The form of the Government of New South Wales is prescribed in its Constitution, which dates from 1856, although it has been amended many times since then. Since 1901 New South Wales has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Australian Constitution regulates its relationship with the Commonwealth.
Under the Australian Constitution, New South Wales ceded certain legislative and judicial powers to the Commonwealth, but retained complete independence in all other areas. The New South Wales Constitution says: "The Legislature shall, subject to the provisions of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, have power to make laws for the peace, welfare, and good government of New South Wales in all cases whatsoever." In practice, however, the independence of the Australian states has been greatly eroded by the increasing financial domination of the Commonwealth.
New South Wales is governed according to the principles of the Westminister system, a form of parliamentary government based on the model of the United Kingdom. Legislative power rests with the Parliament of New South Wales, which consists of the Crown, represented by the Governor of New South Wales, and the two Houses, the New South Wales Legislative Council and the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.
Executive power rests formally with the Executive Council, which consists of the Governor and senior ministers. In practice executive power is exercised by the Premier of New South Wales and the Cabinet, who are appointed by the Governor, but who hold office by virtue of their ability to command the support of a majority of members of the Legislative Assembly.
Judicial power is exercised by the Supreme Court of New South Wales and a system of subordinate courts, but the High Court of Australia and other federal courts have overriding jurisdiction on matters which fall under the ambit of the Australian Constitution.
- Government of New South Wales website (http://www.nsw.gov.au/)
- The Constitution of New South Wales (http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/constitutions/nswconstindex.shtml)