime Minister. The most notable exercise of the Governor-General's reserve powers outside the Prime Minister's direction was the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in the constitutional crisis of

1975.[38] There are three branches of government: The legislature: the Commonwealth Parliament, comprising the Queen, the Senate, and the House of Representatives; the Queen is represented by the Governor-General, who by convention acts on the advice of his or her Ministers.[39] The executive: the Federal Executive Council (the Governor-General as advised by the Executive Councillors); in practice, the councillors are the Prime Minister and Ministers of State.[citation needed] The judiciary: the High Court of Australia and other federal courts. Appeals from Australian courts to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom ceased when the Australia Act of 1986 was passed.[40] The bicameral Commonwealth Parliament consists of the Queen, the Senate (the upper

house) of 76 senators, and a House of Representatives (the lower house) of 150 members. Members of the lower house are elected from single-member constituencies, commonly known as "electorates" or "seats", allocated to states on the basis of population, with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats. In the Senate, each state is represented by twelve senators, and each of the territories (the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory) by two. Elections for both chambers are normally held every three years, simultaneously; senators have overlapping six-year terms, since only half of places in the Senate are put to each election unless the cycle is interrupted by a double dissolution. Although the Prime Minister is appointed by the

Governor-General, in practice the party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms government and its leader becomes Prime Minister.[41] There are two major political groups that form government, federally and in the states: the Australian Labor Party, and the Coalition which is a formal grouping of two parties: the Liberal Party and its minor partner, the National Party. Independent members and several minor parties—including the Greens and the Australian Democrats—have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses. The Labor Party came to office with Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister following the November 2007 election. Every Australian parliament (federal, state, and territory) then had a Labor government until September 2008 when

the Liberal Party formed a minority government in association with the National Party in Western Australia. In the 2004 election, the previous governing coalition led by John Howard won control of the Senate—the first time in more than 20 years that a party (or a coalition) has done so while in government. Voting is compulsory for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over, in each state and territory and at the federal level.[42] Enrolment to vote is compulsory in all jurisdictions except South Australia.[43] States and territories Australia has six states—New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia—and two major mainland territories—the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In most respects these two

territories function as states, but the Commonwealth Parliament can override any legislation of their parliaments. By contrast, federal legislation only overrides state legislation in certain areas that are set out in Section 51 of the Australian Constitution; state parliaments retain all residual legislative powers, including powers over education, police, the judiciary, roads, public transport, and local government as these do not fall under the provisions listed in Section 51.[44] Each state and major mainland territory has its own legislature or parliament: unicameral in the Northern Territory, the ACT, and Queensland, and bicameral in the remaining states. The states are sovereign, though subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as defined by the Constitution. The lower