|Australian states and territories|
|Category|| States (6)|
Internal territories (3)
External territories (7)
|Location||Commonwealth of Australia|
|Populations||0 (Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Heard and McDonald Islands) – 7,704,300 (NSW)|
|Areas||10 km2 (3.9 sq mi) (Coral Sea Islands) – 5,896,500 km2 (2,276,700 sq mi) (Australian Antarctic Territory)|
|Subdivisions|| Local government areas |
The states and territories are the first-level administrative divisions of the Commonwealth of Australia. They are the second level of government in Australia, located between the federal and local government tiers.
The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government.
Local government in Australia is the third tier of government in Australia administered by the states and territories, which in turn are beneath the federal tier. Local government is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia and two referenda in the 1970s and 1980s to alter the Constitution relating to local government were unsuccessful. Every state government recognises local government in their respective constitutions. Unlike Canada or the United States, there is only one level of local government in each state, with no distinction such as cities and counties.
The country comprises six states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. They retain a degree of sovereignty, being the successors of the previous Australian colonies. The states each have their own parliaments, able to legislate over certain residual and concurrent power areas.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's most densely populated state and its second-most populous state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Geographically the smallest state on the Australian mainland, Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.
Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland. The state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi).
Two of the three internal territories, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), function in reality as states themselves. The ACT and Northern Territory each possess their own level of self-government through their respective legislative assemblies, but instead derive their power from the Commonwealth, theoretically revocable at any time. The third internal territory, the Jervis Bay Territory, is a territory in its own right and is the product of Australia's complex relationship with its capital city. Rather than having the same level of autonomy as the states and the two other internal territories, Jervis Bay instead has services provided by arrangement from New South Wales and the ACT.
The Northern Territory is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia. It shares borders with Western Australia to the west, South Australia to the south, and Queensland to the east. To the north, the territory looks out to the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria, including Western New Guinea and other Indonesian islands. The NT covers 1,349,129 square kilometres (520,902 sq mi), making it the third-largest Australian federal division, and the 11th-largest country subdivision in the world. It is sparsely populated, with a population of only 246,700, making it the least-populous of Australia's eight states and major territories, with fewer than half as many people as Tasmania.
The Australian Capital Territory is a federal territory of Australia, located in the south-east of the country and enclaved within the state of New South Wales. It contains Canberra, the capital city of Australia.
The Jervis Bay Territory is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was surrendered by the state of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1915 so the federal capital at Canberra would have access to the sea.
Australia also consists of seven external territories. These do not comprise the Australia proper, but are nevertheless under Australian sovereignty. Only three of the external territories have a permanent population, and as a result, they are all directly administered by the federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (or the Department of the Environment and Energy in the case of the Australian Antarctic Territory). Norfolk Island was partially self-governing, until this was revoked in 2015.
The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities is an Australian Public Service department of the Government of Australia charged with the responsibility for infrastructure and major projects, transport, local government, external territories administration, rural and regional development, population policy, and cities.
The Department of the Environment and Energy is an Australian government department.
The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is a part of Antarctica administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, an agency of the federal Department of the Environment and Energy. The territory's history dates to a claim on Enderby Land made by the United Kingdom in 1841, which was subsequently expanded and eventually transferred to Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation by area. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. As a result, only four other countries; New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and Norway recognise Australia's claim to sovereignty in Antarctica.
The term geographic Australia is used by the Australian government to describe the area covered by demographic statistics such as national population figures. This area comprises Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in addition to the six states and three mainland territories; Norfolk Island is the only territory with a permanent population that is not part of geographic Australia.
The Territory of Christmas Island is an Australian external territory comprising the island of the same name. Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean, around 350 kilometres (220 mi) south of Java and Sumatra and around 1,550 kilometres (960 mi) north-west of the closest point on the Australian mainland. It has an area of 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi).
The Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean, comprising a small archipelago approximately midway between Australia and Sri Lanka and closer to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is part of Southeast Asia and is in the Southern Hemisphere. The territory's dual name reflects that the islands have historically been known as either the Cocos Islands or the Keeling Islands.
| Administrative divisions|
|Flag||State/territory name||Abbrev||ISO||Postal||Type|| Capital |
(or largest settlement)
|New South Wales||NSW||AU-NSW||NSW||State||Sydney||7,704,300||800,628|
|Australian Capital Territory||ACT||AU-ACT||ACT||Territory||Canberra||397,397||2,280|
|Jervis Bay Territory||JBT||JBT||Territory||(Jervis Bay Village)||391||72|
|Ashmore and Cartier Islands||External||(Offshore anchorage)||0||199|
|Australian Antarctic Territory||AAT||AQ||External||Davis Station||120||5,896,500|
|Christmas Island||CX||External||Flying Fish Cove||2,072||135|
|Cocos (Keeling) Islands||CC||External||West Island/Pulu Panjang||596||14|
|Coral Sea Islands||External||(Willis Island)||4||10|
|Heard Island and McDonald Islands||HIMI||HM||External||(Atlas Cove)||0||372|
All states, (internal) territories and the external territory of Coral Sea Islands were part of Australia at federation and are constitutionally part of the Commonwealth. Northern Territory was part of South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay Territory were part of New South Wales, and Coral Sea Islands was part of Queensland. Ashmore and Cartier Islands was accepted by Australia in 1934and annexed to Northern Territory prior to the adoption of the Statute of Westminster in 1942 and, as such, is deemed to form part of Australia proper.
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and modified versions of it are now domestic law within Australia and Canada; it has been repealed in New Zealand and implicitly in former Dominions that are no longer Commonwealth realms. Passed on 11 December 1931, the act, either immediately or upon ratification, effectively both established the legislative independence of the self-governing Dominions of the British Empire from the United Kingdom and bound them all to seek each other's approval for changes to monarchical titles and the common line of succession. It thus became a statutory embodiment of the principles of equality and common allegiance to the Crown set out in the Balfour Declaration of 1926. As the Statute removed nearly all of the British Parliament's authority to legislate for the Dominions, it had the effect of making the Dominions fully sovereign nations in their own right. It was a crucial step in the development of the Dominions as separate states.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands voted for integration in 1984. Together with Christmas Island, Commonwealth laws apply automatically to the territory unless expressly stated otherwiseand residents of both external territories are associated with Northern Territory for federal elections. They are, thus, constitutionally part of Australia.
Uninhabited Heard and McDonald Island is treated as constitutionally part of Australia by the central government.
The constitutional status of the Australian Antarctic Territory is unclear, with successive governments treating it either as a separate territory (as in the United Kingdom and Norway) or an integral part of the country (as in New Zealand and France). As of 2018 [update] , the present government appears to take the view that it is not constitutionally part of Australia.
Norfolk Island's status is controversial, with the present (as of 2018 [update] ) government taking measures to integrate the territory into Australia proper (including representation in parliament and compulsory voting). The Norfolk Islanders have not formally consented to this change in constitutional status and assert that they are not Australian.
Three territories established by the federal government under section 122 of the Constitution of Australia no longer exist:
Additionally, two other areas were administered by Australia as de facto external territories.
Both New Guinea and Nauru were originally German territories, but were occupied by Australian forces during World War I and subsequently made League of Nations mandates. They later became United Nations trust territories. The Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 placed the Territory of New Guinea in an "administrative union" with the Territory of Papua. The Territory of Papua and New Guinea was eventually given independence as Papua New Guinea in 1975. Nauru was granted independence in 1968.
The states originated as separate British colonies prior to Federation in 1901. The Colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as Lord Howe Island, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, and Van Diemen's Land, in addition to the area currently referred to as the state of New South Wales. During the 19th century, large areas were successively separated to form the Colony of Tasmania (initially established as a separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), the Colony of Western Australia (initially established as the smaller Swan River Colony in 1829), the Province of South Australia (1836), the Colony of New Zealand (1840),the Victoria Colony (1851) and the Colony of Queensland (1859). Upon Federation, the six colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania became the founding states of the new Commonwealth of Australia.
