Australia's system

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9/7/2021 10:40 AM

Hey Aussies! The Australia MXDN thread got me thinking. There was some trivial chirping about guns and education, and it made me realize that I know next to nothing about the country. (We are taught exactly zero about other countries here in the U.S. Hmmm. It's like they want us all to be stupid or something....)

Anyway, please educate me on your governmental system. I'd like to know some of the following things:
-Who "runs" the country? You have a Prime Minister, right? What does he/she have the power to do?
-How many "houses" of government do you have? Are there checks and balances of power?
-Who or what body issues currency?
-Who or what body decides to wage war, build bridges or mandate vaccines?
-How are laws enacted?
-How often do you hold elections? Are there term limits?
-Speaking of guns, who is authorized to own one? Why or why not?
-Speaking of education, where do you go to college? Is it state-funded?

I'd appreciate it if people with differing views did not turn this thread into a political shitshow. I'm hoping for factual answers and a civilized discussion with our allies down under.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

9/7/2021 4:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2021 10:21 PM

Hi Falcon,

Thanks for the questions and I would like to jump in as i think there are some big misconceptions about Australia on this forum, and hopefully the discussion can remain on track, factual and civil.

I will try to answer the questions as best I can however in Aus a lot of this stuff doesn't get the publicity i guess you can call it to that of the US, truthfully even here I hear more about how you guys enact laws etc through the news around US election time than our own system.

We do learn it all at school, however that was 20 or so years ago for me.

I am sure I will get some things wrong, so anyone, please step in to correct me

First of all, we generally adopted our form parliament from the UK's Westminster system.
We are still a part of the commonwealth, so technically the Queen is still our head of state, however I dare say before too long we will leave the commonwealth, we had a referendum in 99, and we chose to stay. But i think the latest polling shows that the majority now want to become a republic.
It does need to be said though that the UK does not really have any actual powers here, the queen is just a figurehead.

Who "runs" the country? You have a Prime Minister, right? What does he/she have the power to do?

Yes we have a Prime minister. One key difference to the US system is that we dont technically elect the Prime Minister. we elect the party (with a nominated PM candidate). therefore the party can dismiss the PM mid term. Historically this rarely happened up until about 10 years ago, and then we went through a strange period where the political parties often dumped unpopular PMs regularly. thankfully this has settled down due to internal party policies requiring larger majorities to dump a party head.
As far as power, they are the head of government, however require cabinet support to do most things.


How many "houses" of government do you have? Are there checks and balances of power?
He have 3 elements, The Crown ( which is a largely representative branch with little power) a House of representatives and a senate.
The house of representatives is made up of locally elected officials and the senate represents the states.

we also have a constitution, and the supreme court has powers to stop the government overreaching based on our constitution.

The house of representatives can vote for a "motion of no confidence" if it believes the government is failing in its duties, if successful the parliament is dissolved and an election is called. however given the government will always hold a majority in the house of reps, this is unlikely and would only happen if things went really wild

Who or what body issues currency?

Much like you guys, we have a reserve bank, They set the official interest rates, I believe also any quantitative easing measures etc.

Who or what body decides to wage war, build bridges or mandate vaccines?
This is a tricky one, and I would say it depends.
Typically the states are left to build bridges and infrastructure, however often they get federal funding.
With respect to going to war, the PM and his/her cabinet can make the decision. they do not need congress approval. (which i believe is the case in the US?)
With respect to mandating vaccines, that is a tough one. and one that will probably be challenged in the coming months/years.
My understanding is that neither state nor federal parliament would likely have the power to make vaccines completely mandatory, as this would effectively "discriminate" against those who have not been vaxxed.
However they are allowed to pass laws for specific scenarios in order to protect vulnerable people. i.e nurses etc may be required to get the vaccine in order to work in hospitals/aged care facilities.
from what I have read the private sector will find it easier to pass these requirements as they receive less scrutiny than government. kind of strange, and truthfully i don't know exactly how that works

How are laws enacted?
Laws have to be passed by a majority in both the senate and house of representatives

How often do you hold elections? Are there term limits?

