The Fall of Australian Prime Ministers

Subject POLS40019 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2015.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours


Admission to Honours or Postgraduate Diploma in Politics and International Studies

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at undergraduate level.

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:


Mr. Petro Georgiou

Subject Overview:

Australian leadership politics has been described as ‘perhaps the most hard edged and, in a sense brutal amongst the Western democracies’.The course will examine the fall of 3 Prime Ministers – John Gorton, Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd – and the survival of John Howard.One of the key questions considered will be how does a Prime Minister, almost universally regarded as the most powerful actor in our political system, get ousted not by the electorate, but by their own parliamentary party.Comparisons with leaders in other democratic systems will be considered, as well as an examination of the concept of power, the nature of Prime Ministers’ resources, structures, incentives, motives and means by which Prime Ministers are deposed from within.The materials for the course will include memoirs, academic analyses and an analysis of contemporary accounts and reporting.The course will include a seminar series during which key players from Australian political life will discuss their understandings and insights into the fall of a Prime Minister.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Gain an insight into the dynamics of power at the centre of the Australian Political system;
  • Be able to draw together material from academic, journalistic, biographic, autobiographic sources in understanding of the fall of Australian Prime Ministers.

A 2000 word essay (40%) due during semester, and a 3000 word essay (60%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Regular participation in class 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:

Reading material will be available to students on line through the subject LMS site at the beginning of semester.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of this subject students should:

•be able to apply research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

•develop persuasive arguments on a given topic; •communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively;

•develop cross-cultural understanding.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Politics and International Studies
Public Policy and Management
Public Policy and Management

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