Executive Power under the Constitution: A Presidential and Parliamentary System Compared
55 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2016
Date Written: August 31, 2016
In a 2014 article published in the Adelaide Law Review, Professor Harold Bruff explained the U.S. executive power to an Australian audience. Bruff described the constitutions of Australia and the United States as “cousins”; they share some traits — such as federalism — but in other areas there is less of a resemblance. The Australian system of government blends features of the federal system of the United States with the parliamentary system of the United Kingdom. In 1980, Elaine Thompson famously described it as a “Washminster” system of government. The framers of the Australian Constitution were familiar with the U.S. Constitution, both through their readings — particularly Lord Bryce’s well-timed treatise, The American Commonwealth, published the decade preceding the major Australian constitutional drafting conventions — and through their personal experiences. The development of the U.S. Constitution and the constitutional practices of the United Kingdom were frequently referenced and compared during the drafting of the Australian Constitution.
Keywords: Constitutional Structure, Differences in the Executive Branches, Responsible Government, Adoption of Responsible Government in Australia, Organisation of Executive Power in Australia, Australian Executive Power, Prerogative Powers, Nationhood Power
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation