Test One: Structure of Aus political system Flashcards Preview

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definition of federation

The creation of a nation by uniting previously seperate colonies/states each of which retains some power of self-government but also ceded some to the national government. Australia federated on January 1st 1901.


free trade as a reason

1- Free trade: before federation tariffs restricted trade between colonies and increased the cost of imported goods from other colonies. Federation could abolish taxes and create a single market therefore strengthening Australia’s economy.


reasons for federation

free trade


reasons against federation

money and resources
physical distance


immigration as a reason

in the late 19th century many people wanted to maintain their pure British heritage in Australia. However many people were worried that the cheap non white labor would compete for white jobs. A national government could better restrict immigration. example, Queensland kanakas getting paid a lot less for jobs whites could have.


defence as a reason

before federation each colony had a small army force that were ill-equipped to defend themselves and still relied on the british to patrol their vast coastline, as they feared the attack from other asian countries particularly japan . Federation would result in a united army which could better defend the country.


money and resources

colonies such as western australia did not want to share their money and resources with the other colonies as they would receive nothing in return. (wa in gold rush)


rivalries as a reason

there were rivalries between the colonies as smaller populated colonies as they feared they would be over looked and the larger colonies would be more important and favoured.


Physical distance as a reason

development and communication was regionally centred, so links between the colonies were developing slower


Constitution definition

the basic set of law by which a state or nation is governed. May include things such as principles, powers and processes of a political system. can be written or unwritten.


chapters of the constitution

Chapter one - the parliament
chapter two - the executive
chapter three - the judiciary
chapter four - finance and trade
chapter five - the states
chapter six - new states
chapter seven - miscellaneous
chapter eight - altering the constitution


purpose of the constitution

the constitution was a necessary step to be taken in order for australia to federate. each colony want to power and control over the country and 13 colonies wanted to make sure all the colonies did not hold power over them. For example Adelaide refused to federate if Parliament was in Melbourne but did not want to in Sydney so states it must be at least 100 miles from Sydney. another reason included that colonies were receiving revenue and did not wish to share the profit with other colonies this is why the constitution stated profits for the first 10 years of Federation would remain in the colonies.


federalism definition

a system of government in which the powers and responsibilities of government are divided between a national government and two or more state or regional governments. federations require written constitutions to allow for the settlement of disputes over the divisions of power.


Parts of the division of power

Exclusive power, concurrent power, residual power.


Exclusive power definition

Powers set out in the Australian Constitution about which only the government can make laws these include the power to collect customs and excise duties and make laws about the operation of the federal public service (Commonwealth power)


Concurrent power definition

A power that can be exercised by both the Commonwealth and the states. When there is conflift Commonwealth law will prevail (stated in section 109), (shared powers).


Residual power definition

The areas of lawmaking authority not granted to the Commonwealth alone or directly with the states by the Australian Constitution. The power to make laws in these areas remained under the sole authority of the state. (States get leftovers).


Exclusive power, sections in the constitution.

Direct powers
section 52, administration of the capital city and Commonwealth properties and to run Commonwealth public services
Section 90, power to levy customs and excise duties and grant export bounties
Section 51 through the 39 subsection covering areas such as, foreign trade, taxation, quarantine.


Concurrent powers in the constitution.

Section 51, through some of the 39 subsections, examples of these are marriage, divorce and bankruptcy, taxation.


Residual power examples in the constitution.

Not stated in the Constitution examples include criminal and civil law, public services, traffic laws and education. (Outlined in section 108 of constitution).


Reasons for the shifting balance of power

After Federation it was thought in the future state would retain significant power however this was not the case for for main reasons.
Referendums, referral of powers, Commonwealth financial power and judicial interpretation


Explain referendums influence in shifting balance of power

Referendums are a national vote that can result in the government receiving more power. Referendums are not a particularly significant reason for the shifting of power as many citizens are reluctant to hand power to the government. (8 out of 44 constitutional amendments have been agreed to). Examples – the 1967 citizenship referendum where Commonwealth gains power to legislate in relation to aborigines.


Explain how the referral of powers influenced the shifting balance of power

Under the Constitution state governments may hand over an area of authority to the Commonwealth. States may also choose not to challenge Commonwealth authority on my cooperatively enact identical legislation to the Commonwealth to create particular sets of uniform national standards. Generally states are reluctant to voluntarily transfer power to the Commonwealth and transfers of the coming less common. Example- 1947 Commonwealth took over the operation of railways in Tasmania and South Australia. Commonwealth achieved national uniform standards in corporations such as air safety and gun control.


Explain how the judicial interpretationhad an influence on the shifting balance of power

The High Court can have major effect on federal balance as it determine the constitutional validity of state and Commonwealth actions. The court judgement moves in distinct phases, so far there have been five phases.


Five distinct phases of judicial interpretation

phase one (1903–1920) – High Court adopted pro states view
Phase two (1920-1943) - pro commonwealth nationalist stance and applied British legal traditions.
Phase Three (1943-1970) - decisions were legalist and based upon ‘black letter of the law.’ Judgements favoured both states and commonwealth.
Phase Four (1970- mid1990’s)- expansionary stage. Expanded commonwealth power broad interpretations of concurrent powers. Disallowed restrictions on the political freedom of citizens.
Phase five (mid 1990’s-now) - follow precedent, precedents Clearly favour commonwealth.


Influencers on our Federal System

United States of America


What did Australia adopt from Westminster England

The responsible parliamentary government - accountability, the executive sits in the legislature.
A bicameral parliament - two houses
Constitutional monarchy
Cabinet government
Government is formed in the lower house


United States of America on our federal system

Separation of powers
Constitutional court - interprets constitution
Equal number of senators from each state in the upper house
Method of division of power between states and central court.
Australia didn’t want a full British government as they had a unitary governing so they took ideas from the USA.


Canada on the federal system

Warminster System - combining american federalism and British Westminster System of government
State government had taxing power.


Switzerland on influences on our federal system

constitutional amendments,
double majority, states and people to pass laws.


The three levels of the separation of powers

Legislative, executive, judiciary.


Explain legislative

The sentence (76 seats, 12 senators from each state) and the hearse a representative (150 states). AKA the parliament, role is to pass and make legislation.


Explain executive

Prime Minister and cabinet, and the governor general. A.k.a. the government, role is to administer legislation and create policies and legislation


Explain judiciary.

The courts and the hierarchy, role is to adjudicate on cases and apply and interpret the law


How does the separation of powers work?

It is a key concept created by baron de Montesquieu, that rejects ultimate power and prevent ps arbitrary and oppressive government. There are three individual sections that are supposed to act separately. It is a vital feature of limited government


Is the separation of powers in Australia affective

No reasons for this include,
The Prime Minister sit in the house of representative which compromises the system
The Prime Minister suggest High Court justices


Section 125

Where parliament shou,d be