Australian Politics

Subject POLS10001 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2014:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 120 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof. John Murphy:

Subject Overview:

This subject is an introduction to contemporary Australian politics with an emphasis on what makes Australia unique and with an assessment of how democratic institutions have developed over time. In addition to examining the formal political system, we will also be debating the role of citizenship and participation in Australian political culture. So while dealing with institution arrangements such as parliament, the executive, the bureaucracy, policy-making, federalism and the High Court, we will also look at citizens’ activism, in social movements as well as in political parties, and examine key theoretical arguments and political ideologies. The subject is based on the proposition that politics is important because it is how we shape our future.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject should:

  • be able to understand, explain and follow Australian Politics and develop the confidence to make informed political decisions;
  • have a solid understanding of the institutional structures of Australia's democracy and system of government, and of the key actors in the political process;
  • be aware of competing interpretations of Australia's political history, ideologies and ideas and be able to critically analyse how these shape the thinking of the key actors and inform debates;
  • be able to engage with contemporary political issues and debates;
  • be able to argue a considered position in oral and written presentations;
  • have developed a solid background for further studies and research in Political Science.

1. A draft discussion paper of 500 words (10%) due in week 4 of the semester;

2. A critical reflective essay of 2000 words (35%) which can incorporate the draft above, due in week 9 of the semester;

3. Short essays totalling 1500 words (35%) due during the examination period;

4. The remaining 20% of total marks are (provisionally) assigned to student engagement in the subject, and this involves a fourth assessment task. It consists of the student group designing and running a political exercise to make a decision on whether this 20% will, or will not, be assigned to assessment of student engagement in tutorials and in this larger decision-making process.

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a minimum Hurdle Requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Ward, I. & Stewart, R.G. (2010), Politics One, Melbourne, Palgrave Macmillan

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who complete this subject should:

  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligently and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision;
  • be able to participate in team work through small group discussions.

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies

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