Challenge your students with these extension activities once you have completed the Create political parties classroom activity.
House of Representatives
Divide the class into the same parties as in the main activity. Explain to students that they are not in the Senate now; they are different people, who have been elected to the House of Representatives. There has been an election in Australia but no team has a clear majority in the House. The only way a team can become the government is if they can form a coalition with one or more other teams. Count the class and determine how many students make a majority. Give the parties 5 minutes to negotiate coalitions with other parties of students. Explain that their coalition must:
- Comprise parties which contain more than half the students in the class
- Comprise parties which have compatible platforms and policies
- Agree on which party leader in the coalition would become the Prime Minister.
If a coalition is formed, reflect with the class on how successful they think this coalition would be; discuss the areas of policy agreement and compromise. Discuss the role of the students who did not form a coalition. What is their role in the parliament? If a coalition is not formed, ask students why.
Explore current political parties
Visit the Australian Electoral Commission's list of Australia's political parties and ask students to each choose a party website to visit. Encourage the students to choose a range of large and small parties, but be aware that some small parties may not have their own website.
Ask students to identify:
- What is the party's full name?
- Who is the leader of the party?
- What are the party's main beliefs? (party platform)
- What are three policies which the party would like to implement? (party policies)
- What other interesting/important information did you find out about the party?
Ask students to present their findings to the class. Discuss:
- the differences between the parties
- which Australians might vote for each party
- why some parties are larger than others
- whether any websites/social media sites sought membership, volunteers or donations
- which party/ parties students would choose to join/volunteer for/donate to and why.