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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 ...

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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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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?

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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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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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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 ...

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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?

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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; ...

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Quizzes

Test your students with these quizzes about the Australian Parliament. Topics include the three levels of government, separation of powers and the Australian Constitution.

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Edmund Barton, prime minister 1901-03

This is a black-and-white photograph of Edmund Barton which introduces a range of online materials about his life and various roles as a politician, advocate for federation and High Court justice. The photograph was taken during his term as Australia's first prime minister. He is wearing a waistcoat and suit and is facing ...

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Chris Watson, prime minister 1904

This is a black-and-white photograph of Chris Watson, Australia's third prime minister. He is bearded, and wearing a white shirt and striped tie with a vest. He is facing the camera.

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George Reid, prime minister 1904-05

This is a black-and-white photograph of George Reid, Australia's fourth prime minister, which introduces a range of online material about his life and career. The photograph is an official portrait. It shows him wearing a white shirt with a white tie and vest. He is looking away from the camera.

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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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Australian Constitution online

Browse the complete text of the Australian Constitution with this easy-to use website. It includes a detailed overview by the Australian Government Solicitor and a 2:26 min video snapshot about the Constitution and its role in the governance of the Australian nation.

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Throwing off Asia l: woodblock prints of domestic 'Westernisation' in Japan, 1868-1912

This is a collection of online materials about the rapid transformation of Japan following the Meiji Restoration. The materials consist of an illustrated essay by Professor John Dower; two sets of woodblock prints and accompanying historical background; a database of information about 405 woodblock prints from the period; ...

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Throwing off Asia I: woodblock prints of domestic 'Westernisation', 1868-1912 - visual narratives

This is a collection comprising two paired sets of text and images that focus on the rapid transformation of Japan following the Meiji Restoration. The first set is titled 'The Meiji Emperor and invention of the Emperor system', and the second 'Technology and industry'. The text introduces the images and gives historical ...

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Making a nation - unit of work

This is an extended unit of work about how people decide to form a federation, how a federated nation works, how federations can break apart and whether Australia should become a republic. It comes from the 'Discovering democracy' series of units and contains several case studies from Australian and United States history ...

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Alfred Deakin, prime minister 1903-04, 1905-08, 1909-10

This is a black-and-white photograph of Alfred Deakin, Australia's second prime minister. It shows him wearing a white shirt and tie, with a vest. He is facing the camera and appears to be writing with a feathered quill.

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For the good of all - Australian democracy: unit of work

This is a unit of work about constitutions and how they embody a particular view of the common good. Intended for lower and middle secondary students, the unit involves students taking on a particular individual perspective and working in jigsaw groups to draw up a constitution and vote on each of its provisions. The various ...

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Parliament vs monarch - unit of work

This is an extended unit of work for the upper primary years about how the Westminster system evolved in England. It comes from the 'Discovering democracy' series of units. The unit includes studies of the Magna Carta and King John, King Charles I and the struggle with Parliament, the advent of constitutional monarchy with ...