An election must occur every 4 years maximum. unlike the US, the election is not on the same date. the party in power can call an election any time, so typically the happen every 3.5 years or so
there is no maximum as to how many terms a PM can serve. the longest in history was Robert Menzies from 1939-1941, and then returned from 1949-1966. In modern times John Howard served for 3 terms, just shy of 12 years up until 2007. It is pretty rare that any PM lasts more than 2 terms
The key difference with our elections compared to the US is the way we elect the government. we do not have the "winner takes all" electoral college
Each local area elects their representative and that gives the wining party one seat in the house of reps. if the state divided 10/9 for example, each party gets the respective 10 and 9 seats in the house, not 19 as per your system (how i understand it)
We also have a preference system when voting, which gets quite complicated, and in my opinion makes little sense

We have 2 major parties, the Liberal (which strangely is actually our conservative party) and the Labor party (our centre-left party)
plus several minor parties such as The Greens. In order to form government a party needs to get a majority in the house or representatives, this is made up of 151 seats. smaller parties and independents typically win a few seats, and therefore often in close elections the major parties will have to form a coalition with a minor party or independents in order to get a majority. if this is the case it can be a big win for the local areas with the power to form that majority.


-Speaking of guns, who is authorized to own one? Why or why not?
There is a bit of a misconception about gun laws in Australia, I am not saying they are not strict, as they are very strict. but who can get one is no overly strict, if that makes any sense
Outside of law enforcement any farmer can get a gun license, as can any hunter/sports shooter. however they need to go through some checks, and need to have access to land to hunt etc. so typically a letter from a farmer etc.
I had a gun license 15 or so years ago, so laws may have changed, but at that time you also needed to do a brief gun education course and get a police check.
if you want a pistol you need to be a member of a shooting club for a period of time, and then get a special license.
honestly, the stricter parts of our laws are that you must always keep the gun in gun safe, and separate to the ammunition. this is actively checked, and the penalties are very steep for breaching the rules.
If you are found in procession of a gun without the necessary license, it is a really big deal. and selling guns etc illegally is a huge deal.
And as is well known, semi auto guns are very tightly controlled. so only very specific people have access to semi autos. I believe professional hunters etc. however to be honest I have never met anyone with the license for semi autos.

Speaking of education, where do you go to college? Is it state-funded?
Tertiary education for Australian citizens is subsidised by the state, but not free. I think most degrees cost between 4-12k per year. however nothing needs to be paid up front. there is a national student debt program called HECS. basically you dont need to pay upfront, but once you start earning over a certain amount the debt will be re-payed directly from your wages like tax, the loan is very little (or possibly 0% interest rate, I am not sure)

Hopefully that all makes sense, and I have probably got some stuff wrong.

I think the recent press about our strategy with Covid has created some confusion about our society/culture. however due to our geographical advantage, we were able to keep Covid out of Australia for almost all of last year, only one city had a significant lockdown, unfortunately Delta has kind of f**ked us in the last 3 months, and we tried to get back to 0 cases, which is not working. I think because we had so little transmission last year we were way behind the world in regards to vaccinations, and the government do not want to open up until we get to 70-80% vaccination rates

I dont want to get bogged down into a covid debate as it always turns into a shitshow. but that is a very brief explanation of why we are where we are, for better or worse.

Cheers,



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9/7/2021 4:29 PM

Awesome, thanks! So you guys are not so different from the USA, really.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

9/7/2021 5:51 PM

Falcon wrote:

Awesome, thanks! So you guys are not so different from the USA, really.

No, I dont think we are so different.
I have spent a fair bit of time in the US, and the overall culture is actually quite similar IMO. Of course some difference, but the fundamentals we are pretty ideologically aligned.

I think social media and 10 second news clips in recent times makes everything seem much more dramatic, and does not really reflect reality.

