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Australian Government

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The Australian Government is a federal system of government. Under this system, powers are divided between a central government and individual states. In Australia, power is divided between the Commonwealth Government and the country's eight State and Territory governments.

The Commonwealth Government has responsibility for specific areas of legislative power, including:

Australia's State and Territory Governments are responsible for all other governing matters, including:

Commonwealth Government

The Commonwealth Government is divided into three arms, similar to the Westminster system of government: the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.

The Legislature, or Parliament, is made up of democratically-elected representatives from around the country. These representatives meet at Parliament House in Australia's capital city Canberra to discuss legislation and make laws.

Parliament comprises of two separate chambers:

The Executive is the administrative arm of Government empowered by the laws of Australia to act in ways that uphold those laws. It consists of members of the public service who work together to achieve the goals of the Government.

The Judiciary is the legal arm of the Government, independent of the legislature and executive, and its role is to enforce Australian law.

Voting System

The Australian voting system is based on a full preferential voting system. This system ensures that a majority of voters have a say in the election of the successful candidate even though each voter's first choice might not be elected.

Voting in government elections is compulsory for every Australian citizen aged 18 years or older, and if you fail to vote and are unable to supply a valid reason for failing to vote you will be penalised.

Representation in the UK

The Australian government is represented in the UK by the Australian High Commission, which serves as Australia's diplomatic and visa post in the United Kingdom.  Australia House is located in London.

The Australian government is represented in non-commonwealth countries by an Australian embassy.  Both High Commissions and Embassies provide visa and immigration processing services for applicants who want to visit, live, work or study in Australia.