1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of POLI1010, POLI1011 has been successfully completed
Course context
This topic is a key part of the offerings for first year students who wish to complete either the politics/public majors and minors. It is a core topic in the Bachelor of Public Administration
Topic description
This topic introduces the student to key political ideas and the practice of public policy. In the first part of the topic, students are introduced to, and critically engage with, a range of political ideas including, liberty, equality and justice. These ideas are central to an understanding of the modern liberal-democratic state, and the work and role of government. The second part of the topic moves from political theory to the practice of public policy. ln this phase, students are introduced to policy making processes, and the key institutions, processes and activities that underpin this endeavour. The practical focus of the second part of the topic enables students to see how the ideas introduced in the first part are pursued through the machinery of government and how they inform current debates in contemporary public policy.
Educational aims
This topic introduces students to key concepts in political theory and public policy. It begins by encouraging students to engage critically with some of the basic political ideals, including equality, justice and liberty, that underpin the modern liberal-democratic state. These fundamental values are shown to inform the theory and practice of public policy in Australia, which is the focus of the second part of the topic. Public policy, as explored in this topic, is defined as what governments do, why and with what consequences. Here the topic introduces students to the debates about the purpose of public-sector activity, the ways in which governments organise their policy-making and administration, and how governmental programs are devised and implemented. An overarching question will be the extent to which Australian public policy realises or reflects the values it is supposed to serve.
Expected learning outcomes
On successful completion of this topic students should be able to:

  • Understand, explain and discuss in an informed way a number of significant political ideas;

  • Understand how ideology informs the work of government, and identify some of the thinkers who have influenced those ideologies;

  • Understand the policy making process, and key principles of policy analysis;

  • Understand the key actors and institutions involved in developing policy, and their relation to external influences and the wider community;

  • Analyse and critically assess a range of key political and public policy texts, and institutional constraints;

  • Produce written work on political ideas and public policy in accordance with good scholarly standards;

  • Contribute intelligently to oral discussion of the relevant issues;

  • Apply developed generic skills in critical reading, professional writing, bibliographic research, academic analysis and verbal argument.