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Australia: Media System

Peter Putnis


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European settlement of Australia commenced with the establishment in 1788 of a British penal settlement in what later became the city of Sydney. While Australia was inhabited by an estimated 750,000 Aboriginal people, the continent was claimed as a possession of the British Empire. By the middle of the nineteenth century Australia comprised six internally self-governing colonies centered on the capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart. With federation in 1901 these colonies became States of the Commonwealth of Australia, a constitutional democracy based on a federal division of powers. Australia, with a culturally diverse population of over 22 million in 2010, has had a long, continuous experience of democratic government based on a party system dominated by two political groups, the Australian Labor Party on the one hand and a coalition of conservative parties on the other. Under the federal system of government the powers of the Commonwealth Parliament are formally limited to areas of national importance, such as foreign relations, defense, and immigration. The Australian Constitution also gives the Commonwealth responsibility for the regulation of “postal, telegraphic, and other like services.” Under this provision, the Commonwealth has taken responsibility for the regulation of all broadcasting and telecommunications in Australia. There are no press ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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