Constitution. – The Australian Federation (Commonwealth of Australia) was formed on 1 January 1901 for the union of the six founding states (original states: South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria).
The legislative power it belongs to the federal parliament, made up of the king of England (represented by a governor general appointed for an indefinite period) and of the two chambers, the senate and the House of Representatives. The power of the governor is more formal than anything else, limiting himself to fixing, within certain limits, the time of parliamentary sessions, to convene the parliament, to approve the laws passed in the two chambers. The Senate is made up of 36 members (6 for each state), directly elected by the state population; they remain in office for 6 years, and are renewed for half every three years. The House of Representatives is composed of a number of members possibly double that of the senators, based for each state in proportion to its population (1927: 76 members), however, in such a way that each original state has at least 5 representatives; they remain in office for 3 years and are elected by universal, male and female suffrage. The powers of parliament, listed in the constitution in 39 different chapters, concern especially the unity of private law, defense and the economic structure of the state. The chamber of representatives prevails over the other in cases of disagreement on financial matters.
The executive power lies with the sovereign, who exercises it through the Governor-General, assisted by a federal council, made up of executive directors. It includes ministers, appointed by the governor, on the condition that within 3 months of their appointment they are members of parliament.
The federal judicial power is exercised by the High Court of Australia, which judges in the final appeal of the decisions of the courts of the individual states and other federal courts of law. Individual states, apart from the limitations set by the federal constitution, retain their constitutions and their political and judicial capacity.
Since 1911 the Northern Territory has been directly dependent on the federation, recently divided into Northern Australia and Central Australia; by a law of 1922 it sends a deputy to the chamber of representatives with only an advisory vote. Outside the continent, the Territory of Papua (English New Guinea) and the Norfolk Islands also depend on 1 September 1906 (following the federal Papua Act). The Federation then exercises its mandate over part of New Guinea, the Bismarck archipelago and the northern Solomons.
Ecclesiastical organization. – The introduction of Catholicism in Australia took place only after the destination of that new English possession as a place of deportation of criminals, and especially after public opinion rose to obtain from the government more humanity and less intransigence towards Catholic deportees, left for long years without any religious assistance. This reaction was caused by the unfair treatment given to Father Jeremiah Flynn, a Cistercian monk, who had succeeded in 1817 in obtaining the authorization to go as a Catholic priest to the distant country. As a result of this, in 1821 the government appointed Irish priests Filippo Conolly and Giovanni Giuseppe Therry as chaplains for the deportees and Catholic settlers, who through many anguish and serious difficulties managed to found some chapels and to institute some schools. Later, Father W. Ullathorne joined them as vicar general of the apostolic vicar of Mauritius, who obtained that Australia be erected as an apostolic vicariate with residence in Sydney (1834). Then the success of his industriousness was such that in 1842 the vicariate was erected into a diocese and this was declared metropolitan with respect to the other diocese of Hobart also erected in that year, in the Land of Van Diemen, today Tasmania. Since then the Catholic hierarchy has been continuously growing, until 1929, when the diocese of Toowoomba in the state of Que-nsland was founded. To facilitate the relations of those distant churches with the mother church. For Australia religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
Currently in Australia there are 20 dioceses and a nullius abbey, grouped into 5 ecclesiastical provinces (Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth). Hobart, despite being an archbishopric, has no suffragans; while the diocese of Victoria and Palmerston is reduced to a simple denomination, since the Europeans who were in the residential city abandoned the territory of the diocese en masse (1849). Now the vast region is aggregated to that of the apostolic prefecture of the Northern Territory and the few faithful who belong to the deserted diocese are entrusted to the care of the superior of that mission.
Along with this apostolic prefecture, especially in Northern Australia there are other ecclesiastical circumscriptions, with purely missionary name and government. They are the apostolic vicariate of Cooktown with residence in Cairns, that of Kimberley with residence in Broome and the missions of Drysdale River and Beagle Bay. There is also the Queensland Apoctolic Vicariate; however, it does not have its own territory, but was established only for the indigenous people scattered in the homonymous state and precisely in the ecclesiastical province of Brisbane, that is, in the circumscriptions of Brisbane, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and the apostolic vicariate of Cooktown.
Nonetheless, Australia remains a Protestant country and Protestantism, which entered it long before the Catholic Church and organized itself before it could exercise any action, continued and still continues to be in strong prevalence.
Without taking into account all the missionary associations, organs of the various confessions that work in Australia and count adherents, it will suffice to note that the first organization of the Anglican communion in those districts was the work of Archdeacon Broughton who arrived in Sydney in 1829 and consecrated in 1836. bishop of the entire district. The rapid growth of colonization soon forced the establishment of new centers of religious activity, and thus the dioceses of Tasmania (1842), Adelaide, Melbourne and Newcastle (1844) were born; in 1848 Sydney was elevated to a metropolis. Since then the increase in the number of Australian dioceses was continuous until reaching the number of 24 in Australia and Tasmania. They are grouped into 4 ecclesiastical provinces of which Sydney, Brisbane, are considered metropolises. Melbourne and Perth. Among the dioceses, however, those of Adelaide, Tasmania and Willochra are not subject to any metropolitan.