The Electoral System

Rodrigo Praino, Diego Praino

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Contemporary elections are defined in the public mind by the leaders who run
for office: Morrison against Shorten, Johnson against Corbyn, Trump against
Biden. These battles are often all that people remember about an election. It is
also how most of the media portrays electoral contests all over the world. Yet, the
paradox is that very few Australian voters had the privilege to go to the voting
booth and actually cast a vote for Scott Morrison or for Bill Shorten in the 2019
federal election. What is even more remarkable is that no Australian and no British citizen has ever been given the opportunity to choose at the voting booth between Morrison and Shorten or between Johnson and Corbyn. Instead, for instance, in the 2019 Australian federal election about 100,000 people who live in the division of Cook in the Southern suburbs of Sydney were asked to choose between voting for Scott Morrison, the incumbent Liberal Prime Minister, and a number of other candidates, the best-known of them being the candidate of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), Mr Simon O’Brien, the 51-year-old bar manager of the Woolooware Golf Club who is also a local musician. Americans voting in the 2020 presidential election did find the names of Donald Trump and Joe Biden in their ballots, because, as noted in Chapter 1, that is the characteristic of a presidential system. But they did not actually directly cast a vote for either candidate. Why is this all so complicated?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian Government and Politics
EditorsAlan Fenna, Rob Manwaring
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Vic
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978 0 6557 0075 3
ISBN (Print)978 0 6557 0074 6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • election campaigns
  • electoral systems
  • voting
  • Presidential Elections
  • Voter participation


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