This unit of work is aligned to the Year 8 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum. It includes one informal assessment item and one formal assessment item with marking rubric. It also contains background information for teachers and a list of resources.
Before you begin
Background information for teachers
- Getting involved in Parliament
- Making a law in the Australian Parliament
- Printed worksheets and assessment sheets available in the toolkit.
- Get Parliament online or printed version and corresponding activity sheets.
- Capacity for whole class to watch PEO videos.
- Computers/devices for students to conduct research.
Lesson 1 – How can I get involved?
Watch the Get involved video. Using the Get involved section of Get Parliament and the Getting involved in Parliament fact sheet, ask students to work in small groups to list ways to participate in Australia's democracy. As a class, collate all the lists.
Ask students to work in pairs to complete Worksheet 1: Ways to participate in Australia’s democracy, analysing the benefits of each form of participation and the circumstances in which it would work best.
Forms of participation include:
- petitioning Parliament
- participating in a parliamentary committee hearing
- contacting elected representatives
- using lobby groups
- direct action methods such as attending public meetings or protests, or running social media campaigns.
Some examples of recent citizen's campaigns for change include:
- the introduction of tactile banknotes
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students campaign for social change
Lessons 2-3 – Get involved assessment
Distribute and discuss the Assessment, outlining expectations and presentation time limits. This assessment task can be done in pairs or in small groups. For students who are struggling to choose an issue they think is important, suggestions might include:
- Environmental issues – either local (such as a nearby polluted creek or feral animal population), or national (such as climate change, water use or endangered species).
- Social issues – gender equality, disability services, youth unemployment, censorship.
- Health issues – mental health, drug-taking.
Optional extra lesson – Presentations of assessment
Lesson 4 – Introduction to law making, and common law
In small groups, brainstorm some examples of laws in Australia.
Explain to students that laws are made in different ways. Using the Information sheet briefly describe the differences between common, statute and delegated law.
Describe common law to students. Divide the class into small groups. Discuss the process for making common law by working through Activity 1 from the What are the sources of Australian law? page of the Discovering Democracy Units website.
Ask small groups to write their own scenarios, including examples of precedents, and present their findings and reasons to the class and in writing.
Lesson 5 – Statute law
Describe statute law to students. Explain that statute law overrides common law. With the class, watch the Making a law and Passing a bill videos. Show students the Path of a bill diagram. Ask students to write down the stages of making this type of law.
Lesson 6 – Delegated law
Describe how delegated law is made and can be overruled by Parliament.
Delegated law must be presented to the Parliament within 6 sitting days of being made. During the next 15 sitting days, any member of parliament can signal their request for Parliament to overrule this law. The Parliament then has a further 15 sitting days to discuss whether to do this. If no decision is made, the delegated law is overruled.
Ask students to then complete Worksheet 3: Delegated law in pairs.
Note: Worksheet 3 has 3 differentiated options, increasing in difficulty from A to C.
Lesson 7 – unit review
Using the Types of law Information sheet, review the ways laws are made in Australia. Ask students to complete Worksheet 4: Types of law using the knowledge they have gained in this unit.
Note: Worksheet 4 has three differentiated options, increasing in difficulty from A to C.
Learning outcomes for assessments
Formal assessment—with curriculum aligned rubric
Assessment task—small groups identify an issue they feel strongly about and develop a campaign to influence change.
- explain features of Australia's democracy that enable active participation.
Informal assessment—linked to curriculum content descriptions
- recognise different types of law in Australia
- explain how laws are made.