Understanding the differences between Australian and US Political Systems WEA Sydney

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Available Classes

Australians have mandatory voting. America does not. This course takes you through the differences between our democracies. In many areas Americans are the exact opposite of us. We will drill deep into the history, the mechanics and strategies of elections allowing you to understand the motives behind what you hear in the news.


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  • The US Constitution and why it came about after independence from England and its creation after the failed Articles of Confederation vs Parliamentary government
  • The structure of the US Government and mentality when it comes to the role of government – separation of powers, fear of concentrated power, States Rights
  • History of Political Parties and their role in both countries
  • Understanding the Bill of Rights from free speech, gun control and Due Process, etc. versus our rights in Australia
  • Campaign financing structure – Here and in the US
  • Understanding Primaries versus the old system of party bosses selecting candidates in backroom deals vs pre-selection process
  • How legislation is drafted and passed in Washington DC and Canberra
  • Impact on Australia based upon the party in power in Washington DC.
  • Current role of the Press and evolution of Social Media with its impact on political processes around the world. Is politics really as divisive now as it seems?


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand how our two forms of democracy are similar and differ along with the historical reasons
  2. Know how both countries elect their leaders – Neither is based on the popular vote
  3. Know how Parliament works and how the US legislative and Executive branch operate along with the conflicts

Chris Pedersen

Chris is currently CEO of Pedersen Asset Management and Chair of Democrats Abroad in Australia. He has taught courses and presented at seminars for over 30 years including at NY University...