Government of Australia
The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government; the Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 as a result of an agreement among six self-governing British colonies, which became the six states. The terms of this contract are embodied in the Australian Constitution, drawn up at a Constitutional Convention and ratified by the people of the colonies at referendums; the Australian head of state is the Queen of Australia, represented by the Governor-General of Australia, with executive powers delegated by constitutional convention to the Australian head of government, the Prime Minister of Australia. The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia is divided into three branches: the executive branch, composed of the Federal Executive Council, presided by the Governor-General, which delegates powers to the Cabinet of Australia, led by the Prime Minister.
Separation of powers is implied by the structure of the Constitution, the three branches of government being set out in separate chapters. The Australian system of government combines elements of the Westminster and Washington systems with unique Australian characteristics, has been characterised as a "Washminster mutation". Section 1 of the Australian Constitution creates a democratic legislature, the bicameral Parliament of Australia which consists of the Queen of Australia, two houses of parliament, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Section 51 of the Constitution provides for the Commonwealth Government's legislative powers and allocates certain powers and responsibilities to the Commonwealth government. All remaining responsibilities are retained by the six States. Further, each State has its own constitution, so that Australia has seven sovereign Parliaments, none of which can encroach on the functions of any other; the High Court of Australia arbitrates on any disputes which arise between the Commonwealth and the States, or among the States, concerning their respective functions.
The Commonwealth Parliament can propose changes to the Constitution. To become effective, the proposals must be put to a referendum of all Australians of voting age, must receive a "double majority": a majority of all votes, a majority of votes in a majority of States; the Commonwealth Constitution provides that the States can agree to refer any of their powers to the Commonwealth. This may be achieved by way of an amendment to the Constitution via referendum. More powers may be transferred by passing other acts of legislation which authorise the transfer and such acts require the legislative agreement of all the state governments involved; this "transfer" legislation may have a "sunset clause", a legislative provision that nullifies the transfer of power after a specified period, at which point the original division of power is restored. In addition, Australia has several "territories", two of which are self-governing: the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory; these territories' legislatures, their Assemblies, exercise powers devolved to them by the Commonwealth.
Australian citizens in these territories are represented by members of both houses of the Commonwealth Parliament. The territory of Norfolk Island was self-governing from 1979 until 2016, although it was never represented as such in the Commonwealth Parliament; the other territories that are inhabited—Jervis Bay, Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands—have never been self-governing. The federal nature of the Commonwealth and the structure of the Parliament of Australia were the subject of protracted negotiations among the colonies during the drafting of the Constitution; the House of Representatives is elected on a basis that reflects the differing populations of the States. Thus New South Wales has 48 members, but the Senate is elected on a basis of equality among the States: all States elect 12 Senators, regardless of population. This was intended to allow the Senators of the smaller States to form a majority and thus be able to amend or reject bills originating in the House of Representatives.
The ACT and the NT each elect two Senators. The third level of government after Commonwealth and State/Territory is Local government, in the form of shires and cities; the Councils of these areas are composed of elected representatives serving part-time. Their powers are devolved to them by the Territory in which they are located. Government at the Commonwealth level and the State/Territory level is undertaken by three inter-connected arms of government: Legislature: The Commonwealth Parliament Executive: The Sovereign of Australia, whose executive power is exercisable by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and their Departments Judiciary: The High Court of Australia and subsidiary Federal courts. Separation of powers is the principle whereby the three arms of government undertake their activities separately from each other: the Legislature proposes laws in the form of Bills, provides a legislative framework for the operations of the other two a
Minister for Communications (Australia)
The Australian Minister for Communications has overall responsibility for broadcasting, the information and communications technology industry, the information economy, telecommunications within Australia. Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield served as Communications Minister from 21 September 2015 until 23 August 2018, following criticism of the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. On 28 August, he was reappointed to the post by Turnbull's successor Scott Morrison; the current Minister for Regional Communications is Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie, since 20 December 2017. In the Government of Australia, the ministers administer the portfolio through the Department of Communications and the Arts and a range of other government agencies. Portfolio agencies and bodies include: Australian Broadcasting Corporation Australian Communications and Media Authority Australian Postal Corporation Special Broadcasting Service Australian Classification Board NBN Co The minister responsible for telecommunications policy has had various titles.
