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Australian law: Legal system

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Australian legal system : quick facts

  • Australia is a constitutional monarchy. 
  • The legal system follows the common law tradition.
  • The Queen of Australia is Head of Government, and she appoints a Governor General - on advice of the central Commonwealth Government - to be her representative. 
  • The Australian Parliament (in Canberra, ACT) enacts Federal laws.  It is made up of two houses- the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • The office of Prime Minister is held by the leader of the party with a majority in the House of Representatives, on appointment by the Governor General.
  • Alongside the commonwealth legal system Australia has a federation of six States and three self-governing territories, each with their own constitutions, parliaments and laws. 
  • The distribution of powers between the federal and state governments are laid out in the Australian Constitution (63 & 64 Victoria, c.12), which first came into force in 1901.