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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Government >> Territory government


The Commonwealth Government assumed control of both the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory in 1911. The Northern Territory (since 1978) and the Australian Capital Territory (since 1989) are self-governing territories with powers almost matching those of the states. The Northern Territory has been working towards full statehood, though a referendum on the question was rejected by Northern Territory voters in 1998. Norfolk Island was accepted into the Commonwealth as an Australian territory in 1914. The Norfolk Island Act 1979 (Cwlth) grants a considerable degree of self-government to that territory.

The Northern Territory and Norfolk Island both have an administrator of the territory, appointed by the Governor-General (table 4.6). The Australian Capital Territory has neither administrator nor governor.

4.6 ADMINISTRATORS - December 2009

Northern Territory The Hon. Thomas Pauling AO QC
Norfolk Island The Hon. Owen Walsh (acting)

Source: Library of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Each territory has an elected Legislative Assembly, with a wide range of powers, with a government headed by a chief minister (table 4.7). The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have a formally recognised opposition. Norfolk Island’s Legislative Assembly does not possess a formal opposition.

4.7 CHIEF MINISTERS - December 2009

Northern Territory The Hon. P Henderson MLA (ALP)
Australian Capital Territory The Hon. J Stanhope MLA (ALP)
Norfolk Island The Hon. A Nobbs MLA

Source: Library of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Jervis Bay Territory, and the external territories of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, Coral Sea Islands, and Ashmore and Cartier Islands, make up the non-self governing territories of Australia.

The resident communities in each of Jervis Bay Territory, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island are provided with an extensive range of government services. Each of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island has an elected local government, and residents may vote in Commonwealth parliamentary elections in the electorate of Lingiari (Northern Territory). Residents of Jervis Bay Territory are enrolled in the Commonwealth electorate of Fraser (Australian Capital Territory).

Australia's activities in its Antarctic Territory are governed by the Antarctic Treaty (1959) (see the article
Australia and Antarctica in Year Book Australia 2007). Under this agreement the nations active in Antarctica consult on the uses of the continent, with a commitment that it should not become 'the scene or object of international discord'.

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