From 1901 until December 1975 it was the Postmaster-General, who administered the portfolio through the Postmaster-General's Department. The following individuals have been appointed as Minister for Communications, or any of its precedent titles: Notes 1 Barnard served as part of a two-man ministry together with Gough Whitlam for fourteen days, until the full ministry was commissioned. 2 On 24 July 1987, the third Hawke ministry implemented a two-level ministerial structure, with distinctions drawn between senior and junior ministers. This arrangement has been continued by subsequent ministries. Junior ministers are shown in the table below; the following individuals have been appointed as Minister for Regional Communications, or any of its precedent titles: On 24 July 1987, the third Hawke Ministry implemented a two-level ministerial structure, with distinctions drawn between senior and junior ministers. This arrangement has been continued by subsequent ministries. Senior ministers are shown in the table above.
The following individuals have been appointed as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation, or any of its precedent titles: Department of Broadband and the Digital Economy Official website AUBroadband — Information about various broadband plans and availability of fibre optic broadband in Australia
Telstra Tower is a telecommunications tower and lookout, situated above the summit of Black Mountain in Australia's capital city of Canberra. It is named after Telstra Corporation. Rising 195.2 metres above the mountain summit, it is a landmark in Canberra and offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside from an indoor observation deck and two outdoor viewing platforms. In April 1970, the Postmaster General at the time commissioned the Commonwealth Department of Housing and Construction to carry out a feasibility study in relation to a tower on Black Mountain accommodating both communication services and facilities for visitors; the tower was to replace the microwave relay station on Red Hill and the television broadcast masts on Black Mountain. Design of the tower was the responsibility of the Department of Housing and Construction, however a conflict arose with the National Capital Development Commission which, at the time, had complete control over planning within the Australian Capital Territory.
During the approval process of the tower, protests arose on ecological grounds. Some people felt that the tower would dominate other aesthetic Canberra structures due to its location above Black Mountain and within a nature reserve. A case was brought before the High Court of Australia arguing that the Federal Government did not have the constitutional power to construct the tower; the decision was made in favour of the government and construction was able to commence. William Roy, at the time in charge of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s radio and television transmitters in Canberra, was employed to supervise the installation of technical equipment in the Tower and became its first Principal Technical Officer. Black Mountain Tower was opened on 15 May 1980 by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, it was named Telecom Tower, when the telecommunications company was rebranded in 1993, became Telstra Tower. Prior to the construction of the tower, CTC-TV had its studios located at the top of Black Mountain until new studios were constructed in Watson in 1974.
Located on the top were two guy-wired masts, one for CTC-TV and the other one for the local ABC TV station. These were demolished in 1980; the Alto Tower Restaurant, a revolving restaurant in the tower, closed on 14 February 2013. Telstra Tower provides important communication facilities for Canberra along with both indoor and outdoor observation decks, a café and a gift shop. There are three floors of business and radio communication facilities located between the 30.5 metre and 42.7 metre levels providing space for communication dishes and equipment for mobile services within the tower. The viewing platforms provide the surrounding city and countryside. Visitors to Telstra Tower can see the city unfold from the enclosed viewing gallery or from the two open viewing platforms. Besides the telecommunications facilities the tower includes a souvenir shop, a relaxing coffee lounge. Former facilities included Canberra's only revolving restaurant which rotated 360 degrees in 81 minutes which allowing diners to experience a changing view throughout their meal.
In the lower level of the Tower's entrance foyer, there was an exhibition "Making Connections" which traced the history of Australian telecommunications from the earliest days into the 21st century but this has since been removed. There is a theatre which provides a video, produced shortly after the tower opened, on the tower's design and construction. Telstra Tower has become one of the most symbolic landmarks in Canberra and a major tourist attraction with a total of over six million visitors. In 1989 the World Federation of Great Towers invited the tower to join such distinguished monuments as the CN Tower in Toronto, Blackpool Tower in England and the Empire State Building in New York City. Telstra Tower is one of the most visually imposing structures on the Canberra skyline, visible from many parts of Canberra and Queanbeyan. Media related to Black Mountain Tower at Wikimedia Commons Telstra Tower website Telstra Tower Black Mountain Panorama Gallery Telstra Tower at Structurae
Telstra Corporation Limited is Australia's largest telecommunications company which builds and operates telecommunications networks and markets voice, internet access, pay television and other products and services. Telstra has a long history in Australia, originating together with Australia Post as the Postmaster-General's Department. Telstra is now privatised and was undergoing a change program to become more customer focused under its previous CEO, David Thodey. Australian computer services were controlled by the Postmaster-General's Department, formed in 1901 as a result of Australian Federation. Prior to 1901, telecommunications were administered by each colony. On 1 July 1975, separate commissions were established by statute to replace the PMG. Responsibility for postal services was transferred to the Australian Postal Commission; the Australian Telecommunications Commission, trading as Telecom Australia, ran domestic telecommunication services. In 1989, the ATC introduced new frameworks.
