Australia Political System


Australia is a federation of six states and two territories. Under the written Constitution, which came into force on I January 1901 when the colonies joined to form the Commonwealth of Australia, the Federal government is mainly responsible for the national economy and Reserve Bank, customs and excise, immigration, defense, foreign policy and the postal system. The state governments are chiefly responsible for health, education, housing, transport and justice. There are both federal and state police forces.

Political Parties

In Federal parliament, the two main political groups are the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party. These parties also dominate state politics but sometimes the Liberal and National parties are not in coalition. The latter was once known as the National Country Party since it mainly represents country seats.

Aboriginal Land Rights

Britain founded the colony of New South Wales on the legal principle of terra nultius, a land belonging to no-one, which meant that Australia was legally unoccupied. The settlers could take land from Aboriginal people without signing treaties or providing compensation. The European concept of landownership was completely foreign to Aboriginal people and their view of the world in which land did not belong to individuals: people belonged to the land, were formed by it and were a part of it like everything else.