Key Figures

Chief of State:
Queen of Australia Elizabeth II represented by Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove
Head of Government:
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Overview

Government Name:
Commonwealth of Australia
Constitution:
Formed: 1901; Constitution provides for the commonwealth government's legislative powers and allocates certain powers and responsibilities to the commonwealth government. All responsibilities remaining are retained by previously separate colonies, referred to as the six states. Each state has its own constitution, so Australia itself has seven sovereign parliaments which cannot impede with the functions of another.
Government Type:
Federal Parlimentary Democracy and a Commonwealth Realm
Commonwealth of Australia Flag
Coat of Arms of Commonwealth of Australia

Index of Economic Freedom

Grades each country on a scale of 0 to 100, based on ten freedoms, with 100 representing the greatest amount of economic autonomy from government intervention. Source: Heritage Foundation (2018)

Country Risk Rating

A2
The political and economic situation is good. A basically stable and efficient business environment nonetheless leaves room for improvement. Corporate default probability is low on average. Source: Coface (2018)

Government Branches

Main Powers Election Process Election Cycle 1
Executive

The queen is the figure head for the government and also appoints the governor-general and prime minister. The governor-general represents the queen, makes and receives state visits, and rarely exercises reserve powers similar to those of the queen in the UK. The prime minister has the discretion to advise the governor-general to call an election for the house of representatives at any time, but senate elections can only be held within certain periods prescribed in the constitution.

The queen is hereditary. The governor-general is appointed by the queen. The prime minister is appointed by the governor-general having been judged by the governor-general to be capable of commanding the support of a majority of members of the house of representatives.

Governor-General: at Her Majesty's pleasure; Prime Minister: at Her Majesty's pleasure

Judicial

Judicial high courts arbitrate on any disputes that arise between the commonwealth and the states or among the states in terms of their specific function. The high courts have judicial review over laws passed by both the commonwealth and states' parliaments.

The high courts vice-regal is appointment upon nomination by the prime minister who follows the advice of the attorney-general and cabinet. The chamber of deputies are elected by people of each district using proportional representation, the D'Hondt formula with a 3% of the district registered voters threshold.

Mandatory retirement age of 70

Legislative

Senate powers are equal to those of the house of representatives except that it cannot introduce or amend proposed laws that authorize expenditure for the ordinary annual services of the government or that impose taxation. They may request that the house of representatives make amendments to financial legislation and it can refuse to pass any bill. The house of representatives determines the government, debates and passes laws, watches over government administration and expenditure, and provides a forum for public debate on issues of national importance.

The senate has 76 members who are elected through a single transferable vote (STV) proportional representation system. The house of representatives has 150 members who are elected through an alternative voting system.

Senate: 6 years; House of Representatives: 3 years

Regional Trade Blocs

International Organization Participation [2]

Environmental Agreements [3]

Tax Information [2]

Tax Authority:
Australian Taxation Office
Tax Name:
GST

Sources:

  1. ElectionGuide http://www.electionguide.org/
  2. EY, http://www.ey.com
  3. CIA World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
  4. U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/