AUSTRALIA HAS A FEDERAL SYSTEM of government, which means there is both a national and a second level of government, the state and territorial authorities. It is a liberal democratic government and its structure is a hybrid, reflecting the influence of both the British parliamentary model and the American presidential model. The British queen is the head of state and the governor general represents the monarch in her absence (which is most of the time). The head of state is a mostly symbolic position. The national parliament is bicameral, with a House of Representatives and a Senate. Like a parliamentary system, there is a blending of the legislative and executive branches; there is cabinet solidarity and responsible government; there is strict party discipline. Australia has ...

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