The Australian Political System
The Australian political system is characterised by the interaction between the various arms and levels of government. The system is essentially based on shared democratic doctrines associated with the United Kingdom and its flavour.
The constitution is the central law book of a nation and is often referred to as the grundnorm giving its overriding power over other statute books. Therefore, the constitution is binding on all persons inhabiting the country.
The constitution gives a mandate of authority to all arms of government and tiers of government. It states their roles and responsibilities as well as dictates the structure of governance. It also contains the process of determining the country’s leadership, a term of office and the body saddled with such responsibility.
Furthermore, the constitution provides for the rights and duties of the citizens to the government. Australia operates a written form that came into force on the 1st of January 1901 and can only be amended by a referendum.
The Arms of Government
There are three primary arms of government which are the legislature, executive and the Judiciary. The legislature refers to the Senate’s seventy-six seats and one hundred and fifty in the House of Representatives and among which the ministers are appointed. The legislature’s function is to enact laws for the good being of the citizens and the state.
The executive is the ministers formed from the parliament, and the Prime Minister is chosen from the majority party in the lower chamber and is responsible for enforcing laws. There are two major political parties in Australia and several minority parties. The major parties are the liberal party and labour party. Between these parties, the party with the most support from the lower chamber forms the government and elects a prime minister among them.
Lastly, the Judiciary is the legal arm of government and is charged with interpreting laws and settling disputes. The apex court of Australia is the High court of Australia.
The Levels of Government
Australia operates a system of government referred to as a Federal constitutional monarchy. It implies a monarch and three tiers of Government (Federal, state and Local Government). The Queen is the head of state and acts through the Governor-general whom she appoints based on the prime minister’s recommendation. The Queen is the same as the Queen of England but performs no role or interfered in the governor’s duties.
The Governor-general assists in summoning and dissolving parliament, assenting bills and appointing ministers, among others, and acts on the orders of the ministers as well.
The federal structure assumes a parliamentary form, and the majority party appoints the Prime minister in the lower legislative chamber. The parliament performs both the legislative and executive functions.
On the other hand, the state government performs residual obligations not performed by the central government. The state governments also determine the functions of local governments under it. About nine hundred local governments in Australia and their operations vary from the naming of roads to town planning to water and waste disposal services.