Federal government structure

Many Australians believe that our system of government here in Australia is modelled on the British system. However, it is actually a compromise between the British and the United States systems of government.

The Australian federal system of government is similar to that of the United States, i.e. power is shared between the federal and state governments. We also have a written Constitution like that of the United States of America, and a High Court to interpret relevant sections of the Constitution.

The similarities between the Australian and British systems include:

  • The Australian government has an Executive (Cabinet) headed by the Prime Minister
  • The Cabinet is selected from both Houses of Parliament
  • These positions are agreed to by the Head of State – the Governor General
  • The Governor General is selected rather than elected
  • The Governor General’s role is not that of head of government. That is the role of the Prime Minister
  • The Australian Parliament is modelled on the British Westminster System (two-house system).

Figure 4: Structure of Australian Commonwealth

Figure 4: Structure of Australian Commonwealth

Last modified: Tuesday, 10 September 2013, 11:58 AM