Legislative powers of the states are protected by the Australian constitution, section 107, and under the principle of federalism, Commonwealth legislation only applies to the states where permitted by the constitution. The territories, by contrast, are from a constitutional perspective directly subject to the Commonwealth Government; laws for territories are determined by the Australian Parliament.
Most of the territories are directly administered by the Commonwealth Government, while two (the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory) have some degree of self-government although less than that of the states. In the self-governing territories, the Australian Parliament retains the full power to legislate, and can override laws made by the territorial institutions, which it has done on rare occasions. For the purposes of Australian (and joint Australia-New Zealand) intergovernmental bodies, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are treated as if they were states.
Each state has a governor, appointed by the Queen, which by convention she does on the advice of the state Premier. The Administrator of the Northern Territory, by contrast, is appointed by the Governor-General. The Australian Capital Territory has neither a Governor nor an Administrator, but the Governor-General exercises some powers that in other jurisdictions are exercised by the Governor of a state or Administrator of a territory, such as the power to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.
Jervis Bay Territory is the only non-self-governing internal territory. Until 1989, it was administered as if it were a part of the ACT, although it has always been a separate territory. Under the terms of the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915,the laws of the ACT apply to the Jervis Bay Territory insofar as they are applicable and providing they are not inconsistent with an Ordinance. Although residents of the Jervis Bay Territory are generally subject to laws made by the ACT Legislative Assembly, they are not represented in the Assembly. They are represented in the Parliament of Australia as part of the Electoral Division of Fraser in the ACT and by the ACT's two Senators. In other respects, the territory is administered directly by the Federal Government through the Territories portfolio.
The external territory of Norfolk Island possessed a degree of self-government from 1979 until 2015.
Each state has a bicameral parliament except Queensland, which abolished its upper house in 1922. The lower house is called the Legislative Assembly, except in South Australia and Tasmania, where it is called the House of Assembly. Tasmania is the only state to use proportional representation for elections to its lower house; all others elect members from single member constituencies, using preferential voting. The upper house is called the Legislative Council and is generally elected from multi-member constituencies using proportional representation. The three self-governing territories, the ACT, the Northern Territory, and Norfolk Island, each have unicameral Legislative Assemblies.
The head of government of each state is called the premier, appointed by the state's Governor. In normal circumstances, the Governor will appoint as premier whoever leads the party or coalition which exercises control of the lower house (in the case of Queensland, the only house) of the state Parliament. However, in times of constitutional crisis, the Governor can appoint someone else as Premier. The head of government of the self-governing internal territories is called the chief minister. The Northern Territory's chief minister, in normal circumstances whoever controls the Legislative Assembly, is appointed by the administrator.
