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Australia: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia
conventional short form: Australia
etymology: the name Australia derives from the Latin "australis" meaning "southern"; the Australian landmass was long referred to as "Terra Australis" or the Southern Land
Government typeparliamentary democracy (Federal Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
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
Dependent areasAshmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Norfolk Island
Independence1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)
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)
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 planned for early 2017 (2016)
Legal systemcommon law system based on the English model
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
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 Malcolm TURNBULL (since 15 September 2015); Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby JOYCE (since 18 February 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister from among members of Parliament and sworn in by the governor general
elections/appointments: 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 majority coalition is sworn in as prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of the Senate (76 seats; 12 members from each of the 6 states and 2 each from the 2 mainland territories; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of state membership renewed every 3 years and territory membership renewed every 3 years) and the House of Representatives (150 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by majority preferential vote; members serve terms of up to 3 years)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 July 2016; House of Representatives - last held on 2 July 2016; this election represents a rare double dissolution where all 226 seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives are up for reelection
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party NA - awaiting final results; seats by party NA - awaiting final results; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party Liberal/National Coalition 42.14%, ALP 34.91%, The Greens 9.93%, Katter's Australian Party 0.55%, Nick Xenophon Team 1.86%, independents 2.85%; seats by party Liberal/National Coalition 77, ALP 68, The Greens 1, Katter's Australian Party 1, Nick Xenophon Team 1, independents 2
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: 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
Political parties and leadersAustralian Greens Party (Richard DI NATALE)
Australian Labor Party (Bill SHORTEN)
Country Liberal Party or CLP (Gary HIGGINS)
Family First Party (Bob DAY)
Katter's Australian Party (Bob KATTER)
Liberal National Party of Queensland or LNP (Timothy NICHOLLS)
Liberal Party (Malcolm TURNBULL)
National Party of Australia (Barnaby JOYCE)
Palmer United Party or PUP (Clive PALMER)
Political pressure groups and leadersother: business groups, environmental groups, social groups, trade unions
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), ICCt, 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
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Joseph Benedict HOCKEY (since 28 January 2016)
chancery: 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: (1) (202) 797-3000
FAX: (1) (202) 797-3168
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Morrell 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
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
National symbol(s)Southern Cross constellation (composed of five stars: four large seven-pointed stars, one small five-pointed star), kangaroo, emu; national colors: green, gold
National anthemname: "Advance Australia Fair"
lyrics/music: Peter Dodds McCORMICK

note: adopted 1984; although originally written in the late 19th century, the anthem was not 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)