The system of government
for the Commonwealth
is a three-tier system based on the Westminster tradition. (In other words, based on the English
The Federal Parliament, located in Canberra in the ACT has two houses, the House of Representatives (Lower house) containing 148 members and the Senate (Upper house).
To form a government a political party or coalition must hold the majority of seats in the lower house. It is not a constitutional requirement that a government have a majority of seats in the Senate.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Australia, although there have been moves in recent years to remove the constritutional links to the Queen and establish Australia as an independent republic. A referendum held in 1999 failed to win the approval required however, and the monarchy remains in place.
The Queen is represented in Australia by the Governor-General, Dr. Peter Hollingworth.
The leader of the Australian government is the Prime Minister, The Hon. John Howard.
(Adapted from information taken from www.fed.gov.au)