cover image

States and territories of Australia

Overarching divisions of authority in Australia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about States and territories of Australia?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


The states and territories are administrative divisions in Australia, ruled by regional governments that constitute the level of governance between the federal government and local governments. States are self-governing polities with incomplete sovereignty (having ceded some sovereign rights to federation) and their own constitutions, legislatures, departments, and certain civil authorities (e.g. judiciary and law enforcement) that administer and deliver most public policies and programs. Territories can be autonomous and administer local policies and programs much like the states in practice, but are still legally subordinate to the federal government.

Quick facts: States and territories of Australia, Location...
States and territories of Australia
Number16 (6 states, 3 internal territories, and 7 external territories)
PopulationsSmallest state:
Largest state:
Smallest territories:Largest territory:
AreasSmallest state:
Largest state:
Smallest territory:
Largest territories:

The Commonwealth of Australia constitutionally consists of six federated states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania (including Macquarie Island), Victoria, and Western Australia) and ten federal territories,[1] out of which three are internal territories (the Australian Capital Territory, the Jervis Bay Territory, and the Northern Territory)[1] on the Australian mainland and seven are external territories (Ashmore and Cartier Islands, the Australian Antarctic Territory,[lower-alpha 1] Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Norfolk Island)[1] that are offshore dependent territories. Every state and internal territory (except the Jervis Bay Territory) is self-governing with its own independent executive government, legislative branch, and judicial system, while the rest only have local government status overseen by federal departments.

State and territory governments have executive authority to legislate on matters concerning their citizens, subject to the limits of the federal constitution (notably section 51 and section 109). Each state and internal territory (except Jervis Bay Territory) has its own legislature, although the Federal Parliament can override territorial legislation. The federal High Court of Australia acts as a final court of appeal for all matters, and has the authority to override any state judiciary. While all states and internal territories have their own judicial system (subject to appeal to the High Court), most external territories are subject to the judiciary and legislature of either a state or internal territory. Excluding the Heard Island and McDonald Islands and the Australian Antarctic Territory (which are governed by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water), the external territories are governed by the federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.[2] Norfolk Island had its own legislature from 1979 to 2015.[3]

Each state of Australia is a successor to historical British colonies, and each has its own constitution. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory for the most part operate indistinguishably from the states, even though they do not have constitutional status as states and territorial legislation can be overridden.

Oops something went wrong: