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    THE DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY: LEVELLING THE DISCUSSION FIELD - (1) BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

     

     photo DISCUSSION

     

     

     PHILOSOPHY 1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We have explained our motive and reasoning for this apparent departure from our normal purposes and aspirations.

    However......we realise that it is probable that some individuals who wish to participate in this discussion, will fully understand the political scenario in Australia and how government works, whereas others may not have acquired this knowledge.

    So, in order to level the discussion a bit, here are some brief notes culled out of the internet.
    Anyone who has further comment, please make it.


     flag australia           

     

    HOW IS THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA GOVERNED AT PRESENT?

    Australia is described as a federation, a constitutional monarchy, and a parliamentary or representative democracy.

    This means that, although The Monarch, or Sovereign, (at present the Queen Elizabeth the Second), is Head of State, the ability to make and pass legislation is the responsibility of an elected Parliament.

    The Queen resides in the United Kingdom and is represented in Australia by a Governor-General. (See Note1 below)

    Australia is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations; generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire.

    The actual government of Australia is by a Ministry  which is headed by the Prime Minister.

    In this political system, at times of elections, eligible people vote for candidates to carry out the business of governing on their behalf, i.e. in theory as their “Representatives”. (See Note 2 below) 


    The Australian people are governed by both the federal government and the state and territory governments

    The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia is made up of the group of federal democratic bodies with administrative authority over Australia.

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF AUSTRALIA
    The Federal government is mandated with specific areas of governance by the Constitution of Australia. These areas are defence, foreign matters, taxation, and postal and telecommunication services.
    The Federal government is comprised of the three arms of government, namely Legislature, Judiciary and Executive.

    The Legislature:
    The legislature debates and passes (authorises) legislation, (laws); participates in debates on matters concerning public policy and approves or disapproves government’s proposals on taxation and expenditure.

    The Legislature Consists of:
    The Senate:
    Senators are elected on a different basis to Members of the House of Representatives. ... Each State or Territory votes as one electorate.
    Twelve Senators are chosen for each State and two Senators for each of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
    This equals 76 senators, each currently paid $203,030 per annum. Which represents fifteen and a half million dollars per year, plus expenses...say sixteen million dollars.

    House of Representatives:
    Currently consists of 151 members, elected by and “representing” single member districts known as electoral divisions (commonly referred to as "electorates" or "seats").
    The annual cost of this part of the legislation is around thirty-three million dollars, making a total of approximately 50 million dollars, to which must be added the cost of the public service, and the infrastructure of Canberra.

    The Federal Senate and House of representatives meet in Canberra at the Parliament House.
    The annual cost of legislation in Australia is running at around 6.5 billion dollars.

    The Judiciary:

    The High Court and Federal Courts make up the federal judicature.

    The High Court is mandated to interpret the Constitution, resolve legal disputes between the House of Representatives and Senate and to listen to Appeals from lower courts.

     The Executive:

    Is in charge of policy making.

    Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet    (See Note 3 below)

    The Prime Minister leads the party with the majority members in the government.

    The Prime Minister appoints Ministers, who take care of their assigned departments (Sometimes referred to as “Portfolios”).

    States Government Of Australia

                                                  

    The Commonwealth of Australia has six states, namely :

    flag nsw        flag qld      flag s       flag tas        flag vic         flag wa

     New South Wales    Queensland             South Australia         Tasmania                     Victoria                       Western Australia

    Each of these states has their own constitution, which provides for the legislature, judiciary, and executive divisions.

    Each state government self-governs on matters not controlled by the federal government and is headed by the Premier.

    The governmental system of each State mirrors the governmental systems of the Federal government;  the costs of MPs in NSW for example, are around 16 million dollars per year.

     Territory Government Of Australia

    Territories are regions not claimed by any of the states. Three territories have acquired a limited right to self-governance from the federal government.

                            flag act                      flag nt               flag norfolk

    These territories are: 

                    Australian Capital Territory,         Northern Territory,              Norfolk Island.

     Other territories are governed by the Commonwealth Law.

     The Australian Government, through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, administers Christmas Island, Jervis Bay Territory, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Australian Antarctic Territory, and Territory of Heard Island and Mcdonald Islands

     

     flag christmas           flag cocos             flag jervis

    Christmas Islands        Cocos Islands          Jervis Bay Territory

    Torres traits Islanders are part of Queensland.