Cheers Falcon

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9/7/2021 7:03 PM

Scott Morrison is our prime minister and is from the liberal party we have more or less a two major party system. But I’m theory we are a democratic dictatorship. Voting is compulsory so we get to vote for the idiot we dislike the least. Once elected they can pretty much do as they please thus we are dictated even though they are public servants….
Bridges could be state federal or even local government but war would be the governing body that is in power at the time..
Law have to pass through Parlament and majority decides if it will pass.
We have 4 year terms but don’t have a 2 term policy you can be in until you are voted out. In recent years no prime minister has finish a term they have all been overturned and outed by there own party and been replaced..
We don’t really have collage as you do in the states we have 6 years of primary school then 6 years of high school you can leave I belobe at 15 if you want but they may have changed that. After you can go to taff is collage like. Lots just get a job others like my son start a trade apprenticeship.
We have then university for those that wish to study law, doctors and so forth will go down that path. You can government funding but it will accumulate as a debt that you will have to pay back once you earn money.
Guns are almost non existent since we had one mass shorting so they got band, it is very stringent who can get a license and how they must be stored. Murder and shortings are quite rare here.
All in all is a wicked place to live great beaches great outback mostly friendly people, and MX tracked everywhere.

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9/7/2021 9:36 PM

There a bit a bad bunch of people to live next door too

Starting to feel sorry for their rugby team tho wink

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9/7/2021 9:59 PM

scott_nz wrote:

There a bit a bad bunch of people to live next door too

Starting to feel sorry for their rugby team tho wink

Ah who cares about Rugby. usually i would have a crack back at you about cricket, but I cant say much there either these days.
We are still the best in the world at AFL......I mean nobody else plays....but that is beside the point

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9/7/2021 11:50 PM

I hope you do vote to become a Republic, I want a vote on it in the UK too 😂

I loved Australia when I went, although the heat in Brisbane was just horrific. Worse than anything I experienced in Africa. Great country.

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9/8/2021 8:29 AM

Great thread. Thanks for the info on Australia, always good to learn something new.

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9/8/2021 11:02 AM

scott_nz wrote:

There a bit a bad bunch of people to live next door too

Starting to feel sorry for their rugby team tho wink

MO 23 wrote:

Ah who cares about Rugby. usually i would have a crack back at you about cricket, but I cant say much there either these days. ...more

yes Afl, the only sport in the world you get a point for missing , wink

Go the crows

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9/8/2021 12:52 PM

Australia and Canada are very very similar in government and even politics. Probably because we both descended from being under the control of Mother England.

We also have many of the same issues with the First Nations/Aboriginal people.

I'd say Canada has better beer selection.

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The artist formerly known as "hamncheeze". Old MXer, now Superfan.

9/8/2021 12:59 PM

Bacon_n_Egg'r wrote:

Australia and Canada are very very similar in government and even politics. Probably because we both descended from being ...more

Sadly I agree with the beer comment haha

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9/8/2021 1:00 PM

scott_nz wrote:

There a bit a bad bunch of people to live next door too

Starting to feel sorry for their rugby team tho wink

MO 23 wrote:

Ah who cares about Rugby. usually i would have a crack back at you about cricket, but I cant say much there either these days. ...more

scott_nz wrote:

yes Afl, the only sport in the world you get a point for missing , wink

Go the crows

Jesus, a kiwi and a crows supporter.
That’s rough
😂

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9/8/2021 4:18 PM

Guys!! MO 23!! Well done. 99% perfectly said. (It's the High court in Australia that acts like the Supreme court in the US.)

I was over on the Australia MXDN thread and found myself way, way into "Non-Moto" territory, so I thought I would have a look here.

There's been a lot of opinions made about Australia lately, shown on this forum and elsewhere, that are so wrong. And it's typical of the opinion you might get if you take on board a view expressed by someone who wants to make a point and will use sleight of hand to do it.

Tucker Carlson presented a video from Australia showing police wrestling with protesters. He stated "In Australia the government has implemented total Lockdowns nation wide and imposed marshal law to enforce these lockdowns".

So wrong.

Firstly, the video showed interactions from one protest of about half a dozen that happened in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane since this all began. The capitols of the most populous states. The state police were enforcing the local rules re gathering in numbers and wearing masks etc. Obviously it got out of hand and became some bad optics. No-one was shot. No Federal army was involved. The numbers of protesters were in the hundreds not the thousands.

The camera can zoom into a crowd of ten to 100 people and make it look like a million-man march. The protest can go on for a few boring hours and the video can show a scuffle or three that lasted a minute. Ugly for sure, but not how things are.

