The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Like other Westminster-style systems of government, the Australian Government is made up of three branches: the executive (the prime minister, the ministers, and government departments), the legislative (the Parliament of Australia), and the judicial.
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|Formation||1 January 1901|
|Founding document||Australian Constitution|
|Head of state (sovereign)||Monarch (Queen)|
|Legislature||Parliament of Australia|
|Meeting place||Parliament House|
|Head of government||Prime Minister|
|Court||High Court of Australia|
|Seat||High Court Building, Canberra|
The legislative branch, the federal Parliament, is made up of two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower house) and Senate (upper house). The House of Representatives has 151 members, each representing an individual electoral district of about 165,000 people. The Senate has 76 members: twelve from each of the six states and two each from Australia's internal territories, the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The Australian monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is represented by the governor-general. The Australian Government in its executive capacity is formed by the party or coalition with a majority in the House of Representatives, with the prime minister being the parliamentary leader who has the support of a majority of members in the House of Representatives. The prime minister is formally appointed to the role by the governor-general.
The government is based in the nation's capital, Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory. The head offices of all fourteen federal departments lie in Canberra, along with Parliament House and the High Court. The judicial branch of government, headed by the High Court of Australia, is independent of the legislative and executive branch, and ensures that government acts according to the constitution and law. As a founding member of the Commonwealth and a former British colony before Federation in 1901, Australia's Constitution is influenced heavily by the British Westminster system of government, as well as the United States Constitution.