About government in Australia

Australia is a representative democracy in which eligible Australian residents vote for people to represent them and make decisions on their behalf.

There are three levels of government in Australia: federal, state (or territory) and local. The three tiers of government work together in various ways to govern and provide services to the community.

Federal government

  • The decision-making body of federal government is Federal Parliament and the leader of this tier of government is the Prime Minister.
  • Elections are generally held every three years.
  • Federal government responsibilities include: foreign affairs, social security, trade, immigration, currency, defence.
Australian flag

State Government

  • The decision-making body of state government is the State Parliament and the leader of this tier of government is the Premier.
  • Elections are held every four years in Western Australia.
  • State Government responsibilities include: justice, consumer affairs, health, education, public transport, main roads.
WA State Parliament

Local government in Western Australia

  • The decision-making body of local government is called the council.
  • Elections are held every two years and councillors are elected for four year terms.
  • Local governments are established by the state government to deliver services and facilities to communities.
  • The work of local government is varied and their functions can often depend on the needs of their community.
  • Local government responsibilities include: local roads, parks and sporting grounds, rubbish collection and local laws.
Local street

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Page reviewed 28 June 2019