Australia has limited government housing and only a small rental market, so buying a place to live is the chief burden for most people establishing their first home.
There is a rapidly growing number of retirement homes and nursing homes for the aged, but debate has frequently arisen over the quality of care available in this often underfunded and poorly regulated sector.
State law and its administration are generally based on the British system.
Legal procedure includes trial by jury in criminal and some civil cases, the right of appeal, and an independent judiciary.
The governor is the local representative of the British crown and is appointed by the British monarch on the recommendation of the premier.
The titular head of the government, the governor has since 1946 always been an Australian.
In 2010 a more streamlined set of awards was introduced under a national workplace relations system administered by the federal government. New parents are entitled to 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave without loss of job or seniority.
Child care for working parents, however, is considered by many to be inadequate.
Bodies called county councils are organized to coordinate common services such as flood control and electric power supply in districts that comprise a number of local government units.The members are elected to serve during two sessions of Parliament and thus serve for a maximum of eight years in their first term.The cabinet is chosen from the party that commands a majority in the Legislative Assembly. Through the party system there is effective executive rule, which may, however, be frustrated by a failure to control the Legislative Council.Political parties are usually state branches of the federal political parties and tend to have the same policies and interests, though “states’ rights” are jealously guarded even among political allies.The three chief parties are the Australian Labor Party, which traditionally has been allied to the trade unions.