Snapshots – Three levels of Government

Video duration: 2 min 27


Vision Audio

Opening credits showing images of the Parliament in action.

Title: Snapshots of Parliament: Three Levels of Government.


A map of Australia.

Text: 1. Federal, 2. State, 3. Local

Narrator: Australia is a big country, and running it is a big job! That's why we have three levels of law-making – sometimes called the three levels of government – that work together to serve Australia.

Text: 1. Federal.

A map of Australia with Canberra marked, and a photograph of Parliament House, with the caption: Parliament House, Canberra.

Narrator: The first level is the federal, or national, Parliament which meets at Parliament House in Canberra.

Picture of the Constitution.

Graphics of symbols for each issue mentioned. An immigration officer, wedding rings, a telephone, a bag with a dollar sign on it, fighter jets, and a globe.

Narrator: The federal Parliament has the power to make laws for the whole country. This power is listed in the Constitution and covers issues like immigration, marriage, communications, taxation, defence and foreign affairs – things that affect all Australians.

Text: 2. State.

A map of Australia with each state and territory highlighted in turn and the capital cities marked.

Narrator: Next is the state level which contains Australia's six state and two territory parliaments. They meet in the capital city of each state or territory. Parliaments at this level make laws that are enforced within their own state or territory.

Graphics of symbols for each area mentioned. A graduation cap, a medical cross symbol, a road, a train, a lightning bold, a drop of water, a pickaxe, wheat.

Graphics of a state parliament house and Australian Parliament House.

Narrator: These laws relate to areas not covered by Australia's Constitution. Things like schools, hospitals, roads, railways, electricity, water, mining and agriculture. On some issues, federal and state parliaments both have the power to make laws. If federal and state laws conflict on these issues, then the federal law will override the state one.

Text: 3. Local

A map of Australia with a dot for each local council area.

Narrator: The third level is the local level, made up of more than 560 councils across Australia. Councils are elected in a similar way to members of the federal and state parliaments.
Graphics of symbols for each issues mentioned. A road, a tree, a garbage truck, a stack of books, a stop sign, paw prints. Narrator: Councils are responsible for issues such as local roads, parks, rubbish collection, library services, street signage, and pet control – things that could be considered local services or matters.

Three maps of Australia with the titles Federal, State, Local.

Title: Parliamentary Education Office. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2015.

Parliamentary Education Office logo

Parliamentary Education Office website:

Narrator: These three levels of law-making work together to govern Australia. Each level has different responsibilities and plays a vital role in keeping Australia running.