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Australia

Federative (6 states, 3 federal territories (of which 2 are self-governing) and 7 external territories)
Political Groups
G20, OECD
Global Climate Risk Index
28
Targets
World Bank Income Group
High income
Share of Global Emissions
1.22%

Documents

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2024UNFCCC

Australia. 2024 National Inventory Document (NID)

2023Policy

This guide explains the obligations under Australian Consumer Law, which businesses must comply with when making environmental and sustainability claims. Whilst this document is not legally binding, it informs businesses on how obligations under consumer protection law, including the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), may apply and is therefore considered legally rel...

2023Policy

The Net Zero in Government Operations Strategy describes the approach for implementing the Australian Government’s commitment to achieve net zero in government operations by 2030. This target was included in Australia’s NDC Communication 2022 under the Paris Agreement.

Legislative Process

The Australian parliamentary system is based on the UK’s Westminster system. The Federal Parliament is bicameral, consisting of the House of Representatives (the Lower House), and the Senate (the Upper House). The Senate is composed of equal numbers of representatives from all six Australian states, with additional Senators representing Australian Terri­tories (76 in total). Senators are elected for six-year terms. In the House of Representatives, the number of members of parliament per state is proportional to population (currently 150 members). Members are elected for three-year terms. The most recent election was in July 2016 with the next expected in 2019. Australia retains the Sovereign of the United Kingdom as its head of state. All laws are formally enacted by the Sovereign (Royal Assent) as a formality after passage through Parliament.

Proposed laws are called bills, and can be introduced into either House, except for bills that propose expenditure or tax levies (appropriation or money bills), which must be introduced in the House of Representatives. In practice, most bills are introduced in the House of Representatives. All bills must be passed (by a series of three readings) by both Houses to become law (Acts). It is possible for the Senate to block the passage of legislation even when the gov­ernment has a clear majority in the House of Representatives. In the case of parliamentary deadlock, the constitution allows the Governor-General (the Sovereign’s representative) to authorise a “double dissolution” election under specific circumstances, at the request of the Prime Minister.

Australia operates under a Federal system of government, with six states (formerly separate colonies) and two territories with considerable autonomy, defined areas of jurisdictional responsibility under the Constitution and separate Parliaments. This chapter covers only those laws and policies that are enacted nationwide.