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AustraliaGovernment

CIA World Factbook 2005 Dictionary

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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
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 mainland territories; one-half of state members are elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms while all territory members are elected every three years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members elected by popular preferential voting to serve terms of up to three-years; no state can have fewer than five representatives)
elections: Senate - last held 9 October 2004 (next to be held no later than June 2008); House of Representatives - last held 9 October 2004 (next to be called no later than November 2007)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party (for session beginning on 1 July 2002) - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 35, Australian Labor Party 28, Australian Democrats 7, Green Party 2, One Nation Party 1, Australian Progressive Alliance 1, independent 2; (for session beginning on 1 July 2005) - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 39, Australian Labor Party 28, Democrats 4, Australian Greens 4, Family First Party 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Liberal Party-National Party coalition 87, Australian Labor Party 60, independents 3
Judicial branch:
High Court (the chief justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general)
Political parties and leaders:
Australian Democrats [Lyn ALLISON]; Australian Labor Party [Kim BEAZLEY]; Australian Progressive Alliance [Meg LEES]; Australian Greens [Bob BROWN]; Liberal Party [John Winston HOWARD]; The Nationals [Mark VAILE]; One Nation Party [Len HARRIS]; Family First Party [Steve FIELDING]
International organization participation:
ANZUS, APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CP, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, Paris Club, PCA, PIF, Sparteca, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMEE, UNMISET, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, WToO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael J. THAWLEY
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 797-3000
FAX: [1] (202) 797-3168
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador J. Thomas SCHIEFFER
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: Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
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 known as the Commonwealth Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; 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

More about Australia:

  • Introduction
  • Geography
  • People
  • Economy
  • Communications
  • Transportation
  • Military
  • Transnational Issues


  • The World Factbook 2005, by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)