Australian Politics Units 3 and 4
Australian Politics is a subject for students who wish to develop their understanding of the Australian political system. The subject explores a range of concepts through current, real-life examples.
Unit 3 looks at all aspects of the Australian political system and institutions (such as the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary) in terms of the democratic values they uphold. In the second half of the semester, we compare Australia’s political system with the United States’, studying the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Unit 4 looks at domestic and foreign policy. We explore a range of factors that influence the formulation and implementation of Australian public policy, from inside and outside of government.
Who is it for?
Ever hear about the government or politicians in the news and want to have a better understanding of what was being discussed? Do you care about what the government does, but don’t fully grasp how your vote influences Parliament and Government? Then this subject might be for you.
What you study in this course is relevant to our day-to-day lives. If you study Australian Politics, you’ll be able to directly relate what you’re learning to events that appear in your news feed.
What do you do?
You will complete weekly written tasks and participate in online discussions. Face-to-face seminars occur once a term at DECV. You will regularly read and view a variety of resources, with an emphasis on keeping up to date with current events in Australian politics through news and other media.
What skills do you need?
A significant proportion of your course work each week will involve reading, so you need to be able to focus and comprehend new ideas this way. Like other Distance Education subjects, you need to manage your time effectively.
Australian Politics is a research-oriented subject. The set readings provide core information, but to be successful in this subject, you need to keep up to date with current political events, particularly through the use of online resources. This requires you to work with a degree of independence, although your teacher will provide guidance and support.
What skills do you develop?
The ability to:
- think independently and critically (especially on political issues)
- write both informatively and argumentatively using an analytical and objective approach
- interpret factual information from a variety of media sources that have different stances on particular political issues
Many students who have completed this subject have gone on to do further studies in law, arts, history, teaching, diplomacy, international relations, journalism and, of course, Australian Politics at university.
Regular, independent reading of political coverage in the media is a necessity.
Things to think about
Like many Year 12 subjects, you will find yourself busy when studying this subject. However, it’s definitely manageable. Maintaining regular communication with your teacher can really help with keeping on top of things. If you are based at a school other than DECV, make sure you always use the free/spare periods assigned for this subject.
Things you can do now
The best thing you can do is to make a habit of reading and viewing a variety of media sources covering current developments in Australian Politics. This includes reading political coverage in newspapers and watching current affairs programs on TV. When it comes to TV programs, students should watch a combination of programs from the ABC as well as commercial networks.
This Australian Politics website is a good resource to begin looking at some of the content covered in the subject. Don’t let the old-fashioned appearance of the website fool you, it provides clear overviews on a range of relevant topics.
Go to the VCAA website for more information about this subject.
Things to have a look at
Does Australia need a government?
A humorous look at contemporary Australian Politics.
Care to place a bid on your future?
An example of how interest groups try to influence government policy.
A 2014 advertising campaign in relation to proposed changes to university degree costs in Australia.