Three levels of government

Get an introduction to the three levels of government with this short video. It explores the areas each level can make laws about.

Teachers can use this video to explore the three levels of government with their students. This supports the Year 6 and Year 7 Units of work and the Explore the three levels of government Classroom activity.

Duration: 2 min 23 sec




Opening credits showing animated shapes with the words, Understand, Teach, Book, Connect. The Parliamentary Education Office logo.


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 6 state and 2 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 bolt , a drop of water, a pickaxe and 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.

Graphics of symbols for each issue mentioned. A road, a tree, a garbage truck, a stack of books, a stop sign and 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.

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.

The Parliamentary Education Office logo. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2019.