Australia Vs Us Government Analysis

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Australia has a unique system of government which, while similar in some respects to the United States of America (USA), is quite different in important areas. In the follow paper I argue that while in certain areas the President of the USA carries greater powers than that of an Australian Prime Minister, in some important categories he or she does not. I argue that the separation of powers are a critical constitutional restriction on the President which does not similarly hamstring the Prime Minister and may indeed make the President envious.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy, which means it has a parliamentary system of government and monarch who is the nominal head of state, but in reality holds little real power (Miragliotta et al
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Government is formed by the party who holds the most seats in the House of Representatives and the leader of that party becomes the Prime Minister. Other ministers in the government form the cabinet and the Prime Minister and the cabinet together comprise the executive branch of government. Of course the members of the cabinet are also part of the parliament and so they also form part of legislature. Control is maintained, however, as the cabinet are responsible for their actions to the parliament and the parliament are responsible for their actions to the voters when next there is an election (Miragliotta et al 2012: 8; 14).

The USA system of government includes many checks and balances designed to ensure power cannot be accumulated by an individual or an institution. The strict separation of powers is one method, a limit of two terms as president is another (Miragliotta et al 2012: 8-9). The Australian system has no limit to the number of terms a Prime Minister can govern for and does not separate the executive branch of government from the legislature. The Australian Prime Minister could therefore be considered to wield considerably more power than the President of the
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Most obviously the USA is a large, populous and prosperous country with a great deal of wealth and a great deal of military might. The president, as the head of the executive branch of government, wields military and financial muscle across the world stage that is orders of magnitude greater than Australia. Additionally a President of the USA can be confident they will serve out the full term of their four year presidential period. As recent history shows, the same cannot be said for Australian Prime Ministers. As the current Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said many times quoting John Howard before him “the leader of the Liberal Party serves at the pleasure of the party room” (Turnbull 2015). The same, until recent changes, was true of the labour party. Thus, when the Prime Minister loses the support of their party, no matter how much power they may otherwise have in the executive and the legislative branches of government, the party can elect a new leader, and therefore a new Prime Minister. Thus Australia has recently had five different Prime Ministers in a five year period, and not for the first time in Australian history (Wright 2015). Something which would be unthinkable in the fixed four year presidential system of the

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