Government of Queensland
The Government of Queensland, also referred to as the Queensland Government, is the Australian state democratic administrative authority of Queensland. The Government of Queensland, a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, was formed in 1859 as prescribed in its Constitution, as amended from time to time. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, Queensland has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Constitution of Australia regulates its relationship with the Commonwealth. Under the Australian Constitution, Queensland ceded legislative and judicial supremacy to the Commonwealth, but retained powers in all matters not in conflict with the Commonwealth. Key state government offices are located at 1 William Street in the Brisbane central business district.
Executive and judicial powers
The Government of Queensland operates under the Westminster system, a form of parliamentary government based on the model of the United Kingdom. The Governor of Queensland, as the representative of Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, holds nominal power, although in practice only performs ceremonial duties. The Parliament of Queensland holds legislative power, while executive power lies with the Premier and Cabinet, and judicial power is exercised by a system of courts and tribunals.
The Parliament of Queensland is the state’s legislature. It consists of Her Majesty The Queen (represented by the Governor), and a single chamber; the Legislative Assembly. Queensland is the only Australian state with a unicameral parliament after a second chamber, the Legislative Council, was abolished in 1922.
The Legislative Assembly has 93 members; one representing each electoral district in Queensland. Elections for the Legislative Assembly are held every four years.
The Cabinet of Queensland is the government’s chief policy-making organ, and consists of the Premier and all ministers.
- Minister for Trade
- Deputy Premier
- Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
- Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
- Minister for Manufacturing
- Minister for Innovation
- Minister for Tourism Industry Development
- Minister for the Commonwealth Games
- Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
- Leader of the House
- Minister for Police
- Minister for Corrective Services
- Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
- Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
- Minister for Transport and Main Roads
- Minister for Health
- Minister for Ambulance Services
- Minister for Education
- Minister for Industrial Affairs
- Minister for Disability Services
- Minister for Seniors
- Minister for Communities
- Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef
- Minister for Science
- Minister for the Arts
- Minister for Employment
- Minister for Training and Skills Development
- Minister for Small Business
- Minister for Housing and Public Works
- Minister for Sport
- Minister for Digital Technology
Mick de Brenni
- Minister for Local Government
- Minister for Racing
- Minister for Multicultural Affairs
- Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
- Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women
- Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
Di Farmer Assistant Ministers
- Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier
- Assistant Minister for Veteran Affairs
- Assistant Minister for Treasury
- Assistant Minister for State Development
- Assistant Minister for Education
- Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development
Queensland government agencies
The Queensland Government delivers services, determines policy and regulations, including legal interpretation, by a number of agencies grouped under areas of portfolio responsibility. Each portfolio is led by a government minister who is a member of the Parliament. As of April 2016 there were nineteen lead agencies, called government departments, that consist of:
- Department of the Premier and Cabinet
- Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
- Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services
- Department of Education and Training
- Department of Energy and Water Supply
- Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
- Queensland Health
- Department of Housing and Public Works
- Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
- Department of Justice and Attorney-General
- Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing
- Department of Natural Resources and Mines
- Queensland Police Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
- Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
- Department of State Development
- Department of Transport and Main Roads
- Queensland Treasury
- Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games
A range of other agencies support the functions of these departments.
The judiciary of Queensland consists of the Magistrates Court, the District Court, and the Supreme Court, as well as a number of smaller courts and tribunals. The Chief Justice of Queensland is the state’s most senior judicial officer.
The Magistrates Court is the lowest tier of the judicial hierarchy of Queensland. The court’s criminal jurisdiction covers summary offences, and indictable offences which may be heard summarily, but all criminal proceedings in Queensland begin in the Magistrates Court, even if they are not within this jurisdiction. For charges beyond its jurisdiction, the court conducts committal hearings in which the presiding magistrate decides, based on the strength of the evidence, whether to refer the matter to a higher court or dismiss it. The court’s civil jurisdiction covers matters in which the amount in dispute is less than or equal to $150,000. Appeals against decisions by the Magistrates Court are heard by the District Court.
The District Court is the middle tier of the judicial hierarchy of Queensland. The court has jurisdiction to hear all appeals from decisions made in the Magistrates Court. Its criminal jurisdiction covers serious indictable offences (such as armed robbery, rape, and dangerous driving). The court’s civil jurisdiction covers matters in which the amount in dispute is more than $150,000 but less than or equal to $750,000. Appeals against decisions by the District Court are heard by the Court of Appeal, a division of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is the highest tier of the judicial hierarchy Queensland. The court has two divisions; the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. The Trial Division’s jurisdiction covers serious criminal offences (including murder and manslaughter), and civil matters involving claims of more than $750,000. The Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction allows it to hear cases on appeal from the Trial Division, the District Court, and a number of other judicial tribunals in Queensland. Appeals against decisions by the Court of Appeal are heard by the High Court of Australia.
There are several factors that differentiate Queensland’s government from other Australian states. The legislature has no upper house. For a large portion of its history, the state was under a gerrymander that heavily favoured rural electorates. This, combined with the already decentralised nature of Queensland, meant that politics has been dominated by regional interests. Queensland, along with New South Wales, formerly operated a balloting system known as Optional Preferential Voting for state elections. This is different from the predominant Australian electoral system, the instant-runoff voting system, and in practice is closer to a first past the post ballot (similar to the ballot used in the UK), which some say is to the detriment of minor parties. The next Queensland election will use instant-runoff voting.
These conditions have had notable practical ramifications for politics in Queensland. The lack of an upper house for substantial legislative review has meant that Queensland has had a tradition of domination by strong-willed, populist premiers, often with arguably authoritarian tendencies, holding office for long periods.
While most Australian states have their populations heavily concentrated in the capital cities, Brisbane accounts for only about 45 percent of Queensland’s population. The strong decentralisation of the population made the state a stronghold for the National Party. Before the merger of the Queensland branches of the Liberals and Nationals as the Liberal National Party, the National Party had been the senior partner in the non-Labor Coalition since 1924. In other states and federally, the long-standing coalition between the Nationals and Liberals typically has the National Party as the junior partner.
- Crime and Misconduct Commission
- Politics of Queensland
- Women in the Queensland Legislative Assembly
- “Q150 Timeline”. Queensland Treasury. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- “Queensland Public Service Commission – A summary of changes to departments of government” (PDF). The State of Queensland. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Queensland) (2012). “Magistrates Court”. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Queensland) (2010). “Magistrates Court of Queensland” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 February 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Queensland) (2010). “The District Court of Queensland” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Department of Justice and Attorney-General (Queensland). “Supreme Court”. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Queensland Government web site
- List of Queensland Government non-departmental bodies
- Get involved — Queensland Government community engagement website.
- Queensland Parliament
- The Premier of Queensland