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Political Systems in Saudi Arabia and Australia

Difference between countries is a common issue, which can cause gaps between neighboring nations. Considering that each nation has their own original roots, beliefs, backgrounds and practices, all countries then have features that make them different from others and unique. These differences are responsible for the difference in political systems of the nations. Australia and Saudi Arabia are two different nations which are characterized by different cultural practices, language and beliefs. This paper will look at the differences and similarities of the political systems in these two countries.

Background of the political systems Saudi Arabia has monarchy based governance; it is a monarchy government ruled by the sons and grand sons of the first king Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. This implies that it is a hereditary monarchy. Australia has a governance of parliamentary democracy. Australia is a federation and a constitutional monarchy. The system of governance in Australia is a federal parliamentary democracy. In 1901, the Australian constitution which was patterned on the parliamentary traditions of both British and American systems had been effective.

As member of the common wealth nation it considers the British as their sovereign and head of state. The Australian prime minister is in charge of the parliament (Penniman, 1977). Saudi Arabia has a religion based form of leadership based on Islamic. The judicial system in the government is based on the Islamic law Shari’ah. The governance issues are all fixed in the shari’ah courts in the Saudi legal systems. The government systems and the practices of Saudi Arabia are centered on religion.

Specifically the Arabian government implements the Islamic law called shari’ah for people to follow. In contrast, in Australia, religious beliefs are concentrated on faith and church. The Saudi Arabian governance is influenced greatly by the Islamic practices. They also affect taxation rules, business and law. Saudis can act as they wish indoors but once in the public they should follow the strict religious requirements. The ministry of justice is responsible for operating the shari’ah courts with the minister if justice as the chief judge

The governance of Australia is politically based; Westminster tradition which is a form of parliamentary democracy adopted from British is used. Saudi Arabia’s head of state is a king while in Australia is a monarch with a directly or indirectly elected prime minister as the head of government (Sabhlok, 2002). The Saudi Arabian king is the commander in chief of the military. He appoints a crown prince to help him with his duties; who is second in line to the throne. The king governs with the help of the council of ministers, also known as the cabinet.

The cabinet consists of 22 government ministers in different parts of the government. The Saudi Arabian king is advised by a legislative body; the consultative council. It’s this council that composes new laws and amends the existing ones. It consists of 150 members who are appointees of the king on terms of four years and are renewable. The commonwealth’s executive power is entrusted to the governor-general, who serves as the representative of the British sovereign, and a cabinet that is led by the prime minister.

The cabinet represents the coalition in charge of the parliament’s lower house; the authorities that are not under the federal government are given to the states (Aitkin & Jinks 1980). In Saudi Arabia the country is divided into provinces with governors and deputy governors. Each province has a council that advices the governor and deals with the development of the province. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state; its judicial system is based on the Islamic law (Shari’ah). The king is at the top of legal system. He acts as the final court of appeal and can issue pardons.

There courts in the country but most cases are heard in the Shari’ah courts in the Saudi legal system. Australia has states that are led states governments. The Australian government acknowledged the role of political parties. It had few political parties which gained full representation into the parliament. This to some extent allowed the governance by the people through their representatives. The kings in the Saudi Arabian governance had a lot of power as compared to the Australian governance which power is divided between the central government and the individual states.

The king had all the power wherefore possible to manipulate the state in the way they wanted. The citizen lacked the right to change their government. The government also infringed on people’s privacy and denied them the freedom of speech, assembly and religion. The human rights were not respected in that the laws used as dictated by the shari’ah in Saudi Arabia went against the simple laws of life. Violence against women, children and discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities dominated the governance of Saudi Arabia.

People who were found guilty of committing less serious offenses, such as alcohol-related offenses or being alone in the company of an unrelated person of the opposite sex sometimes were punished by caning (Zuhur, 2005). The current political systems With the development of the oil industry and the nationalization of the fuel fields and the land in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has entered a capitalist stage. The contradicting issue is who the masses are and who belong to the royal family i. e. the masses of the lower strata and the bourgeoisie represented by the royal family in and out of office.

The royal family is characterized by feudalism. From the latter, none of the monarchs since the second monarch of the kingdom can arrogate all powers to himself. In fact they have been restrained by the councils of notables, ministers and consultative council. The government has now is an autocratic monarchy. Besides, the royal family maintains that the integration of politics and religion at the same time. Therefore in short the Saudi Arabia political system can be described as quasi- capitalist limited monarchy with the combination of religion and politics (Abir, 1988).

The political system of Australia has not changed it is still the constitutional monarchy- the powers and practices of the commonwealth government are defined by a constitution. The powers are divided still between the central government and the individual states. This has been maintained since 1901 to date. The power is decentralized to the states through states governments who have their constitutions which govern them (Sabhlok, 2002). Conclusion In relation to the two nation’s political systems, I personally feel the Australian system is far much better in comparison to the Saudi Arabian system.

The Australian’s system has respected the right of the people and in deed there can be no government without people to be governed. Integration of religion in governance makes people slave of some things they may never understand and denies them the freedom they deserve. Dictatorship governance in the times we are living in is killing democracy, and in the era where people understand what freedom is and the importance of democracy I strongly feel the political system of Australia is far much better. In addition, human beings are not animals who requires some else to think and implement things for them.

Therefore democratic governance should be embraced by all and religious beliefs should not hold people from actualizing their goals and dreams anywhere in the whole world. Discrimination should be eliminated fully and forgotten for it is a set back to any country’s development. This essay cannot be complete without mentioning that the Saudi Arabian state is well credited for the security of its citizens. But too much of it goes over board to intruding people’s privacy and discrimination. This should be avoided at all cost. References: Abir M.

, (1988): Saudi Arabia in the Oil Era: Regime and Elites: Conflict and Collaboration. ISBN 0709951299, 97807099512, Routledge Aitkin D. & Jinks B. , (1980): Australian Political Institutions. ISBN 0858965712, 978085896571, Pitman Mackey S. , (2002): The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. ISBN 0393324176, 9780393324174, W. W. Norton Penniman H. R. , (1977): Australia at the Polls: The National Elections of 1975. ISBN 0844732397, 9780844732398, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington DC, (2006): Government.

Retrieved on 17th Jan, 2009 from: http://www. saudiembassy. net/Country/Government/Gov. asp Sabhlok S. , (2002); Understands Australia’s Political Systems. Retrieved on 17th Jan, 2009 from: http://www. helium. com/items/125219-understanding-australias-political-system Wilson P. W. & Graham D. , (1994): Saudi Arabia: The Coming Storm. ISBN 1563243954, 9781563243950, M. E. Sharpe Zuhur S. , (2005): Saudi Arabia: Islamic threat, political reform, and global war on terror. Retrieved on 17th Jan, 2009 from: http://www. strategicstudiesinstitute. army. mil/pdffiles/PUB598. pdfa

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