Foundations in Social Policy Essay

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Name: Mellissa Harley SPE211: Foundations in Social Policy Student Number: 11242359 Assessment item 1 Liberal Democracies take various forms. These types of political systems at the same time support collectively owned institutions and a free market economy. This essay aims to discuss the Australian liberal democratic political system and how the wellbeing of its citizens is enhanced by its operation. This paper discusses the many tensions the Australian government must manage; between negative and positive liberalism, and between liberal and democratic theory. Finally, Australia’s reliance on unwritten conventions and how this leaves our democratic institutions vulnerable and open to attack is also considered. On the 1st January 1901 Australia was unified under a federal system of government by the Australian Constitution (“Parliament and Government,” n.d., para. 1). The Constitution “established the Commonwealth Government (now known as the Australian Government), defined its structure, powers and procedures, and defined the rights and obligations of the states in relation to the Commonwealth” (“Australia’s federation,” n.d., para. 3). The Australian Constitution divides power between two separate components of government, the federal element and corresponding state government. Within the federal element two chambers are created: the House of Representatives is the lower house and is where majorities form government, and the Senate is the upper house or house of review. The House of Representatives is modelled on the United Kingdom Westminster system specifically the House of Commons, while the Australian Senate structure has been adopted from the United States (Yencken, 2008, p. 116). The Constitution can only be changed following a referendum where the result is affirmative. For example, a

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