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Political Systems USA, UK, Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Systems USA, UK, Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Systems USA, UK, Australia

2 Constitutions A constitution is the system of rules about how a country is governed America’s constitution was written in 1787 Australia’s constitution was written in 1901

3 British Constitution The constitution is not a single document:
laws (passed by parliament) Common Law conventions (unwritten rules)

4 Questions What is a constitution?
structure of government? criminal laws? a single document? What form does China’s constitution have?

5 Changing the Constitution
America: three quarters of states Australia: public vote Britain: no different to changing any other law

6 Branches of Government
Legislative (“legislate” = make law) two houses of parliament Executive (“execute” = do something) government departments, army Judiciary (“judge” = make a court decision) courts and judges

7 Legislative (all three countries)
Two houses: lower, upper New laws need a majority vote in both houses Laws may be first introduced in either house (but usually the lower house)

8 Lower House (House of Commons, House of Representatives)
Regions (with approximately equal populations) each elect one member

9 Senate Original reason: small American states were worried that the big states would have all the power America: each state elects 2 members Australia: each state elects 7 memberss

10 House of Lords No elections
nobles with inherited titles nobles with non-inherited titles (appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister) No elections Over 1000 Lords, but only about 250 attend regularly

11 Executive In Britain and Australia, the party with the most seats in the lower house becomes the government: Party leader becomes Prime Minister Some members of parliament become ministers (control certain departments) Queen has almost no real power (mainly symbolic)

12 Executive In America, the Executive is separate from the Legislative
the people elect the president the president appoints people to certain positions (heads of departments, etc) Presidential election every 4 years

13 Questions Does China have a legislative, executive, and judiciary?
Compare China’s system to America and Britain: what is similar? what is different?

14 Checks and Balances Creators of the American Constitution worried that one person (such as the President) might become too powerful They divided up the power They provided ways for one part of the government to stop another part’s activities: “checks and balances”

15 Checks and Balances The legislative (Congress) makes laws, but…
the president must approve the Supreme Court can decide the new law is unconstitutional The president can sign treaties, but… the Senate must approve

16 Checks and Balances Balance power between state and federal governments Separate the branches (legislature, executive, judiciary) Two houses of parliament Britain: legislative is the most powerful executive is chosen from members

17 Checks and Balances New laws need the president’s approval
But laws with a 2/3 majority in both houses of the legislative do not The Supreme Court can decide that a law is unconstitutional Treaties made by the president need the Senate’s approval The legislative can impeach (sack) the president or a Supreme Court judge

18 Two Party System (America, Britain, Australia)
Two major parties (plus smaller parties) Therefore two choices for government/President/Prime Minister Not imagined by the creators of the American Constitution

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