The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a claim to a territory in Antarctica. All states and two of the three internal territories have their own parliaments and administer themselves; the remaining territories are administered by the Federal Government.
Australia has had three now-defunct territories in its history:
From 1926 to 1931, the Northern Territory was divided into Central Australia and North Australia, with the border at the 20th parallel of latitude. Both territories were reincorporated as the Northern Territory at the end of this period.
The states originated as separate British colonies prior to Federation (in 1901). Their powers are protected by the Australian constitution, and Commonwealth legislation only applies to the states where permitted by the constitution. The territories, by contrast, are from a constitutional perspective directly subject to the Commonwealth government. The Australian Parliament has powers to legislate in the territories that it does not possess in the... Read More