Government type:
parliamentary democracy (Federal Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
name: Canberra
geographic coordinates: 35 16 S, 149 08 E

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
1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)
National holiday:
Australia Day (commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of Australian settlers), 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorates the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)
history: approved in a series of referenda 1898 through 1900, became law 9 July 1900, effective 1 January 1901
amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires approval of a referendum bill by absolute majority vote in both houses of Parliament, approval in a referendum by a majority of voters in at least four states and in the territories, and Royal Assent; proposals that would reduce a state’s representation in either house or change a state’s boundaries require that state’s approval prior to Royal Assent; amended several times, last in 1977 (2017)
Legal system:
common law system based on the English model
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Gen. Sir Peter COSGROVE (since 28 March 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Malcolm TURNBULL (since 15 September 2015)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister from among members of Parliament and sworn in by the governor general
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch:
description: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of:
Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the 6 states and 2 each from the 2 mainland territories; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of state membership renewed every 3 years and territory membership renewed every 3 years)
House of Representatives (150 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority preferential vote; members serve terms of up to 3 years)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 July 2016 (next to be held in 2019)
House of Representatives - last held on 2 July 2016; this election represented a rare double dissolution where all 226 seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives were up for reelection
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - Liberal/National Coalition 35.2%, ALP 29.8%, the Greens 8.7%, Pauline Hanson's One Nation 4.3%, Nick Xenophon Team 3.3%, other 18.7%; seats by party - Liberal/National Coalition 30, ALP 26, The Greens 9, Pauline Hanson's One Nation 4, Nick Xenophon Team 3, other 4
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Liberal/National Coalition 42%, ALP 34.7%, The Greens 10.2%, Nick Xenophon Team 1.9%. Katter's Australian Party 0.5%, other 7.8%, independent 2.8%; seats by party - Liberal/National Coalition 76, ALP 69, The Greens 1, Katter's Australian Party 1, Nick Xenophon Team 1, independent 2
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): High Court of Australia (consists of 7 justices, including the chief justice); note - each of the 6 states, 2 territories, and Norfolk Island has a Supreme Court; the High Court is the final appellate court beyond the state and territory supreme courts
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general in council for life with mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: subordinate courts: subordinate courts at the federal level: Federal Court; Federal Magistrates' Courts of Australia; Family Court; subordinate courts at the state and territory level: Local Court - New South Wales; Magistrates' Courts – Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory; District Courts – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia; County Court – Victoria; Family Court – Western Australia; Court of Petty Sessions – Norfolk Island
Political parties and leaders:
Australian Greens Party [Richard DI NATALE]
Australian Labor Party or ALP [Bill SHORTEN]
Country Liberal Party or CLP [Gary HIGGINS]
Liberal National Party of Queensland or LNP [Deborah FRECKLINGTON]
Liberal Party of Australia [Malcolm TURNBULL]
The Nationals [Michael MCCORMACK]
Nick Xenophon Team [Nick XENOPHON]
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation [Pauline HANSON]