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Flashcards in Ch 3 Deck (16)
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Westminster System

A system of government based on the British system where the executive is drawn from the legislature, holding them responsible between elections and forming a legislative-executive fusion



A system of government in which sovereignty is divided geographically between a central (Commonwealth) government and two or more local (State) governments. First implemented in the US


Coercive Federalism

A system of federalism where the central government has more power than the local governments


Co-operative Federalism

A system of federalism where the central and local governments have equal power


Confederate Federalism

A system of federalism where the local governments have more power than the central government


Constitutional Monarchy

A form of government where the head of state is an inherited position and their powers are limited through a written constitution or unwritten conventions


Bicameral Parliament

A legislature made up of two houses (Senate and House of Representatives in Australia)


Responsible Parliamentary Government

The convention governing the formation of government in a Westminster system where the executive is drawn from and responsible to the legislature


Westminster Conventions

Unwritten rules which govern the practice of government in Westminster systems (such as the convention that government is formed from the party with a majority of seats in the House of Representatives)



The representative of the British monarch in Australia. Acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief


Commonwealth Government

The central government of Australia. Their powers are defined in s51 of the Australian Constitution


State Government

The former British colonies which became states in 1901. They have power over all areas not specifically allocated to the Commonwealth in section 51. These are known as residual 'powers'


Federal Balance

The balance of power between the Commonwealth and State governments. Initially, the balance was equal between the two levels (co-operative), but as Australians gained trust in the Commonwealth government and the country became more interconnected it has shifted towards the Commonwealth (coercive)



The only way to change the Australian Constitution is to hold a public referendum requiring a 'double majority', that is, a majority of voters in a majority of the states. Borrowed from Switzerland.


Washminster Hybrid

A fusion between the British Westminster system and the Federal system from the US. This system is employed in Australia and Canada


Expansion of Commonwealth Powers

A process which has occurred throughout Australia's history to shift power from the states to the Commonwealth. This is done through:
Referral of Powers
Commonwealth Financial Power
High Court Interpretations