Australia’s formal name is the Commonwealth of Australia. The form of government used in Australia is a constitutional monarchy – ‘constitutional’ because the powers and procedures of the Australian Government are defined by a written constitution, and ‘monarchy’ because Australia’s head of state is King Charles III.
The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 when six independent British colonies agreed to join together and become states of a new nation. The rules of government for this new nation were enshrined in the Australian Constitution, which defined how the Australian Government was to operate and what issues it could pass laws on. The Constitution created a ‘federal’ system of government. Under a federal system, powers are divided between a central government and individual states. In Australia, power was divided between the Australian Government and the six state governments.