Politics of Australia and the US compared

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Australia and the Unites States of America share common links with the United Kingdom and have inherited the Westminster system of government system of government. Both countries share many similarities in terms of bicameralism where the House of Representatives as well as the Australian equivalent is the Lower house while the United States Senate and the Australian Senate is the Upper house.

House of Representatives

In both countries the House of Representatives is the lower house and has more members. In the United States there is 1 member representing each of the 435 congressional districts, while in Australia there is also 1 member representing the 150 electoral districts. The average population of each of the congressional districts is approximately 650, 000 people while in Australia there are approximately 150, 000 people per district. In both countries there are districts where the density is very high like in large cities so the districts are smaller where as in rural areas the density is low so the districts must be larger to compensate for the low density. In the US the amount of districts is set by law at 435 while in Australia it can and has changed due to population growth. Members of the Australian House of Representatives serve a 3 year term whereas US members of the House serve 2 years.


The Senate for both nations is the upper house in their respective parliament. Both Senates represent the States equally where there are 100 senators in the United States, 2 from each of the 50 states, while in Australia there are 76 senators, 12 from each state and 2 from each of the 2 territories. Senators from both countries serve 6 year terms.

President and Prime Minister

In the United States the President is elected directly by the people and Electoral College while primaries determine who the candidate will be from the two major parties. The president can be from any party or even an independent so long as they get enough votes, while in Australia the Prime Minister is the leader of either the Liberal Party of Australia or the Australian Labor Party and isn’t directly elected by the people ‘‘‘per se’’’ instead whichever party holds the majority in the House of Representatives, then that parties’ leader becomes the Prime Minister of Australia. Restricted by the constitution, the President of The United States cannot serve more than 2 terms or 8 years, while Australia imposes no term limits and there have been 2 Prime Ministers who have served over 11 years.


Australia uses a different system of voting called preferential voting where candidates are ranked in a list from 1 -5 for instance whereas the United States uses plurality voting where a candidate can win with less than 50% of the votes. In Australia voting is compulsory and the penalty for not voting is generally around $50. This is the reason that voter turnout is one of the highest in the world and generally at 95%, while in the US it is not compulsory and turnout is generally around 50 -60%.

Minor Parties

In Australia it can be said that minor parties are more represented due to 2 main factors which are preferential voting and proportional representation in the Australian Senate. There are no minor parties in either House of Representatives although there are 3 independents in the Australian House of Representatives. In the Australian Senate which uses proportional representation there are 11 out of 76 senators from candidates other than the 2 main parties, while the US Senate has only 2 independents (Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders). It pretty common for most electorates in Australia to have close to 10 contestants while the equivalent in the United States is around 4.


Both countries share similarities in size and each state has their own parliament. In Australia and the United States every single state has 2 chambers just like at federal level except for (Queensland and Nebraska) respectively who have a Unicameral Legislature.


Both countries have an independent judiciary called the Supreme Court in US and the High Court in Australia which interprets the constitution and acts as a final court of appeals.