Introducing Australia's newest capital city.
Can you list the States of Australia and their capital cities?
In Australia we DO NOT vote directly for our Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the Leader of the political party that gets a majority in the House of Representatives (Lower House) vote. This can be a negative as shown in recent times when the political party with the majority changes its leader.
Surprisingly, while Australia is an Independent nation we are still connected to our British heritage through the role of the Governor General who represents the British Crown (Monarchy). This was made very evident when in 1975 and Australian Prime Minister (Gough Whitlam) was dismissed by the Governor General, Sir John Kerr. Many Australians want us to become a Republic and cut all ties to the Monarchy. A Referendum in 1999 failed to achieve this.
What is your opinion?
Gough Whitlam. Australian Prime Minister 1972 - 5
Cooeee! We are one of the world's youngest and most modern democracies. Yet, our political evolution reaches way back to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Our democracy evolved over many decades. Australia, unlike the USA and other democracies never experienced civil strife like the French Revolution or the American War of Independence. We did have some small uprisings like the Eureka Rebellion but our path to our democracy was mainly debate and gradual change.
Australians do quite a lot of voting. We have 3 levels of government. Each level is elected for a 3 or 4 year period.
- Local Government, which covers the closest suburb or region around where we live. Local government is responsible for community and the services it needs.
- State Government, which is centered around the state capital city. It is responsible for services that cover the state, like education.
- Federal (Commonwealth) Government, that covers a wide range of needs that effect the whole nation like defense and immigration.
Initially Australia was a colony of Britain. The Governor (appointed by the British Government) was sole ruler over Australia. Governors ruled from Sydney (the main city for a long time.) The region of New South Wales became the first region and covered most of eastern Australia (1788 - 1850). As more people came to Australia, new districts formed. The Port Phillip district for example became a self governing state in 1851. As populations and wealth grew in other regions they established self governance to form the 8 states and territories of Australia.
In Australia, governments are formed by the political party/group that secures the most electorates (often called seats) in the Lower House of Representatives. This applies to both State and Federal elections.
Our system is designed to elect the most preferred candidate, not the most popular. See video below.
Milestones in Australia's Political Journey. The list below is our top three events, we are sure there are many more.
Well it wasn't in the same league as the French or American Rebellion centuries earlier. In 1854 miners on the Ballarat goldfields openly defied police and British soldiers for imposing unreasonable fees and laws on the miners. They built a stockade and raised a flag (Southern Cross) to assert their rights and independence. Today the same flag is raised when people protest for various issues.
In 1894 South Australia State government gave women the right to vote (often called suffrage). When the new Federal Government was formed the same right was afforded to women. Australia was the second nation in the world to recognize women's right to vote (New Zealand was first in 1893).
First Australians not given the right to vote.
The first Australians were denied the right to vote until 1962 when the Federal Government passed laws recognizing them as citizens. During the 1950's many indigenous Australians undertook civil rights protests and marches to bring the injustice to the attention of voting Australians. Today, the First Australians continue to request a better voice in government. What is your opinion?
Australia has 5 major political parties that voters focus on. In recent times there have been more Independent (not connected to a political party) candidates on offer. As voting is compulsory once you turn 18, it is your responsibility to think carefully about who you vote for and the issues that matter most to you.
- The major political parties are: Aust. Labor Party, Australian Liberal Party, Australian Greens Party, One Nation, and Australian National Party.
- Do some quick researching to select a political party or, and Independent candidate
- Your choice could be from Local, State or Federal levels.
- What policy, promise or issue caught your attention?
- Pretend you have been asked to make a poster promoting your choice. Alternatively, you could imagine yourself as a candidate.
- Design a poster (often called a placard) encouraging people to vote in a certain way.
- Your poster can be digital or real.
- Covered all the content in this topic
- Chosen, researched and composed a voting placard.
- Displayed or printed the poster/placard for display
- Created a new slide in my Cooee Portfolio and inserted the poster or a photo file of my placard.