|Entity||Type of entity||Tie to the Queen||Domestic administrator||Head of Government||Upper House of Parliament||Lower House of Parliament||Member of Parliament|
|Upper house||Lower house|
|Commonwealth of Australia||Federal government||Direct||Governor-General||Prime Minister||Senate||House of Representatives||Senator||MP|
|South Australia||Federated state||Direct (established by the Australia Act 1986 )||Governor||Premier||Legislative Council||House of Assembly||MLC||MHA|
|New South Wales||Legislative Assembly||MP|
|Queensland||N/A (abolished 1922)||N/A||MP|
|Australian Capital Territory||Self-governing territory||Indirect (through Governor-General acting as "administrator")||Assembly and Chief minister||Chief minister||N/A||MLA|
|Northern Territory||Indirect (through Governor-General)||Administrator|
|Christmas Island||External territory||Mayor/shire president||Shire Council||Councillor|
|Cocos (Keeling) Islands|
|Norfolk Island||Regional Council|
|Governor of New South Wales||His Excellency David Hurley||2 October 2014|
|Governor of Queensland||His Excellency Paul de Jersey||29 July 2014|
|Governor of South Australia||His Excellency Hieu Van Le||1 September 2014|
|Governor of Tasmania||Her Excellency Kate Warner||10 December 2014|
|Governor of Victoria||Her Excellency Linda Dessau||1 July 2015|
|Governor of Western Australia||His Excellency Kim Beazley||1 May 2018|
|Administrator of the Northern Territory||Her Honour Vicki O'Halloran||31 October 2017|
|Administrator of Norfolk Island||His Honour Eric Hutchinson||1 April 2017|
| Administrator of Australian Indian Ocean Territories |
(Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands)
|Her Honour Natasha Griggs||5 October 2017|
|Premier of New South Wales||Gladys Berejiklian MP||Liberal||23 January 2017|
|Premier of Queensland||Annastacia Palaszczuk MP||Labor||14 February 2015|
|Premier of South Australia||Steven Marshall MHA||Liberal||19 March 2018|
|Premier of Tasmania||Will Hodgman MP||Liberal||31 March 2014|
|Premier of Victoria||Daniel Andrews MP||Labor||4 December 2014|
|Premier of Western Australia||Mark McGowan MLA||Labor||17 March 2017|
|Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory||Andrew Barr MLA||Labor||11 December 2014|
|Chief Minister of the Northern Territory||Michael Gunner MLA||Labor||31 August 2016|
|Mayor of Norfolk Island Council||Councillor Robin Adams||6 July 2016|
| Presidents of Australian Indian Ocean Territories:|
Councillor Foo Kee Heng
18 October 2011
|State / territory||Abbreviation||Land area||Population density||Notes|
|km2||sq mi||Rank||Number||Rank||/km2||/sq mi||Rank||%||Rank|
Distance in kilometres from the corresponding city on the X-Y axis.
|State/territory||Abbrev.||Call signs||Postal||Telephone numbers in Australia||Time zone|
|Australian Capital Territory||ACT||1xx(x)||xx(x)Cn||VK1xx||ACT||02nn, 26nn, 29nn||+61 2 62xx xxxx|
+61 2 61xx xxxx
|New South Wales||NSW||2xx(x)||xx(x)Nn||VK2xx||NSW||1nnn, 2nnn||+61 2 xxxx xxxx||+10 (+9 1⁄2)||+11|
|Victoria||Vic||3xx(x)||xx(x)Vn||VK3xx||VIC||3nnn, 8nnn||+61 3 xxxx xxxx||+10||+11|
|Queensland||Qld||4xx(x)||xx(x)Qn||VK4xx||QLD||4nnn, 9nnn||+61 7 xxxx xxxx||+10|
|South Australia||SA||5xx(x)||xx(x)Sn||VK5xx||SA||5nnn||+61 8 8xxx xxxx|
+61 8 7xxx xxxx
|+9 1⁄2||+10 1⁄2|
|Western Australia||WA||6xx(x)||xx(x)Wn||VK6xx||WA||6nnn||+61 8 9xxx xxxx|
+61 8 6xxx xxxx
|Tasmania||Tas||7xx(x)||xx(x)Tn||VK7xx||TAS||7nnn||+61 3 6xxx xxxx||+10||+11|
|Northern Territory||NT||8xx(x)||xx(x)Dn||VK8xx||NT||08nn||+61 8 89xx xxxx||+9 1⁄2|
|Norfolk Island||2xx(x)||xx(x)Nn||VK2xx||NSW||2899||+672 3 xx xxx||+11|
|Christmas Island||6xx(x)||xx(x)Wn||VK9xx||WA||6798||+61 8 9164 xxxx||+7|
|Cocos Island||6xx(x)||xx(x)Wn||VK9xx||WA||6799||+61 8 9162 xxxx||+6 1⁄2|
|Australian Antarctic Territory||AAT||none||VK0xx||TAS||+672 1||+6 to +8|
This is an overview of the postage stamps and postal history of Australia.
The title Administrator of the Government (Administrator) has several uses in Australia.