It would be like an Australian forming an opinion of America based on video from the Jan 6 incident. Or forming an opinion on all policing in America based on an arrest where an apprehended person was harmed. The videos can be concerning - even scary. And maybe some of you guys ran for your guns and blockaded your windows when you saw the news. I doubt it.

These things happened and were real. They are not indicative of life here in this covid clusterf**k. While all that was going on, I was going out visiting customers throughout the day, going out for groceries, and walking around my local area getting take out drinks and not seeing any police let alone military. The only guy I saw in uniform was at a petrol station, filling up our cars.

I can't race my car, but guys I know from MX are out riding on weekends. On private property as all organised racing has been cancelled, locally. They probably are breaching some covid guidelines but no-one I know is scared of being arrested or even harassed.

In some parts, in some states there are no lockdowns and organised sport is going on. In Sydney, there are lots of people at the beach, going for walks, just not participating in events that draw a crowd.

Football is being played and televised. Accomodations have been made to allow the teams to live and train in a bubble, which is annoying to those who cannot participate in their sport.

The media wants to highlight division and take any issue and milk out of it whatever controversy they can. Polarisation = profits in the mainstream media model.

And there I am, making global statements. Accurate and inaccurate at the same time.

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9/9/2021 5:30 AM

Australia's government sucks just as bad as ours does. But the people are cool AF. Never met an Aussie I didn't like. Same for the Kiwis.

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9/9/2021 8:54 AM

"Polarisation = profits in the mainstream media model."

So true, and it will be the fall of western civilization if we aren't careful.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

9/9/2021 10:00 PM

Ok Falcon, here are some pics that sum up so much more than words do. Small differences in our cultures.

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9/10/2021 1:02 PM

felpro wrote:

Guys!! MO 23!! Well done. 99% perfectly said. (It's the High court in Australia that acts like the Supreme court in the US.)

...more

9 news Australia said over 3 thousand protesters... from over here, it looks like a shit show over there.

although... we seem to have our own version of shit show going on here, so....

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9/10/2021 2:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/10/2021 2:17 PM

felpro wrote:

Guys!! MO 23!! Well done. 99% perfectly said. (It's the High court in Australia that acts like the Supreme court in the US.)

...more

George Costanza wrote:

9 news Australia said over 3 thousand protesters... from over here, it looks like a shit show over there.

although... we seem ...more

The biggest protests have been in the thousands for sure, 3 thousand seems like a stretch to me, but I wasn’t there, so they are probably right.
But a lot have been around 100 or so also (I drove past one a while back and there was 80 or so tops).
Keep in mind Sydney has a population of over 5.3 million.

Whilst I really do think the majority of Australians support holding on for a bit longer until we have the vaccine rates, of course there always are differing views, ranging from total conspiracy theorist nutjobs who think this is the start of an NWO to those that understandably think this is just not worth the sacrifice, and everything in between.

I also must admit, whilst I am really sick of the lockdown, it’s only the social side of it that effects me, i am fucking bored on weekend, and miss interacting with friends and family beyond a walk around the park. But fortunately I can work from home. I think it’s worth holding off to limit those exposed before they have had a chance to get 2 vaccine shots.
No doubt it would be a much harder for those who are deeply impacted financially. So I fully understand my opinions come from a somewhat privileged place. However once we hit a reasonable vaccine target, and everybody has had a chance to get jabbed I firmly think we then have to let it rip and learn to live with this thing. And the government has stated that this will be the case. (Although Melbourne hasn’t really outlined the details much)

The final thing I would like to clear up about our situation is how limiting the lockdown is.
I am not saying it is not a hard/strict lockdown because it is absolutely that. However I think the media overseas (in the short snippets) make it sound like none of us in lockdown can work or leave the house. For most that is not true. Most still can work, for example construction/building sites etc are still working, they never stopped (however for a few of weeks did go down to a maximum capacity) most people. Retail employees can go to work, but people have to click and collect. Essential stores are still obviously open.
Hospitality tourism and gyms etc are obviously really hurting, and that is hard to see. They do get some government support, but no doubt it is not enough for some.
Our unemployment levels are a touch over 5% so in-line with what you guys currently have. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if ours ticks up a bit at the next report time.

