Prince Edward Island and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
In 2019 the Speaker and Clerk of the Australian Capital Territory visited Prince Edward Island and signed a parliamentary partnership agreement between PEI's and ACT's assemblies. The agreement facilitates the sharing of institutional expertise and knowledge to support professional development and community education for both partners.
About the Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is a self-governed territory located in southeast Australia within the state of New South Wales, which has only one major city, Canberra, which doubles as the country's capital. Canberra, also known as the Bush Capital, features expansive nature reserves and is surrounded by lush forests and tall mountains.
In 1901, Australian lawmakers began searching for an appropriate capital city. Due to a constitutional provision, Australia's capital city had to be within 160 km of Sydney, but not in Sydney, to appease the other states and territories that entered the federation. Canberra was selected as the ideal location in 1909 and was finally legislated as such in 1911. Canberra's development began in 1913 and has evolved ever since. Canberra is home to many parliamentary buildings, federal institutions, and national monuments, including the National War Museum.
The Australian Capital Territory received its name in 1938, when it achieved self-government. Like the Canadian division of powers between federal and provincial governments, state and territorial governments in Australia have a range of areas in which they can legislate. The ACT is unique in Australia for being the only state or territory in the country which combines both territory and local governments.
The ACT is located on the land of the Ngunnawal indigenous people, who represent 1.6% of the territory's population.
About the Australian Capital Territory Parliament
The ACT comprises five electoral districts, including Brindabella, Giminiderra, Kurrajong, Murrumbidgee, and Yerrabi, which elect 25 members to the ACT Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister - the leader of Government in the ACT legislature, similar to the role of Premier here in PEI - is decided by a vote of the whole ACT assembly.
Members are elected to the ACT's Legislative Assembly in a proportional representation electoral system, and elections are held every four years according to legislation.
ACT Fast Facts
Area: 2,358 km2 Population: 431,411 (2020) Parliamentary system: Unicameral Westminster style Electoral system: Hare-Clarke proportional representation Number of members: 25