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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Australia: International Team Project

Government Structure

The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901. Australia is a federation that is both a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. The Australian government consists of three arms: Parliament (legislature), Australian Government (executive), and the judiciary. 

The Commonwealth of Australia consists of the Australian continent (mainland), Tasmania, and other islands. Australia has six states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. Additionally, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are two Australian territories that have a limited right of self-government and thus are often treated like states. 

National Language

The national language for Australia is English, which makes it easier for the U.S. legal researcher to find Australian legal materials. However, keep in mind spelling variations between Australian English and American English when conducting keyword searches for materials:

American English Australian English Examples
-er -re center, centre
-or -our labor, labour
- ize -ise organize, organise (also: organization, organisation)
-og -ogue catalog, catalogue
-led -lled canceled, cancelled

Country Profiles

Country profiles are helpful sources to familiarize yourself with the culture, economy, and political system of another country.