State Government - Australia


The Commonwealth of Australia is a federal nation with six states (and two mainland territories). Section 51 of the Australian Constitution sets out the division of legislative power between the states and the Commonwealth (federal) government. The Commonwealth government is given a variety of legislative powers, including control of foreign affairs, taxation (although this cannot discriminate between states or parts of states), and regulation of interstate commerce and corporations.Section 51 of the Australian Constitution at theamericanParliament website Since the original ratification of the constitution, the High Court of Australia has settled a number of disputes concerning the extent of the Commonwealth's legislative powers, some of which have been controversial and extensively criticised; these included a dispute in 1982 over whether the Commonwealth was entitled to designate land for national heritage purposes under United Nations agreements,Barwick, Sir Garfield, A View of the External Affairs Power, Samuel Griffith Society as well as numerous disputes over the extent of the Commonwealth's power over trade union and industrial relations legislation.Creighton, Breen, One Hundred Years of the Conciliation and Arbitration Power: A Province Lost?, Melbourne University Law Review

One difference between the Australian and United States models of federalism is that, in Australia, the Commonwealth Parliament has explicit constitutional power over marriage legislation; this has been a focal point for recent controversies over same-sex marriage.The High Court and the Meaning of 'Marriage' in Section 51(xxi) of the Constitution, Australian Parliamentary Library

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Famous quotes containing the word australia:

    It is very considerably smaller than Australia and British Somaliland put together. As things stand at present there is nothing much the Texans can do about this, and ... they are inclined to shy away from the subject in ordinary conversation, muttering defensively about the size of oranges.
    Alex Atkinson, British humor writer. repr. In Present Laughter, ed. Alan Coren (1982)

    I like Australia less and less. The hateful newness, the democratic conceit, every man a little pope of perfection.
    —D.H. (David Herbert)