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What is Executive Government

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Australia's system of government is based on 'representative democracy'. This means that instead of making decisions ourselves about every issue, or having an individual vote on every law, we elect representatives as Members of Parliament to make the important decisions for us. For example, only Parliament can make or change the law, or require us to pay taxes.

However, Parliament can't look after all the details, which go into the day-to-day running of the country. As a result we also have what is called the 'executive' branch of government (usually referred to as 'the Executive' or just 'the government'), which runs the country, enforces the laws and develops policy.

Where does it come from?

In Australia, because of our system of responsible government, the Executive is drawn from Parliament. Members of the executive also are Members of Parliament. They become the government because they have the `confidence' (the majority of seats) of the Lower House of Parliament. The government keeps office as long as it has the confidence of Parliament. But if it loses the confidence of Parliament, in an election or during its term, the government must resign.

The Executive branch of government runs the country on a day-to-day basis, develops policy and enforces the law. It is often just called 'the government' .  The Executive is drawn from the party which has the majority in the House of Representatives.  The key players in the Executive are the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Cabinet; government departments; bodies established by statute; and various watchdogs.