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Australia, a federal parliamentary democracy, is an independent self-governing state and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The constitution of Australia, which became effective in 1901, is based on British parliamentary traditions, and includes elements of the United States system. The head of state is the British sovereign, and the head of government is the Australian prime minister, who is responsible to the Australian Parliament. All powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Australia is a founding member of the United Nations (UN).