The original inhabitants of Queensland were the Indigenous Australians who arrived about 40,000 years ago. After few years, Queensland was made a British Crown Colony and was separated from New South Wales on 6 June, 1859. This day is now celebrated as the ‘Queensland Day’. After separation it witnessed rapid growth in all sectors and became an independent state.
In 1959, when Queensland celebrated its Centenary, it thought of adopting a floral emblem for the state. After public opinion on the choice of the flower, on 19 November 1959, the Cooktown Orchid was adopted as the floral emblem of Queensland. This floral emblem has been used on Australian stamps and is one of the most popular native orchids. Apart from this, the koala was adopted as the faunal emblem of Queensland in the year 1971.
The Queensland Coat of Arms is the oldest State Arms of Australia and was granted by Queen Victoria in the year 1893. The Coat of Arms depicts the Queen’s legitimate right over the State. The Queensland flag has been used from the time when it was a self-governing British colony and had its private navy. The Queensland flag consists of the British Blue Ensign with the state badge on the corner. The badge has a light blue Maltese cross along with a St. Edwards Crown at the centre.
The Queensland parliament is based on the Westminster system of Britain. From 1901, Queensland has remained as a state of the Australian Commonwealth and hence the Australian Constitution controls its operation in certain judicial and legislative issues. By the 19th century, the British Parliament asserted its power over the monarch and the Queensland parliament was divided into the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly comprising of 26 members who represented the 16 electorates. In 1922, however, the Theodore Labor Government dismissed the Legislative Council and made the Queensland parliament as a unicameral one. At present, there are 89 members in the Queensland parliament and appointment of these members has been liberalized to a great extent.
Queensland’s government system is that of constitutional monarchy which comprises of the Governor and Executive Council, the judiciary and the Legislative Assembly. The Governor acts as a representative of the Queen and holds his office at the pleasure of Her Majesty. His appointment may be terminated at the will of the Queen. There are several committees under the Queensland government which include public accounts, travelsafe, public works, estimates, standing orders, parliamentary crime and misconduct, legal, constitutional and administrative review committee and others. At present, Peter Douglas Beattie of the Australian Labor Party is the Premier of Queensland and the governor is Her Excellency Quentine Alice Louise Bryce AC.
Queensland Parliament is one of the oldest parliaments of Australia and is located on George Street, Brisbane. The Queensland Constitution has been consolidated as the Constitution of Queensland 2001 and this came into effect on 6 June, 2002.