“How are decisions made in a democratic society?”
What is democracy? Democracy is generally a form of government in which all thepeople have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives.The people, either directly or indirectly, take part in governing.The word democracy comes from the Greek words demosmeaning ‘the people’ and kratos meaning ‘power’. So the word‘democracy’ means ‘people power’ – the right of people tomake decisions on how they are governed.
What is the structure of Australian’s system of Government?There are 3 levels of government:Local, State and Federal.
Local GovernmentWhat are their roles and responsibilities?There are over 560 councils across Australia. The elected members of local councils are usually called councillors while the chair of the council is usually called the mayor.These smaller legislative bodies make by-laws which relate to matters of local interest such as: local roads, parks and playgrounds, rubbish collection, library services, sporting fields, street signage and domestic animal regulation.
State GovernmentWhat are their roles and responsibilities?• Australia has six parliaments at the state level and two territory parliaments. State and territory parliaments are located in each of Australia’s eight capital cities:• Parliament of NSW located in Sydney• Parliament of VIC located in Melbourne• QLD Parliament located in Brisbane• Parliament of WA located in Perth• Parliament of SA located in Adelaide• Parliament of TAS located in Hobart• ACT Legislative Assembly located in Canberra (and separate to the federal Parliament)• NT Legislative Assembly located in Darwin.
State GovernmentState parliaments make laws that are enforcedwithin the state of origin.State laws generally relate to matters of stateinterest such as: schools and hospitals, roadsand railways, utilities such as electricity andwater supply, mining and agriculture.
Federal GovernmentWhat are their roles and responsibilities?• There is only one parliament at the national level. It is the Parliament of Australia, located in Canberra.• The parliament shall consist of the Queen, a Senate and House of Representatives’.• These law-making areas relate to matters of national interest such as: trade and commerce, postal, telephonic, foreign relations, taxation, quarantine, fisheries, currency, copyright, marriage, immigration, defence etc.
How are Australian laws made?In Australia, laws are made:• by politicians in Parliament• by judges making decisions about court cases.Parliament-made law overrules judge-madelaw if both apply to a case.
How does the Australian voting system work?In modern democracies citizens elect representatives to governon their behalf, and these representatives remain answerableto electors at periodic elections.An election is the process by which people vote to chooserepresentatives in parliament. Elections for the House ofRepresentatives and the Senate (the Australian Parliament) areheld at least every 3 years.Every Australian aged 18 years and over who is on the electoralroll must attend a polling booth (for the purpose of voting) inelections for representatives in the federal Parliament.
How does the Australian voting system support democracy?Voting systems safeguard our democratic principles.Voting is a vital link between citizen participation anddemocratic representation and provide themechanism for free and fair elections and politicalchange.Citizens can individually and collectively influencedecision making through voting.In Australia, the Commonwealth Parliament contains2 representative institutions at the federal level: theHouse of Representatives and the Senate.
What is a Parliament?A parliament consists of a group of electedrepresentatives and a person who represents theQueen. In the federal Parliament that person is theGovernor-General. In state parliaments that person is agovernor. Parliaments make the laws for a country or astate.The name parliament is derived from the French wordparlement meaning a talk, a discussion, a meeting (anassembly, a court) where people discuss matters.