Political & Legal Studies (Units 1 & 2) - ATAR

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Course Code:
University Pathway
Humanities and Social Sciences B grade/ Exam 65%
Course Description:
This course will cover concepts essential to the understanding of democracy. Using real life and current examples students will examine how government and the law operates in Australia and the principles that underlie their operation. Research Investigations will give students the opportunity to examine aspects of political and legal systems and develop skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning and extended writing.
Course Structure
Unit 1 – Democracy and the rule of law
In first semester, the content is based on political structures, their operation and political issues.  We will be exploring the concept of government and why we have it, how ancient philosopher’s thought about modern democracy and the way we form government. We go back into Australia’s past and look at the importance of Federation on both the division of power in Australia but also the formation of a written Constitution that outlines how we are to be governed. We explore how these interact and look at our system in comparison to a totalitarian one, namely North Korea. How do we stop one individual from consolidating power and becoming a supreme dictator? That is a question we explore in this unit. We also look at the beginning of law, investigating how the courts apply law and how trial processes work.
Unit 2 – Representation and justice
In second semester, the content is based on legal structures, their operation and legal issues.  We will look at the election system, including the finances, voting and political spin placed on these massive government events. We look even closer at the trial process, including creating a mock trial and investigate interesting case studies where the legal process may have been compromised or corrupted. Our major research assignment is on the differences between a common law and non-common law system, using Indonesia as an example – highly relevant in the current political context. We debunk the sensationalism of the media and really look at the structure of the legal system – including questioning why certain  elements that others may call ‘unfair’ occur.
Course Assessment:
Course Assessment is based on five categories of assessment:

Investigation - 10%
Short Answer - 20%
Essays - 20%
Source Analysis - 20%
Examinations - 30%

Note – A detailed assessment statement will be provided to students at the commencement of the course.
Further Study:
Politics and Law (Units 3 & 4) - ATAR
Additional Information:
Politics and Law provides you with the skills to be an active citizen and develops skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning and writing skills necessary in a modern life and career.
It gives you an understanding of the world, including knowledge of current affairs and an ability to think critically about government policies and political spin. Politics & Law is an interesting insight into a world you are about to be a part of, and will help with any pathway that you choose.
Politics and Law will help prepare students for a wide range of career opportunities in business, law, media, the arts, science, education, engineering and government.