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This subject is an opportunity to study Australian politics over historical time, by examining points of crisis and conflict in our history, as well as by assessing the apparent resilience of our political structures. Wars and economic crises send shudders through political systems, but ours has been relatively stable, although the party system has had its ruptures. Aspects covered will include the development and current state of the mass party system, and the shifting relationships of both federalism and of executive government. We will also examine how the political system has responded, or failed to respond, to significant social changes such as the development of a multicultural society, and recognition of our geographical location in the Asia-Pacific, and to the challenges of social movements such as the women's, indigenous and environmental movements. Can our political system adapt, or is it broken? Is the party system dead, or just changing? Are our political traditions and ideologies exhausted, or are they morphing under new conditions? The subject is based on the proposition that one fruitful way to tackle such questions and assess our present is to understand the historical trajectories of key features of the Australian political system.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- demonstrate a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of key developments in Australian political institutions and practices over time;
- demonstrate conceptual sophistication in the analysis of the ideologies and traditions of political actors, social movements and parties;
- demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the historical development of the Australian party system and its contemporary challenges;
- develop a broad understanding of how Australian developments have been affected by international crises and key events
- demonstrate advanced level skills in critical analysis and evaluation;
- demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate different sources of research in the development of an argument;
- work productively and collaboratively in group.
Last updated: 15 July 2020