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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Government >> State government

Each state experienced a period of colonial self-government prior to the achievement of Federation. The fact of Australia having a federal system of government means that significant powers are held by the state and territory governments.

State governors

The governor is the representative of the Sovereign, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the relevant state premier. The governor exercises the executive power of his or her state on the advice of the premier. Other powers and functions are similar to the powers exercised at the Commonwealth level by the Governor-General.

In addition, governors have been invested with various statutory functions by state Constitutions and the Commonwealth Australia Act 1986, as well as under the Acts of the parliaments of the states. Governors may administer the prerogative of mercy by the reprieve or pardon of criminal offenders, and may remit fines and penalties due to the Crown in right of their state.

In the performance of his/her functions generally, the governor of a state acts on the advice of ministers.

The governor also has what are referred to as 'reserve powers'. These may be used without the advice of the premier, but are used only in times of political uncertainty.

The governors of the states at July 2002 are shown in table 2.9.


2.9 GOVERNORS OF THE STATES - July 2002

New South WalesHer Excellency the Professor Marie Bashir, AC
VictoriaJohn Landy, AC, MBE
QueenslandHis Excellency Major-General Peter Arnison, AO
Western AustraliaHis Excellency Lieutenant-General John Murray Sanderson, AC, AM
South AustraliaHer Excellency Mrs Marjorie Jackson Nelson, AC, MBE
TasmaniaHis Excellency the Honourable Sir Guy Green, AC, KBE

Source: Department of the Parliamentary Library.


State parliaments

Each state is governed by a ministry headed by a premier. The state Cabinet, chaired by the Premier, is the centre of political and administrative power in each state.

Each state has a formal Opposition, with the same role as at the Commonwealth level, headed by an opposition leader.

Tables 2.10 and 2.11 set out the state premiers and opposition leaders at July 2002.

Five of the six Australian states have a bicameral parliament. In Queensland there is a single house. The lower houses in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia are entitled Legislative Assembly. In South Australia and Tasmania the term is House of Assembly. The title of all upper houses is Legislative Council.

The members of the parliaments of each state are elected by the residents of that state using either the alternative vote (preferential voting) or the single transferable vote variant of proportional representation.

The state of the parties in each of the state and territory parliaments is set out in table 2.12.

The extent of state legislative powers is defined by the Commonwealth and state Constitutions, and includes education, police, public health, public transport, agriculture, roads and the overseeing of local government.


2.10 PREMIERS, States - July 2002

New South WalesThe Hon. RJ Carr, MP (ALP)
VictoriaThe Hon. SP Bracks, MP (ALP)
QueenslandThe Hon. P Beattie, MP (ALP)
Western AustraliaThe Hon. GI Gallop, MP (ALP)
South AustraliaThe Hon. M Rann, MP (ALP)
TasmaniaThe Hon. JA Bacon, MP (ALP)

Source: Department of the Parliamentary Library.



2.11 OPPOSITION LEADERS, States - July 2002

New South WalesJG Brogden, MP (LP)
VictoriaRKB Doyle, MP (LP)
QueenslandMJ Horan, MP (NP)
Western AustraliaThe Hon. CJ Barnett, MP (LP)
South AustraliaHon. RG Kerin, MP (LP)
TasmaniaMT Hidding, MP (LP)

Source: Department of the Parliamentary Library.



2.12 STATE OF THE PARTIES, States and territories - July 2002

Seats

NEW SOUTH WALES

Legislative Assembly
Australian Labor Party
55
Liberal Party
20
National Party
13
Independent
5
Total
93
Legislative Council
Australian Labor Party
16
Liberal Party
9
National Party
4
Christian Democratic Party
2
The Greens
2
Australian Democrats
1
One Nation Party
1
Others
7
Total
42

VICTORIA

Legislative Assembly
Australian Labor Party
44
Liberal Party
35
National Party
6
Independent
3
Total
88
Legislative Council
Liberal Party
24
Australian Labor Party
14
National Party
6
Total
44

QUEENSLAND

Legislative Assembly
Australian Labor Party
66
National Party
12
Liberal Party
3
One Nation Party
2
Independent
6
Total
89

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

House of Assembly
Australian Labor Party
23
Liberal Party
20
National Party
1
Independent
3
Total
47
Legislative Council
Liberal Party
9
Australian Labor Party
7
Australian Democrats
3
Independent
3
Total
22

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Legislative Assembly
Australian Labor Party
32
Liberal Party
16
National Party
5
Independent
4
Total
57
Legislative Council
Australian Labor Party
13
Liberal Party
12
The Greens
5
One Nation
3
National Party
1
Total
34

TASMANIA

House of Assembly
Australian Labor Party
14
Liberal Party
10
The Greens
1
Total
25
Legislative Council
Australian Labor Party
5
Independent
10
Total
15

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Legislative Assembly
Australian Labor Party
13
Country Liberal Party
10
Independent
2
Total
25

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

Legislative Assembly
Australian Labor Party
8
Liberal Party
7
Australian Democrats
1
The Greens
1
Total
17

Source: Department of the Parliamentary Library.


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