Australia Facts and Figures
Head of StateThe reigning British monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II) is Australia's Head of State. Because the monarch is not resident in Australia, she appoints the "Governor-General" as her representative.
Constitutionally, the monarch has overriding powers, but in everyday life, it's the elected Australian government which runs the country.
Federal GovernmentThe Australian Government, more properly known as the "Federal Government", is based in Canberra and has power in many areas, including Defence, Taxation, Immigration and so on.
It is elected by the people and holds office for a maximum of three years. Voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens over the age of 18. Currently, the Labour Party is in government and the head of government (The Prime Minister) is Julia Gillard.