Jingoistic as it may seem, I really do think that Australia gets many things right when it comes to elections. Having observed the two-year circus of the US elections and had various discussions with a range of international students about their home systems, I think there are at least three slightly unusual elements to the Australian system that are worth preserving (and imitating!):
1. An independent electoral commissionUPDATE: Neil has kindly given a further explanation and defence of my three claims. Thanks!
In some countries (most notably the US), electoral boundaries are determined by the government, or a government-appointed board, leading to a phenomenon known as "Gerrymandering", in which electoral boundaries are manipulated for political advantage.
2. Compulsory voting
Jury duty is compulsory, though in certain extenuating circumstances, one may be excused. Voting, as another exercise in civic deliberation, ought to be the same. Compulsory voting removes the huge efforts both sides have to go to in order to "get out the vote" and so frees up more energy for discussion of the issues, since there are not two choices ("Should I vote?"; "For whom should I vote?") but only the latter. Non-compulsory voting disadvantages those with least power over their work situation and can lead to a self-fulfilling feeling of disenfranchisement and political apathy. This is magnified through weekday elections. Australia's elections seem to always happen on a Saturday, which to my mind, makes much more sense.
3. Preferential voting
While people I discuss these issues with are generally hesitant about compulsory voting (until the benefits are explained) and sometimes sceptical about the neutrality of any electoral commission, I am yet to meet someone who is not in favour of preferential voting once it has been explained to them. For those unfamiliar with it, preferential voting means that rather than simply selecting one candidate or party as the recipient of your vote, you are able (or even obliged, in Australian Federal elections, though I think this is a mistake) to rank the candidates according to your preference. When counting votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and his/her votes are redistributed on the basis of their second preferences. This process is repeated (using third, fourth, etc preferences if necessary) until one candidate has a majority. This has the enormous advantage of avoiding the "Ralph Nader" effect, in which a third-party candidate splits the vote of a major party candidate, who ends up losing, even though a majority of the population might have preferred him to the winning candidate. With preferential voting, it is possible to vote for a minor candidate without thereby "wasting" your vote. When combined with compulsory voting, it also ensures that the eventual winner will have been preferred by an absolute majority of eligible voters in the electorate over any other candidate. The only drawback to my mind is that this system is a little more complex and may confuse some voters. I understand that Canada recently tried to introduce preferential voting but the reform was rejected due to fear of it becoming too complex to understand.