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Civics and citizenship / Year 7 / Civics and Citizenship Knowledge and Understanding / Government and democracy

View on Australian Curriculum website Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
Curriculum content descriptions

The key features of government under the Australian Constitution with a focus on: the separation of powers, the roles of the Executive, the Houses of Parliament, and the division of powers (ACHCK048)

Elaborations
  • exploring the concept of the separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary and how it seeks to prevent the excessive concentration of power
  • using an issue such as water management, education or health to explore the division of powers between state/territory and federal levels of government and identifying the way that conflicts between state laws and Commonwealth laws are resolved
  • describing the role of the Governor-General, the different roles of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Prime Minister, ministers or the Cabinet and courts
  • identifying the principles of representative and responsible government that underpin the Australian Constitution
  • identifying the composition of the Legislature (the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, and the Senate and the House of Representatives), Executive (the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, Prime Minister and ministers) and Judiciary (the High Court and other federal courts)
  • discussing how ministers are subject to the scrutiny of other members of the parliament led by an officially recognised opposition
General capabilities
  • Personal and social capability Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding Ethical understanding
ScOT terms

Constitutions,  Separation of powers

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Australian Constitution in focus

The Australian Constitution is the legal framework for how Australia is governed. This article explores in detail the history of the Constitution, its key features and the High Court’s role in interpreting it. The page describes processes for amending the Constitution including through referendum as well as two case studies ...

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Three levels of government: governing Australia

In Australia the three levels of government work together to provide us with the services we need. This webpage provides a detailed explanation of the roles and responsibilities of each level, how they raise money and how they work together. Case studies show how the powers of the Australian Parliament have expanded.

Video

Writing amendments in the Senate

The Senate’s job is to "check the work" of the House of Representatives and make sure the laws they’ve made are fair. But what happens when the Senate and the House of Representatives disagree? Annabel Crabb explains the process of writing and approving amendments; the rituals of official business; and how the Lamson tube works.

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Ministers and shadow ministers

This fact sheet investigates the work of ministers (members of the Australian Government with special responsibilities) and shadow ministers (members of the opposition who closely examine the work of the government).

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Government

This fact sheet explores the role and functions of the Australian Government, including who is in the government, how it is formed, minority government and the principle of responsible government.

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Separation of powers

The principle of the separation of powers distributes the power to govern between the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. This fact sheet examines the role of each group and the related principle of responsible government.

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Cabinet

Cabinet is the top-level decision-making group within the Australian Government. Find out more about who is in Cabinet and how it works with this fact sheet.

Video

The rules that guide the House of Representatives

Annabel Crabb explains some of the rules that guide the House of Representatives – also known as the Lower House – where Members of Parliament argue about and vote on new laws for Australia. Why would a politician hold paper over his or her head when speaking in the Lower House? What happens when all the clocks in the building ...

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Voting in Australia

The representatives elected to federal Parliament make decisions that affect many aspects of Australian life including tax, marriage, the environment, trade and immigration. This 28 page PDF document explains the history of Australia’s electoral system and how it works, Australia’s system of government and the role citizens ...

Video

Explaining Magna Carta

Not sure what the Magna Carta is? This video will turn you into an expert in no time! Join Zoe as she explains the story behind the writing of this historic document. After watching the video, make a list of all the clauses you can remember. Which ones are similar to the laws that govern us today? And which ones are different? ...

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Passing a bill in parliament

How is a law made by an Australian parliament? This analogy of a battle plan and General Bill demonstrates the process of a political bill passing through the two houses of parliament on its journey to being made law.

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What is constitutional recognition?

The constitution was written more than a century ago, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not mentioned in it at all, despite having lived here for more than 50,000 years. What is constitutional recognition and why is it important? What are some of the perceived barriers to changing the constitution?

Video

Dismissal of the Whitlam government, 1975

On 11 November 1975, something happened that had never occurred before in Australia and has not happened since. It was the sacking of an elected prime minister, and therefore also his government, by an unelected office-holder, the governor-general, who was appointed by the prime minister. How could such a thing happen? ...

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Australia decides: monarchy or republic?

A constitution is the set of rules under which a country is governed. Do you know what a referendum is or what it means to be a constitutional monarchy or a republic? In 1999, Australian voters decided whether the nation would remain a constitutional monarchy or become a republic. Watch as ordinary Australians express their ...

Interactive

Governing Australia - iTunes app

Learn to understand Australia's system of government with this interactive app, using simple conversational language with lots of illustrations, animation, photos and videos. The range of topics covered include: The constitution; Judicial power; Parliament; Executive government; Members of parliament; How laws are passed; ...

Online

Election time

There are significant differences in the political systems of Australia and the US. Australia's system is inherited from the UK whereas the US one grew out of its 1789 Constitution. How else are the two parliamentary systems different?