The Parliaments of the Australian states and territories are legislative bodies within the federal framework of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Territory of Papua comprised the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea from 1883 to 1975. In 1883, the Government of Queensland annexed this territory for the British Empire. The United Kingdom Government refused to ratify the annexation but in 1884 a Protectorate was proclaimed over the territory, then called "British New Guinea". There is a certain ambiguity about the exact date on which the entire territory was annexed by the British. The Papua Act 1905 recites that this happened "on or about" 4 September 1888. On 18 March 1902, the Territory was placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia. Resolutions of acceptance were passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, who accepted the territory under the name of Papua.
In Australia, electoral districts for the Australian House of Representatives are called divisions or more commonly referred to as electorates or seats. There are currently 150 single-member electorates for the Australian House of Representatives.
The Territory of New Guinea was an Australian administered territory on the island of New Guinea from 1920 until 1975. In 1949, the Territory and the Territory of Papua were established in an administrative union by the name of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. That administrative union was renamed as Papua New Guinea in 1971. Notwithstanding that it was part of an administrative union, the Territory of New Guinea at all times retained a distinct legal status and identity until the advent of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
The Government House is the name given to some of the residences of Governors-General, Governors and Lieutenant-Governors in the Commonwealth and the British Empire. It serves as the venue for the Governor's official business, as well as the many receptions and functions hosted by the occupant. Sometimes, "Government House" is used as a metonym for the Governor or his office.
An Executive Council in Commonwealth constitutional practice based on the Westminster system is a constitutional organ which exercises executive power and (notionally) advises the governor or governor-general. Executive Councils often make decisions via Orders in Council.
The Commonwealth of Australia was formed on 1 January 1901, when the six British colonies of Australia were merged to form a single commonwealth within the British Empire. Apart from Western Australia, all of the founding area of the country was originally part of the Colony of New South Wales, founded in 1787. Since federation, the only changes to the borders have been the creation, acquisition, or independence of territories. Two countries became independent from Australia in the mid-20th century: Nauru, originally mandated to the country by the League of Nations; and Papua New Guinea, a combination of an earlier British protectorate and a League of Nations mandate.
The Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, is a local government area which manages local affairs on the Australian external territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The island is grouped with Western Australia but is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and an Administrator.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Australia:
There are six monarchies in Oceania; that is: self-governing sovereign states in Oceania where supreme power resides with an individual hereditary head, who is recognised as the head of state. Each is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the sovereign inherits his or her office, usually keeps it until death or abdication, and is bound by laws and customs in the exercise of their powers. Five of these independent states share Queen Elizabeth II as their respective head of state, making them part of a global grouping known as the Commonwealth realms; in addition, all monarchies of Oceania are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The only sovereign monarchy in Oceania that does not share a monarch with another state is Tonga. Australia and New Zealand have dependencies within the region and outside it, although five non-sovereign constituent monarchs are recognized by New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and France.
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania vary, with it being defined in various ways, often geopolitically or geographically. In the geopolitical conception used by the United Nations, International Olympic Committee, and many atlases, the Oceanic region includes Australia and the nations of the Pacific from Papua New Guinea east, but not the Malay Archipelago or Indonesian New Guinea. The term is sometimes used more specifically to denote Australasia as a geographic continent, or biogeographically as a synonym for either the Australasian ecozone or the Pacific ecozone.
The Department of Territories was an Australian government department that existed between May 1951 and February 1968.
Mainland Australia is the main land mass of the Commonwealth of Australia excluding Tasmania and other offshore islands and external territories. The land mass also constitutes the mainland of the Australian continent, and the term, along with continental Australia, can be used in a geographic sense to exclude surrounding continental islands. Generally, the term is applied to the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia, as well as the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, and Jervis Bay Territory.
Although the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the Australian Capital Territory, the laws of the ACT apply, insofar as they are applicable and, providing they are not inconsistent with an Ordinance, in the Territory by virtue of the 'Jervis Bay Acceptance Act 1915'