In 1993, the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, a separate government body established in 1946, was merged with the Australian Telecommunications Corporation into the short-lived Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation which continued trading under the established identities of Telecom and OTC. The AOTC was renamed to Telstra Corporation Limited in 1993; the name "Telstra" is derived from the word Telecom Australia. The corporation traded under the "Telstra" brand internationally and "Telecom Australia" domestically until uniform branding of "Telstra" was introduced throughout the entire organisation in 1995. Telstra has faced competition since a number of smaller providers. Telstra once retained ownership of the fixed-line telephone network, but since the nationwide upgrade to the National Broadband Network, the Australian Government now has legal ownership of these lines since 2007, though Telstra has played a big part in this upgrade supplying resources to the gov on the new network.
Telstra has pay TV and data cable network Foxtel. Other companies offering fixed-line services must therefore deal with Telstra, except Optus, TransACT and a few others who have installed their own infrastructure; the Overseas Telecommunications Commission was established by an Act of Parliament in August 1946. It inherited facilities and resources from Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited and Cable & Wireless, was charged with responsibility for all international telecommunications services into and out of Australia. On 1 February 1992, it was merged with Australia's domestic telecommunications carrier, the Australian Telecommunications Corporation Limited, to create the Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation Limited; the new organisation underwent a corporate identity review and was subsequently renamed Telstra Corporation Limited for international business in 1993 and domestic business in 1995. Between 1997 and 2011 the federal government privatised the corporation; the first three stages were initiated by the Liberal–National Coalition's Howard Government: the first, informally known as "T1", occurred in 1997.
"T2" followed in 1999. In T1, the government sold one third of its shares in Telstra for A$14 billion and publicly listed the company on the Australian Stock Exchange. In 1998, a further 16% of Telstra shares were sold to the public, leaving the Australian government with 51% ownership. In 2006, T3 was announced by the government and was the largest of the three public releases, reducing the government's ownership of Telstra to 17%; the 17% remainder of Telstra was placed in Australia's Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund established to meet future liabilities for payment of superannuation to retired federal public servants. In 2009, the Future Fund sold off another $2.4 billion worth of shares, reducing the government's stake in Telstra to 10.9%. In August 2011, under Labor's Gillard Government, the Future Fund sold its remaining "above market weight" Telstra shares completing Telstra's privatisation. With more than one million shareholders, Telstra is the most held ASX-listed company. On 26 November 2008, Telstra submitted a non-complying tender issued by the federal government to build a National Broadband Network, a 12-page letter proposing a $5 billion broadband network covering between 80 and 90 percent of the Australian population in major cities, despite the tender requiring 98 percent coverage.
As a result, Telstra was removed from the National Broadband Network RFP process on 15 December 2008. In response, Telstra has announced that it will raise speeds on its existing Next G network and HFC "cable" network so that they both offer higher speeds than the RFP for the NBN requires. Following Telstra's exclusion from the National Broadband Network bidding process Telstra's share price suffered the biggest one day percentage fall in its history. NBN Co Limited signed a definitive agreement with Telstra on 23 June 2011, estimated to be worth A$9 billion post-tax net present value, building upon the signing of a financial heads of agreement a year beforehand. Telstra agreed to "disconnect" its Internet customers from the copper and hybrid fibre-coaxial networks in areas where FTTP has been installed, agreed to lease dark fibre, exchange space and ducts to NBN Co; as part of the agreement, Telstra would not be able to market their mobile network as an alternative to the NBN for a number of years.
