Government in Australia:

The Commonwealth Government

Queen Elizabeth 2 of England is also Queen of Australia. She is the Head of State of Australia. Australians do not vote for her, because a queen or king gets that position from the king or queen before them, usually their parents or other relative.

The Queen lives in England, not Australia. The Governor-General does the job for her when she is not here.

The Head of State does not run the country, but has other jobs to do, such as sign a law to make it official, signing the paper that begins an election and being commander in chief of the army, navy and air force.


This is the Queen with Sir William Deane, who was Governor-General of Australia when the photo was taken. He was Governor-General from 1996 to 2001.



In Australia, an elected government runs the country. Every four years, Australians who are over 18 years old must vote in an election. They help choose the people who will be in Parliament.

People who are elected go to Parliament in Canberra. Parliament House is a huge building where parliament meets several times a year to discuss and make laws for the country. A law is a rule that affects how we live.

In the Australian Parliament there are 2 sections, called Houses. They are the House of Representatives and The Senate.

Parliament House in Canberra, pictured across Lake Burley Griffin.



After an election, the group (called a Party) that wins the most seats in the House of Representatives becomes the government. The leader of that party becomes the Prime Minister. In Australia, a Prime Minister is the Head of the Government.

The Party with the next highest number of seats in the House of Representatives is called The Opposition and its leader is called The Leader of the Opposition.
If you use any of this information in your own work acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Government in Australia (2003). [Online], Available:

The Australian Parliament


Useful Resources about civics

Updated February 2003