States and territories of Australia

overarching divisions of authority in Australia

States and territories of Australia change

 IndonesiaPapua New GuineaWestern AustraliaNorthern TerritorySouth AustraliaAustralian Capital TerritoryJervis Bay TerritoryTasmaniaVictoriaQueenslandNew South Wales

States change

Areas Abbreviation Capital
  New South Wales NSW Sydney
  Queensland QLD Brisbane
  South Australia SA Adelaide
  Tasmania TAS Hobart
  Victoria VIC Melbourne
  Western Australia WA Perth

Territories change

Mainland change

Territory Abbreviation Capital
  Australian Capital Territory ACT Canberra
  Jervis Bay Territory JBT
  Northern Territory NT Darwin

From 1926 to 1931, Central Australia existed as a separate territory between the 20th and 26th parallels of latitude, before being becoming a part of the Northern Territory again.

Overseas territories change

Australian overseas territories

Former change

Background and overview change

The states started as separate British colonies before Federation (in 1901). Their powers are protected by the Australian constitution. The territories are under the control of the Commonwealth government. The Australian Parliament has powers to create laws in the territories that it does not have in the states.

Most of the territories are directly administered by the Commonwealth government. Three of the territories (the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island) administer themselves. In the territories that govern themselves, the Australian Parliament has the power to govern, and can override laws made by the territorial governments. It has done this at times, but it is rare that it happens. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are usually treated as states.

Each state has a governor. This governor is chosen by the Queen, but she chooses the person on the advice of the state Premier. The Administrators of the Northern Territory and of Norfolk Island are chosen by the Governor-General. The Australian Capital Territory is governed by the Governor-General.

The head of government of each state is called the Premier. This person is chosen by the state's Governor. Normally the Governor will select as Premier whoever leads the lower house of the state Parliament. However, the Governor can chose someone else as Premier. The head of government of the self-governing mainland territories is called the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, who normally whoever controls the Legislative Assembly, is appointed by the Administrator.

Statistics change

State/territory Land area (km²) Rank Population (2004) Rank Population density (/km²) Rank % of population in capital Rank
Australian Capital Territory 2358 8th 324300 7th 137.53 1st 100% 1st
New South Wales 800642 5th 6760000 1st 8.44 3rd 63% 5th
Victoria 227416 6th 5002300 2nd 22 2nd 71% 4th
Queensland 1730648 2nd 3919500 3rd 2.26 5th 46% 7th
South Australia 983482 4th 1537900 5th 1.56 6th 73.5% 2nd
Western Australia 2529875 1st 1998400 4th 0.79 7th 73.4% 3rd
Tasmania 68401 7th 484000 6th 7.08 4th 41% 8th
Northern Territory 1349129 3rd 200800 8th 0.15 8th 54% 6th

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