Telstra remains the owner of its networks. On 18 October 2011, Telstra shareholders
The Australian Postal Corporation, operating as Australia Post, is the government-owned corporation that provides postal services in Australia. The head office of Australia Post is located at 111 Bourke Street, which serves as a post office. Before colonial control of mail started in 1809, mail was passed on by ad hoc arrangements made between transporters and settlers; these arrangements depended on cooperation of the country people. It was common for early settlers to ride many miles out of their way to deliver neighbours' mail, collected from informal distribution points; the first organisation of a postal service in Australia commenced in 1809 with the appointment in Sydney of the first Postmaster of New South Wales. He was an English ex-convict, Isaac Nichols, who took the post operating from his home in George Street, Sydney, his main job was to take charge of letters and parcels arriving by ship, to avoid the chaos of people rushing aboard ships as soon as they arrived at Sydney's wharves.
Nichols would post a list of recipients outside his house. He would advertise in the Sydney Gazette the names of all those. Recipients paid a fixed price of one shilling per letter to collect mail from Nichols' home, with parcels costing more depending on how heavy they were. VIP addressees were accorded personal delivery by Nichols; the Postal Act of 1825 allowed the governor to fix postage rates and appoint postmasters outside Sydney, enabling the first organised postal service. Letter deliveries began in 1828 and posting boxes first appeared in 1831. Stamps were not required as the addressee paid for the letter, not the sender. Postal services grew throughout the Australian colonies. A regular overland service between Sydney and Melbourne, Port Phillip District began in 1838. In 1838, the first prepaid "stamped" letter sheets were introduced in Sydney. By 1849, uniform postal rates were established by agreement between the colonies. Prepaid adhesive stamps were introduced in the 1850s. Victoria was the first to make prepayment by stamps compulsory in 1852.
Monthly steamship sea mail to the United Kingdom was established in 1856. The separate colonies joined the Universal Postal Union in 1891. Following federation in 1901, the colonial mail systems were merged into the Postmaster-General's Department; this body was responsible for telegraph and domestic telephone operations as well as postal mail. An airmail service was introduced in 1914; the world's first large-scale mechanical mail sorting system was introduced in Australia, operational in the Sydney GPO in 1967. This coincided with the introduction of the current system of 4-digit postcodes in Australia. On 1 July 1975, separate government commissions were created to undertake the operational responsibilities of the PMG. One of these was the Australian Postal Commission, trading as Australia Post, it became the Australian Postal Corporation on 1 January 1989 when it was corporatised, though it still trades as Australia Post. Under amendments to the APC Act that came into effect in March 2008, quarantine inspection officers of a state or territory are authorised to request Australia Post to open for inspection packets and parcels sent from interstate which they believe may contain quarantine material.
The legislation authorised Australia Post to remove from the mail articles that are suspected of being scam mail. The 200th anniversary of postal services was celebrated in 2009. In February 2010, Ahmed Fahour was appointed CEO of Australia Post. In May 2010, he announced a new strategy dubbed "Future Ready" designed to reinvigorate Australia Post; this included a new organisation structure as well as a renewed foray into digital businesses under the "eServices" Strategic Business Unit. However, in 2013, the corporation acknowledged that though the strategy was successful in improving Australia Post's profitability and structure, it was insufficient in its contributions to their development as a financially self-sustaining business. In September 2015 the corporation announced its first loss in 30 years; the A$222 million loss was down from a $116 million profit the previous year. Large decreases in addressed and stamped mail led to a $381 million loss in the mail delivery side of the business.
Parcel delivery accounted for over half of total revenue. Overall revenue was stable at $6.37 billion. A year on Friday 26 August 2016, Australia Post returned to profit, on the back of strong parcel/courier performance and re-structuring; however mail performance reached an all-time low. On Thursday 23 February 2017 the CEO of Australia Post, Ahmed Fahour announced his resignation, effective July 2017. Fahour told media at a press conference in Melbourne, that the decision was not related to recent discussion surrounding his $5.6 million salary. Australia Post is continuing to broaden its product and service range and invest in technology-based infrastructure programs; as of 2016, it operates in three core areas: associated services. It offers delivery services, retail products, financial services and fulfilment services, direct marketing and database management services, it has a number of subsidiaries and joint ventures, including Sai Cheng Logistics International—a joint-venture logistics company established with China Post in 2005.
Australia Post operates regular mail delivery as well as an express/courier service through Messenger Post. It delivers mail every day of the week
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s