    Both  Aboriginal people andTorres Straits Islanders have flags and both are legally accepted as part of Australian custom.

          flag abor                                              flag torres

      

    Local Governments:

    Local Governments or Local Council operate under the state or territory governments. The local government oversees numerous concerns such as waste collection and management, public recreation facilities, community safety, community health services, town planning, and maintenance of physical infrastructure.

    There are 537 councils Australia-wide. Of these, around 60% to 70% are regional or rural councils. Local government employs 187,600 people which is nearly 10% of the total public sector (as at June 2018).

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    Note 1:

    The Governor General

    flag gov general 1

    1. Is appointed by the Queen, acting upon advice from the Prime Minister.

      The Governor-General is mandated with numerous head-of-state duties under the Constitution,mostly acting upon advice from the Prime Minister :

    2. Commander-in-Chief of the country’s defence forces.

    3. Gives assent to laws passed by Parliament;

    4. Appoints high commissioners, ambassadors, federal judges, and ministers; 

    5. Issues writs for elections; 

    6. Sets up royal commissions of inquiry;

    7. Awards Australian honours;

    8. Opens Parliament and welcomes visiting the head of states.

    9. While the Governor-General is nominal presiding officer, she or he almost never attends Executive Council (cabinet) meetings.

    The Governor-General is bound by convention to follow the advice of the Executive Council on almost all occasions, giving the cabinet de facto executive power. The Governor-General mainly acts on advice from ministers, but he may forego this advice to utilise his/her reserve powers.

    (Learn more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor-General_of_Australia

    These powers may include dismissing the Prime Minister in the event of an unlawful act, or in the event of Parliament’s loss of confidence, appointing the Prime Minister, refusal to dissolve the House of Representatives against the advice of the Prime Minister.

    (The incumbent Governor General is Sir Peter Cosgrove who took office on March 28, 2014.)

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    NOTE 2.

    flag aec logo

    Voters Allocation process for the House of Representatives

    The main elements of the operation of preferential voting for single-member House of Representatives divisions are as follows:

     Voters are required to place the number "1" against their first choice of candidate, known as the "first preference" or "primary vote".

     Voters are then required to place the numbers "2", "3", etc., against all of the other candidates listed on the ballot paper, in order of preference. (Every candidate must be numbered, otherwise the vote becomes "informal" (spoiled) and does not count.)

     Prior to counting, each ballot paper is examined to ensure that it is validly filled in (and not invalidated on other grounds).

     The number "1" or first preference votes are counted first. If no candidate secures an absolute majority (more than half) of first preference votes, then the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded from the count.

     The votes for the eliminated candidate (i.e. from the ballots that placed the eliminated candidate first) are re-allocated to the remaining candidates according to the number "2" or "second preference" votes.

     If no candidate has yet secured an absolute majority of the vote, then the next candidate with the fewest primary votes is eliminated. This preference allocation is repeated until there is a candidate with an absolute majority.

    Where a second (or subsequent) preference is expressed for a candidate who has already been eliminated, the voter's third or subsequent preferences are used.

    Following the full allocation of preferences, it is possible to derive a two-party-preferred figure, where the votes have been allocated between the two main candidates in the election. In Australia, this is usually between the candidates from the Coalition parties and the Australian Labor Party.

    In Australia, voting is compulsory for all registered voters, subject to penalties for non-compliance.

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    NOTE 3:

    The Cabinet:

    Appointed ministers meet in a council known as Cabinet.

    Cabinet meetings are strictly private and occur once a week where vital issues are discussed and policy formulated. The cabinet is not recognised in the Constitution as a legal entity; it exists solely by convention.

    Its decisions do not in and of themselves have legal force. However, it serves as the practical expression of the Federal Executive Council, which is Australia's highest formal governmental body.

    In practice, the Federal Executive Council meets solely to endorse and give legal force to decisions already made by the Cabinet.

    All members of the Cabinet are members of the Executive Council.

     A senior member of the Cabinet holds the office of Vice-President of the Executive Council and acts as presiding officer of the Executive Council in the absence of the Governor-General.

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    NOTE 4:

    Behind all the elected members of Federal, State and Territory and Local governments, are the career Public Service personnel, who assist in the formulation of Government policies.  For the purposes of this discussion, this description does not include the various services operated by the government – for example the health services and so on.

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    NOTE 5:

    There are copious notes on Google and Wiki as well as government websites for referral if required by participants in this discussion.

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     NOTE 6:

    The next post will be about political parties. Just to get out some background for our discussions.

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     MORE INFORMATION - POLITICAL PARTIES

    MORE INFORMATION - THE AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC SERVICE

     

    THE DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY: ...
    True Democracy does not appear to exist anywhere i...
     

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