Federal system of government

The Australian Constitution of 1901 established a federal system of government. In a federal system powers are distributed between a national government (the Commonwealth) and the six states. The Constitution defines the boundaries of law-making powers between the Commonwealth and the states/territories.

In Australia there are three tiers of government:

Federal Government

The main responsibility of Federal government is to raise and distribute revenue which it raises mainly through Taxation. Money is then distributed to the States through the Premiers Meetings/Conference and this process is duplicated with a number of State and Commonwealth Departments. For example, there is a Commonwealth/State Housing Agreement where negotiations have been made to reach agreement on allocations for state housing. Money is also given for specific programs - Tied Grants.

The Federal government concerns itself with such things as defence, social security, telecommunications, foreign affairs and currency.

State Government

The States have powers in relation to the many matters not specifically granted to the Federal Parliament under S 51, for example domestic law and order (police), land management (roads, rail, water resources, National Parks etc). In other areas such as health, welfare, education and the environment, the Federal and State governments share responsibility.

See Queensland government structure.

Local Government

Local government in each State is a creation of the State government and is formed under state legislation. However, the Commonwealth Government often enters into direct funding arrangements with local governments for the delivery of Commonwealth government services, including health and welfare services, for example, inoculation programs for children or indigenous communities, or crisis housing.
Last modified: Monday, 30 September 2013, 3:34 PM