Discovering Democracy Units
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Key Terms - Alpha Search

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A
absolute majority More than half of the total votes of those eligible to vote.
absolute monarchy A system of government in which a monarch (a king, queen or emperor) holds total power, and can make laws without having to consult a parliament or the people.
accountable Able to be called on to explain your actions.
Act of Parliament A law made by parliament; a Bill which has passed all three readings in each house and has received the royal assent.
activist A person who is active in movements to achieve political or social change.
activity A deed or action.
Acts Interpretation Act An Act of Parliament which gives guidance as to the meaning of expressions used in other Acts and which gives details of procedures to be followed under other Acts.
address (to the governor-general or the Queen) A formal message to the governor-general or the Queen by a House of Parliament stating the view of the house or making a request. The message is often in answer to the governor-general's speech on the opening of a session of parliament (address-in-reply), but may also be a message of congratulations, sympathy or farewell, or a request that the governor-general, as a constituent part of the parliament, perform a particular action.
address-in-reply The formal answer of each house to the speech made by the Queen, or the governor-general as her representative, at the opening of each session of the parliament.
adjourn To put off, postpone or suspend.
adjournment debate A debate at the end of each sitting day of a house when Members make speeches on any subject on the motion to end the sitting.
administer To run, look after or have charge of; for example, a minister administers his or her department.
administration
1. The running of public affairs or government.
2. The people who run government.
administrator
1. A person who directs, organises, or manages.
2. A person who carries out the duties of the governor-general when the governor-general is away.
adversary system An approach or system where one person or group opposes another.
advice Information or an opinion someone gives you to help you decide what to do.
adviser Someone who gives you advice to help you decide what to do.
advisory body A group of people who say what they think should be done; a group which gives advice.
affirmation A solemn declaration, such as a promise to tell the truth in a court, made by people who do not want to swear an oath.
affirmation of allegiance A declaration made by Members of Parliament that they will be loyal to the Queen.
agency An organisation or part of an organisation which has a particular job or set of tasks, usually delegated to it by another body.
agenda A list of tasks to be done or items to be discussed at a meeting.
agreement The same way of thinking.
all-party Made up of people from all political parties.
allegiance Being true or faithful to a ruler or state.
allies A group of countries or people that band together to fight a common enemy or to achieve a particular goal; for example, the Allied powers in World War II included the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth, the United States and the Soviet Union, who fought against Germany, Italy and Japan.
amendment An alteration (to a Bill, or an Act or the Constitution).
anarchy A society without government or law. It can also mean political and social disorder through lack of government control.
annexation To take over a territory and add it to a larger state; for example, Queensland's annexation of the Murray Islands in 1879.
anniversary Remembrance of an event on the date it happened.
annual report (of a department, authority etc.) A written account of the more important things done by a government department or authority, which is presented once a year to the parliament.
another place A term sometimes used in one chamber of a two-chamber parliament to refer to the other chamber.
anthem A song of praise, often about a particular country, when it is called a national anthem.
appeal
1. A call or request for something needed.
2. A request for review by a higher authority; for example, the High Court is the final court of appeal.
appropriation Bill A Bill which, if passed by parliament, will allow the government to spend money it has gathered from the community through taxes and charges, on government services, roads, dams, schools, etc.
aristocracy A state ruled by people of noble birth or a privileged upper class. Also means members of a social class considered to be socially or otherwise superior.
armistice A stage in a war when both sides stop fighting to discuss possible peace terms.
assembly A number of people gathered together for a special purpose; law-making body (usually a lower house).
assent To agree to or approve; for example, the governor-general assents to Bills after they have been passed by the two houses.
assimilation When people of differing ethnic heritage acquire or are urged to acquire the basic attitudes, habits and mode of life of another national culture.
Athenian citizen A citizen of the ancient Greek city-state of Athens.
attendant A member of the parliamentary staff who assists the Members in a chamber when parliament is sitting.
attorney-general The chief law officer of a government and the minister responsible for the management of legal matters.
audit An inspection and checking of records or accounts, especially those concerned with money.
auditor-general The chief accounting officer of the Commonwealth, who inspects all government accounts and reports to parliament on whether government departments and authorities spend or receive money correctly and legally.
Australia Day A celebration of the Australian nation on the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.
Australian citizen A citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia, either by birth or by naturalisation.
Australian Democrats A party formed in 1977. The Democrats claim to represent all Australians. They want more government control of the economy to reduce unemployment, greater protection for the environment and less foreign ownership of Australian resources.
Australian Electoral Commission An organisation which runs national elections and referendums and gives people information about elections.
Australian Government Gazette The government journal containing official government notices, such as lists of appointments and bankruptcies.
Australian Labor Party A political party formed nationally in 1901 and given its present name in 1918. Labor wants greater equality in the distribution of income, wealth and opportunity. It believes that private businesses produce injustices and inequalities and so need to be controlled by the government for the benefit of workers and the common good.
Australian Loan Council An organisation made up of the prime minister and the State premiers which decides how much money each government may borrow in the financial year ahead.
Australian Senate Practice The main reference book on the law, practice and procedure of the Senate.
authority
1. The right to decide or judge; the right to control or command.
2. A person or body that has such rights.
aye The word used for voting 'yes' in parliament.
ayes