Political Involvement. Australian History And Politics And The Voting System.

1021 words - 4 pages

Political Involvement EssayOn January 1, 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. It was formed by six colonies each under the control of the British monarch. When they joined together and became a federation, the colonies, now called states, agreed to hand over some powers to a central government. Under the new agreements, Australia became a constitutional monarchy with three levels of government- federal, state and local. Each level specialises in its own area of control but they all set out to satisfy our collective wants.The constitution, which took effect upon federation, sets out the rules and principles for governing the nation. It outlines the powers of the Federal Parliament and some powers of state parliaments. States also have their own constitutions and the rules contained in the constitution must be followed.There are two houses of Federal Parliament- an upper house, called the Senate, and the lower house, called the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister is head of government and he or she appoints ministers, the Cabinet, to look after particular areas called portfolios. Areas the federal government is responsible for are- taxation, defence, health (Medicare), trade, aviation and immigration. The Governor-General represents the British monarch as head of state.Each state and territory has its own parliament. There are two houses in state parliament- an upper house, called the Legislative Council, and a lower house called the Legislative Assembly. The head of the government is called the Premier and the head of state is the Governor. State governments are responsible for areas such as- housing, health (hospitals), services, law and order, primary and secondary education and local government.There are about 900 local government bodies in Australia usually called councils. They operate under state government legislation and they make rules called by-laws. They are responsible for- parks, rubbish collection, swimming pools, street lighting, child care centres and kindergartens. Council members are called aldermen of councillors and the head of the council is called a mayor or a shire president.The structure of government in Australia gives all Australian citizens the right to vote if they are 18 years of age or older. Being part of a democracy means that everyone who is of age has a right to their say and this right is given in the form of a vote. There are three methods of voting used in Australia. They are- first past the post, preferential and optional preferential.First past the post is the simplest form of voting. People place the number 1 next to the most preferred candidates and the candidates with the most votes wins. However, it can result in a winner who is supported by a minority of the voters. Preferential voting means that voters not only decide the candidate they prefer most, but they also order the other candidates in order of their preference in case their most preferred doesn't win. This method is used when...

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