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 (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 system and institutions with those of the United States. We examine aspects of the American system that could potentially be adopted to strengthen democracy in Australia.
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 support or oppose an idea that the government has suggested?
This course is for students who:
- want to understand the political process and how it affects them as Australian citizens
- are interested in how Australians are included or excluded from the Australian political system
- are curious about how the ways we vote in elections affect the operation of government
- would like to learn about the underlying democratic principles that influence our political system
- are interested in how government policy is created – where it comes from and what determines whether it becomes part of the lives of Australian citizens.
What do you do?
Students complete weekly written tasks and participate in online discussions. Face-to-face seminars occur once a term at DECV. Students 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?
Students need to be capable readers because a significant proportion of learning occurs through written materials. Australian Politics is a research-oriented subject. The set readings provide core information, but to be successful in this subject, students need to keep up to date with current political events, particularly through the use of online resources. This requires students to work with a degree of independence, although their 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.
Recommended Resources: Indigo Handbook for VCE Australian Politics by Rod Wise – 6th Edn 2017
Things to think about
Students will benefit from having an understanding of:
- the role of parliament and the courts
- the difference between criminal and civil law
- law reform in the criminal and civil justice system
- the Australian Constitution
- current legal issues in the media
Things you can do now
The best thing students 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. 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 the proposed changes to university degree costs in Australia.