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Australia Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
    conventional short form: Australia

    Data code: AS

    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

    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 ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir William DEANE (since 16 February 1996)
    head of government: Prime Minister John Winston HOWARD (since 11 March 1996); Deputy Prime Minister Timothy Andrew FISCHER (since 11 March 1996)
    cabinet: Cabinet selected from among the members of Federal Parliament by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
    elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general for a three-year term

    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 territories; one-half of the members elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (148 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve three-year terms; no state can have fewer than five representatives)
    elections: Senate—last held 3 October 1998 (next to be held by October 2001); House of Representatives—last held 3 October 1998 (next to be held by October 2001)
    election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Liberal-National 35, Labor 29, Australian Democrats 9, Greens 1, One Nation 1, independent 1; House of Representatives—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Liberal-National 80, Labor 67, independent 1

    Judicial branch: High Court, the Chief Justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general

    Political parties and leaders:
    government: coalition of Liberal Party [John Winston HOWARD] and National Party [Timothy Andrew FISCHER]
    opposition: Australian Labor Party [Kim BEAZLEY]; Australian Democratic Party [Meg LEES]; Green Party [Bob BROWN]; One Nation Party [Pauline HANSON]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: Australian Democratic Labor Party (anti-Communist Labor Party splinter group); Peace and Nuclear Disarmament Action (Nuclear Disarmament Party splinter group)

    International organization participation: ANZUS, APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, C, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Andrew Sharp PEACOCK
    chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 797-3000
    FAX: [1] (202) 797-3168
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Genta Hawkins HOLMES
    embassy: Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600
    mailing address: APO AP 96549
    telephone: [61] (6) 6214-5600
    FAX: [61] (6) 6214-5970
    consulate(s) general: Melbourne, Perth, and 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; 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

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)