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Levels of government

In a land called Australia, 3 superheroes fight for the people. Discover their powers and those of the three levels of government they are named after with this video. From the ABC’s Behind the News.

Video duration: 3 min 38

Transcript

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A drawing of three superheroes. On the left is a boy in a yellow costume with S on his chest; in the middle a girl in a red costume with F on her chest; on the right is a boy in a purple costume with L on his chest.

 

Close-up shots of superheroes putting on their costumes: a silver mask, a cape, a red eye mask and a purple eye mask.

Text: Reporter: Carl Smith

Narrator: In a land called Australia, 3 superheroes fight for the people.

A girl in a red superhero costume jumps in front of a garage door.

Narrator: Federal Woman!

A boy in a yellow and black superhero costume extends his hand.

Narrator: State Man!

A boy in a purple superhero costume stands with his hands on his hips smiling.

Narrator: and Local Boy!

The three superheroes are walking down a suburban street. A girl in black rushes in from the right and stops in front of an overflowing rubbish bin.

Girl: Help! Help! No one has collected my rubbish for weeks!

Local Boy steps forward and waves his hand across the overflowing bin.

Text: Local Boy

He then puts his hand to his head and concentrates. The bin empties and the lid closes. The girl in black looks stunned.

Local Boy: Never fear. Local Boy will keep your bins clear.

The girl in black picks up a rotary phone.

Girl: My school’s closing down. Can you help?

State Man picks up a phone.

Text: State Man

The girl in black, still on the phone, looks pleased.

State Man: Don’t worry citizen. State Man has just finished building a school even closer to your home.

The girl in black stands in front of a vending machine filled with chocolate bars and chips. She is counting out gold chocolate coins in her hands.

Girl: I don’t have enough money. Taxes are too high.

Federal Woman comes from behind the vending machine with her hand on her hip. She gives the girl in black a handful of gold chocolate coins.

Federal Woman: Federal Woman can fix that!

Girl: Wow!

The 3 superheroes are in a park. The camera focusses on the faces of each. The superheroes walk away from the camera down a street. On their capes are written State, Federal and Local.

Narrator: These 3 superheroes each have their own unique powers, just like the three levels of Australian government they’re named after.

Federal Woman puts on her mask and stands with her hands on her hips. The picture then becomes an illustration.

The picture then zooms out so that it is one of 7 pictures in a grid. The other pictures are: earth from space, a tank, a pile of money, 2 hands shaking, a mobile phone tower and a beach.

Narrator: The biggest is Australia’s federal government and it takes care of country as a whole.

The camera zooms in on the picture of a tank.

Text: Defence

The camera zooms in on the picture of 2 hands shaking.

Text: Trade

The camera zooms in on the picture of earth from space.

Text: Foreign Affairs

Narrator: It has the responsibility of defending the nation, and deals with trade and other countries.

The camera zooms in on the picture of the pile of money.

Text: Money and taxes

The camera zooms in on the picture of a mobile phone tower.

Text: Communications

The camera zooms in on the picture of a beach.

Text: Environment

Narrator: It also keeps a close eye on managing Australian money, taxes, communications and the environment.

State Man reaches towards the camera with his hand. He then stands with his hands on his hips. The picture then becomes an illustration.

The picture then zooms out so that it is one of 7 pictures in a grid. The other pictures are: Australia, ambulances, a student at a school desk, a mining truck and a harvester, police, and a road and train.

The camera zooms in on the picture of Australia.

Narrator: State and territory governments control each of Australia’s 6 states and 2 territories.

The camera zooms in on the picture of ambulances.

Text: Health

The camera zooms in on the picture of a student at a school desk.

Text: Education

The camera zooms in on the picture of a mining truck and a harvester.

Text: Mining and agriculture

Narrator: They have different responsibilities like health, education, and mining and agriculture.

The camera zooms in on the picture of police.

Text: Law and order

The camera zooms in on the picture of a road and train.

Text: Roads and transport

Narrator: They also watch over most of the police force and the courts, roads, trains and public transport.

Local Boy puts on his mask and stands with his hands on his hips. The picture then becomes an illustration.

The picture then becomes an illustration.

The picture then zooms out so that it is one of 7 pictures in a grid. The other pictures are: a suburban street, Australia covered in lots of yellow dots, household rubbish bins, a house and a swimming pool, a dog and a cat, and a typed piece of paper.

Narrator: At the bottom of the list is local government.

The camera zooms in on Australia covered in lots of yellow dots.

Text: 500+ local governments

Narrator: And while its powers may not seem that impressive, there are more than 500 local governments around the country.

The camera zooms in on the picture of a suburban street.

Text: Local roads

The camera zooms in on the picture of a dog and a cat.

Text: Pets

The camera zooms in on the picture of a house and a swimming pool.

Text: Local buildings

The camera zooms in on the picture of a typed piece of paper.

Text: Permits

Narrator: They maintain local roads, deal with garbage and pets, and they’re in charge of local buildings and permits.

The 3 superheroes walk down a street. Their names are written on the screen in front of them.

Narrator: But the country hasn’t always had three levels of government or three superheroes looking over it either.

A group of children, in shirts, vests and suit jackets are gathered around a table. They are arguing over a piece of paper. A picture of Queen Victoria is on the wall. The scene is sepia toned.

Narrator: Back in the old days of Australia, the states were their own separate colonies and just governed themselves.

Two of the children shake hands. The others look on approvingly.

Narrator: But then in 1901, the federation of Australia united the colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia.

State Man leans over a map on a table. He is wearing a top hat and a gold cape over his superhero costumer. He stands up, shakes his head and removes the gold cape.

Narrator: And with that the states passed many of their powers to the new federal government.

State Man puts the gold cape over the shoulders of Federal Woman, dressed in a white shirt, long pink skirt and bonnet. She shows off the cape.

State Man: Federal Woman, on this day I give you some of my powers to help me govern the nation.

State Man and Federal Woman are leaning over a map of Australia. They are moving Monopoly houses and hotels around the map.

Narrator: But as the population grew, state governments found it hard to manage all the responsibilities they still had. So in the 1970s local governments became popular.

State Man puts a cape around the shoulders of Local Boy.

Narrator: They were given more money and some powers of their own.

Local Boy: I humbly accept these powers.

State Man, Federal Woman and Local Boy are leaning over a map of Australia. They are moving Monopoly houses and hotels around the map.

Narrator: That’s how things still are today and the system usually works pretty well. But every now and then there is an overlap in responsibilities or they disagree.

State Man, Federal Woman and Local Boy are walking down a street.

State Man: I think we should turn this small road into a highway.

Federal Woman: I don’t think that’s a good idea. Why would you want to change it?

State Man, Federal Woman and Local Boy arguing.

Narrator: That’s why they have rules about who does what and if they disagree then federal overrules state—

Federal Woman: Well I have the federal power!

—and state overrules local.

State Man: Fine, do it your way.

State Man, Federal Woman and Local Boy give each other high fives.

Narrator: And that’s how these 3 superheroes work together to keep our country running smoothly.