Dr Donald Charrett
4.1 Outline of Australia’s legal environment
4.1.1 Constitutional structure
Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal system of government. The formal Head of State is the Queen of Australia, who is also the Queen of the United Kingdom and of 14 other Commonwealth realms. In practise, the Queen’s representatives, the Governor General (Commonwealth) and Governors (States), exercise her formal powers on a day-to-day basis. Nowadays, despite the formal constitutional structure, Australia effectively functions more like a republic than a monarchy. Since the Australia Act 1986 (the name given to two separate acts that eliminated the remaining associations between the laws and judiciary of Australia and their counterparts in the United Kingdom), the United Kingdom Parliament does not even have a theoretical legislative role to play in Australian affairs.
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