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Australian Politics

duration Duration: 1 Teaching Period

unit code Unit Code: POL10001

contact hours Contact Hours: Recommended 10 hours of study per week

About this unit

This unit of study aims to provide a critical and analytical introduction to the Australian political system in an international context and the challenges it faces from globalisation, oppositional social movements and growing discontent among voters.


Students will acquire a body of knowledge about the system of government in Australia in an international context. This will include the basic organising principles of the system, the institutions that express those principles and the processes by which voters elect representatives to transfer the people’s will into responsible government.

As students move through the unit, it will be apparent that the organising principles of the system do not always deliver their intended outcomes. By examining some contemporary political issues such as citizenship and republicanism, industrial relations, the role of political parties in expressing voters’ aspirations and the electoral system’s ability to deliver workable parliamentary representation, the unit will test the effectiveness of those principles and assess in general terms how the system is working. It also explores the reasons many citizens have turned away from institutional politics and engaged in political activism through social movements and other organisations in civil society.

The unit will offer a broad, long-term perspective against which students can analyse and interpret not just current policy issues, but the effectiveness of the whole system.

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