2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
Enrolment not permitted
POLI1003A has been successfully completed
Examination 30%, assignment(s)
Topic description

This topic explains how liberal democracy developed in the Western world and in at least one recent emerging democracy. The topic studies contemporary democracy and government in Australia viewed against its origins in British and American democracy and, more broadly, the ideas that inspired democracy and the evolution of citizenship. The topic explores how Western political ideas and values influence current policy debates and introduces questions concerning the power of the media, big business, labour unions and social movements. Students will also examine the key institutions of government, and how they work and have changed over time.

Students will also ponder political life in a country with an authoritarian system of government. The topic will also focus on a few key policy disputes over matters such as, refugee, indigenous and climate change policy and whether Australia should adopt a bill of rights.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Introduce students to the study of politics, political ideas and power relations in Western liberal democracies and encourage them to discuss and debate key issues as though they were part of the government
  • Encourage students to examine their own political values and reflect on how these values are also shared in by citizens in other liberal democratic societies
  • Encourage students to consider what it is like to live under authoritarian or dictatorial government
  • Introduce students to at least 4 areas of current public policy debates
  • Develop essential research and writing skills, critical analysis of political issues and the ability to present a verbal argument
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Describe the differences between political values, ideologies and ideals on the role and purpose of government in Western liberal democracies
  2. Understand the role of parliament and how parliaments are elected, and debate intelligently the merits of difference methods for electing governments
  3. Evaluate the role of these institutions within the Australian political system and how these compare with those in other Western democracies
  4. Engage in an informed fashion with a debates and controversies within Australian politics
  5. Critically analyse newspaper feature articles dealing with political issues and debates
  6. Apply developed skills in academic research, verbal argument and professional writing

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.