States and Territories
Australia is made up of six states and two territories. Each state and territory has its own parliament, flag and floral emblem. Australia became a federated nation after the union of the six colonies on 1 January 1901. Bound by one parliament, one constitution and one flag, Australia celebrated its Centenary of Federation in 2001.
The map of Australia shows the six states and two territories
Various Aboriginal groups had been living undisturbed all across Australia for thousands of years before the British arrived to colonize it. On January 18, 1788 a British fleet of 12 ships landed at Botany bay on the eastern coast of Australia, the purpose of the expedition was to start a colony which would double as a prison for Britain's worst criminal offenders. The ships were carrying 1530 people, 736 of which were convicts. Botany bay turned out to be a bad choice and in less than a month the colony relocated a few miles up the coastline to Port Jackson. The colonists found Port Jackson to be a huge improvement and renamed it Sydney, after Lord Sydney the British home secretary. Sydney's harbor is still considered to be one of the best natural harbors in the world.
Captain James Cook set the colonization of Australia into motion by exploring and mapping the fertile eastern coast of Australia, but he was not the first to visit Australia. There is evidence suggesting Aborigines in northern Australia maintained trade with some of the Indonesian islands closest to the coast. Chinese and Arab's may have had contact with the Aborigines in the 15th century. The British were the one's who first placed a permanent non-indigenous settlement on Australia. There was trouble between the Aborigines and the British from the beginning when the Aborigines local to Botany bay complained because the the British were cutting down all the trees. Eventually as more of the convicts were released and couldn't afford to sail back to England, Sydney became a real colony, and Australia was on to becoming mostly British.
Captain James Cook
For more than 50,000 thousand years, Australia's Aboriginal people have lived and thrived in Australia's unique and challenging natural environment. Australia's rich vegetation and native wildlife helped them establish their presence on the land. Today it is believed the Aboriginals are the world's oldest civilisation. They have been suppressed in the same way as the Indians. Today they fight for their language and their culture. Some means the Aboriginal’s are the most intelligent people living on this earth today. They can find water in the desert, food where no one else can find it. They have a universal wisdom that now one can bee compared with (maybe the Indians). The Europeans have suppressed the aboriginal population again and again. I hope we will learn to see how unique they are before it’s too late.
The Australian system of government has its beginnings in two great democratic traditions. Following British settlement in 1788, the Westminster model was used as the basis of government in the six separate colonies established across the continent in the 19th century. When those colonies met to discuss the formation of a national government in 1890 they opted for a relationship between the national and state governments similar to that of the United States. At the same time they opted to retain the Westminster model as the basis for the legislature, the executive government and the judiciary at the national and state level. The American tradition is expressed through a written constitution defining the powers of the national government. Australia was declared a federation in 1901 with the concurrence of the British Parliament, and now has a Federal Government, six State Governments and two Territories which are largely self-governing.
The Federal Government And Parliament
The form of government at the national level corresponds largely with the British democratic tradition. The federal legislature consists of a House of Representatives of 147 members representing individual electorates in all States and Territories and elected on a preferential voting system, and a Senate consisting of 12 representatives from each State and two from each Territory elected through proportional representation. (http://www.about-australia.com/gov.htm)