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Australia: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
CapitalCanberra Canberra
geographic coordinates: 35 16 S, 149 08 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends first Sunday in April
note: Australia has three time zones
Administrative divisions6 states and 2 territories*; Australian Capital Territory*, New South Wales, Northern Territory*, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
Constitution9 July 1900; effective 1 January 1901; amended several times, last in 1977; note - a referendum to amend the constitution to reflect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2013 is to be completed by the end of 2014 (2013)
Dependent areasAshmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Macquarie Island, Norfolk Island
Executive branchchief of state: Queen of Australia ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Peter COSGROVE (since 28 March 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Anthony John "Tony" ABBOTT (since 18 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Warren TRUSS (since 18 September 2013)
cabinet: prime minister nominates, from among members of Parliament, candidates who are subsequently sworn in by the governor general to serve as government ministers
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general
Flag descriptionblue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large seven-pointed star in the lower hoist-side quadrant known as the Commonwealth or Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia in 1901; the star depicts one point for each of the six original states and one representing all of Australia's internal and external territories; on the fly half is a representation of the Southern Cross constellation in white with one small, five-pointed star and four larger, seven-pointed stars
Independence1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): High Court of Australia (consists of 7 justices, including the chief justice); note - each of the 6 states, 2 territories, and Norfolk Island has a Supreme Court; the High Court is the final appellate court beyond the state and territory supreme courts
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general in council for life with mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: subordinate courts at the federal level: Federal Court; Federal Magistrates' Courts of Australia; Family Court; subordinate courts at the state and territory level: Local Court - New South Wales; Magistrates' Courts – Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory; District Courts – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia; County Court – Victoria; Family Court – Western Australia; Court of Petty Sessions – Norfolk Island
Legal systemcommon law system based on the English model
Legislative branchbicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the six states and 2 from each of the two mainland territories; one-half of state members are elected every three years by popular vote to serve six-year terms while all territory members are elected every three years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve terms of up to three-years; no state can have fewer than 5 representatives)
elections: Senate - last held on 7 September 2013; House of Representatives - last held on 7 September 2013 (the latest a simultaneous half-Senate and House of Representative elections can be held is 30 November 2016)
election results: Senate NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Liberal/National Coalition 53.45%, Australian Labor Party 46.55%; seats by party - Liberal/National Coalition 90 (Liberal 58, Liberal National 22, Nationals 9, Country Liberals 1), Australian Labor Party 55, Australian Greens Party 1, Katter's Australian Party 1, Palmer United Party 1, independents 2
International organization participationADB, ANZUS, APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CD, CP, EAS, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-20, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF, SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), Sparteca, SPC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
National holidayAustralia Day (commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of Australian settlers), 26 January (1788); ANZAC Day (commemorates the anniversary of the landing of troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I at Gallipoli, Turkey), 25 April (1915)
Political pressure groups and leadersother: business groups, environmental groups, social groups, trade unions
Political parties and leadersAustralian Greens Party (Christine MILNE)
Australian Labor Party (Bill SHORTEN)
Country Liberal Party (Terry MILLS)
Family First Party (Steve FIELDING)
Katter's Australian Party (Bob KATTER)
Liberal National Party of Queensland (Campbell NEWMAN)
Liberal Party (Tony ABBOTT)
National Party of Australia (Warren TRUSS)
Palmer United Party (Clive PALMER)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Government typefederal parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Kim Christian BEAZLEY (since 7 February 2010)
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: (1) (202) 797-3000
FAX: (1) (202) 797-3168
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
National anthemname: "Advance Australia Fair"
lyrics/music: Peter Dodds McCORMICK
note: adopted 1984; although originally written in the late 19th century, the anthem did not become used for all official occasions until 1984; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" is also played at Royal functions (see United Kingdom)
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)Southern Cross constellation (five, seven-pointed stars); kangaroo; emu
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador John BERRY (since 25 September 2013)
embassy: Moonah Place, Yarralumla, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600
mailing address: APO AP 96549
telephone: (61) (02) 6214-5600
FAX: (61) (02) 6214-5970
consulate(s) general: Melbourne, Perth, Sydney