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Parliament vs Congress

Closer Look – Parliament vs Congress [PDF 1.58Mb, 16 pages]

Parliament vs Congress

A comparison of the Australian and United States federal political systems.

At first glance, both Australia and the United States (US) appear to have similar systems of government. They are both federated nations meaning that the power to govern is shared between national and state governments. Both systems are bicameral, consisting of two chambers, with an elected House of Representatives and Senate. There are many similarities in the ways that laws are made. However, Australia is a constitutional monarchy and the US is a republic. The differences between the two systems can be seen in their overall structure and in the heads of state.

Australia's political system can be considered a hybrid of the US and British systems. The parliamentary and executive aspects of Australia's political system are derived mainly from England, while the Australian federal design is derived mainly from the United States.

The following sections compare and contrast key aspects of the Australian and US political systems.