Apologies for the long read, I would just like to convey a view from someone here in Aus, because truthfully I don’t think it’s as bad as many here (not aimed at anyone in particular) seem to think.
And again, plenty of people here don’t see things the same as me, this is just my long winded and insignificant viewpoint

Cheers gents

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9/10/2021 4:13 PM

MO23. Thanks for the insightful and informative "long read". I appreciate you doing your bit to inform our American friends on how things are.

When the media, especially the good guys, twist and spin things to suit their narrative, it brings into question everything that has ever been reported. It makes me query all historical texts, I am sure there was spin in 1642.

Seriously, I cannot trust anything. I really like Tucker Carlson but his spin on Australia was embellished to a level of fake news. Sure, a number of police officers wresting a girl to the ground is bad, it is the misrepresentation that kind of thing was going on all over Australia that is the fake part.

Marshall law too. Not happening. We call in the military to help when there's a flood or a cyclone or a pandemic. That does not equate to marshal law. You can use some video to support that claim though.

We must take all opinions with a grain of salt. Especially our own. We are fed what we are hungry for.

Mainstream media. Controversy = Cash. Polarisation = Profits.


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9/13/2021 11:54 AM

felpro wrote:

MO23. Thanks for the insightful and informative "long read". I appreciate you doing your bit to inform our American friends on ...more

"History is written by winners."


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Braaapin' aint easy.

9/13/2021 12:51 PM

Here may be a few of the subtle differences......!

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9/14/2021 1:06 AM

Falcon wrote:

"History is written by winners."


Unless you're a German general.

And also on the subject of Tucker Carson, fox news is fake news. They did it a few years ago when they said that the entire city of Birmingham in the UK was a Muslim sharia no go zone basically under ISIS control. They showed lovely videos of Warwick Castle and medieval Mill Street, the Georgian architecture of Leamington Spa and Shakespeares birth place in Stratford upon Avon and then cut to a Victorian housing estate in Birmingham which is a Muslim area. As someone from the area the entire thing was absolutely ludicrous beyond belief.

I genuinely can't believe that anyone takes a word they say seriously, especially when it comes to what's going in Australia.

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9/14/2021 3:01 AM

And it's not just Fox news. It's everything that has ever been written. It is the bias in the way something is recounted. it is your own biased filter in how you interpret what you read. What you choose to take on board and what you choose to ignore. It's what you gravitate towards when you search for info.

It's the historians from the 12th and14th century. Those guys that did the hieroglyphics. Lying bastards.

It's Maddow and Shapiro, Pakman and Knowles. Owens and Uygur. None of them approach things with balance consistently.

They take a position and twist the living shit out of whatever they can to bolster that position.

Some do that too well and way too often.

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9/14/2021 7:25 AM

The left leaning media outlets are way worse. Totally biased. You can’t believe a damn thing you see or hear on CNN or MSNBC.

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9/18/2021 11:14 PM

Cool thread…. We really aren’t that different. Every Aussie I’ve met is super cool. So what’s the difference in government on a local level between Melbourne area and Queensland? Are they polar opposites?

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Don't ever let facts get in the way of a great story

9/18/2021 11:47 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/19/2021 1:22 AM

hubbardmx50 wrote:

Cool thread…. We really aren’t that different. Every Aussie I’ve met is super cool. So what’s the difference in government on ...more

At a government level they are very similar, both states are currently led by our center left party.
However socially there is a bit of a difference.
Queenslanders call Melbournians hipster wankers, and Melbournians call Queenslanders bogans.
But all in jest, I think most Melbournians love Queensland, and most Queensland’s recognize that Melbourne is a cool city.

Worth noting also that Queensland is an absolutely massive state, with a reasonable sized city, prosperous farmland in some areas, tropical rainforest in the north and desert in the south west plus IMO some of the best beaches in the world.
So fair to say the state really has a broad group of people too.

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9/19/2021 12:54 AM

MO 23 wrote:

At a government level they are very similar, both states are currently led by our center left party.
However socially there is ...more

We call most Melbourne residents hipsters and qlders bogans as well over here as well

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9/19/2021 2:47 AM

Aussie Anti Fly System laughing

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Non Gratum Anus Rodentum

9/19/2021 3:03 AM

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Non Gratum Anus Rodentum