Australia - Local government

Powers not specifically granted to the federal government in the constitution are reserved to the states, although some powers (such as health, labor, and social services) are held concurrently. Each state has an appointed governor who serves as the representative of the sovereign. Except for Queensland, which has a unicameral legislature, the parliament in each state is composed of two houses. The lower houses—the dominant legislative bodies—are popularly elected; the upper houses are elected by franchise limited to property holders and to those with certain academic or professional qualifications. The state prime minister achieves office and selects his cabinet in the same fashion as does the Commonwealth prime minister. The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have unicameral legislative assemblies.

Local communities (variously designated as boroughs, cities, district councils, municipalities, road districts, shires, and towns) have limited powers of government, but they are responsible for some health, sanitation, light, gas, and highway undertakings. Even the largest cities do not provide their own police protection, nor do they conduct or support education; these are state functions. Local aldermen or councilors ordinarily are elected on a property franchise, and mayors are elected annually or biennially by the aldermen from among their own number or by taxpayers. State departments of local government regulate the organization of local government. State governments directly control some large interior areas.

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