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What’s a REPRESENTATIVE Democracy?

March13

Image result for australian parliament

 

GOAL:

I understand why representation is a feature of Australia’s federal parliamentary system.

 

 

APK:

We say that Australia is a democratic society; what does this mean?

Briefly discuss and write class responses on poster paper or the board.

 

NI:

The word ‘democracy’ comes from two Greek words: demos meaning ‘the people’ and kratos meaning ‘power’. Effectively, the word ‘democracy’ means ‘people power’ – the right of the people of a nation to make decisions about how they are governed.

Application 1:

Scenario 1

Ask the class where they would like to go for a class excursion. Say that, as a class, they have to choose just one destination/venue. (Direct democracy). Observe students making the decision and record the time taken by class to make the decision.

Scenario 2

Divide the class into groups of 4-5 students and present them with the following scenario.

You are all friends and have been to the movies together. You are now hungry and need to agree on a place to eat. Where will you go? Instruct one student in each group to time how long it takes for their group to come up with a decision.

Draw the class together and record each group’s answers and the time they took to give it.

Compare group times and class times in decision-making. Facilitate a brief discussion about the ease of making a decision.

Is it easier with more or less people?

What are the respective advantages and disadvantages of making decisions in small groups versus making decisions in a larger group like a class? 

Explain that Australia is a country of over 24 million people and around 7,686,830 square kilometres.

Have students go back to original groups of 4 or 5. Explain now each small group will decide where they would like to go on a second class excursion. They are to then select a representative who will meet with the other group’s representatives to discuss the issue and make a decision for the whole class. (Representative Democracy)

Observe student representatives making the decision and record the time taken by class to make the decision.

 

NI:

Democracies are sometimes divided into direct and indirect (also known as representative democracy). The latter are the most common.

In indirect, or representative democracy, citizens elect representatives to make laws on their behalf. This is what most modern countries have today.

Australia is a representative democracy, meaning that we choose representatives to make decisions on our behalf, similar to a SRC.

 

Application 2:

Task 1: Ask students to either work in pairs or small groups to critically evaluate the benefits/disadvantages of all Australians making decisions (Direct Democracy) using a PMI or SWOT analysis to assist them.

Draw class together and discuss each group or pair responses-take notes

Task 2: Ask students to either work in pairs or small groups to critically evaluate the benefits/disadvantages of all representatives making decisions (Indirect democratic representation) using a PMI or SWOT analysis to assist them.

Draw class together and discuss each group or pair responses-take notes

 

Ask students when they think it is appropriate to use direct representation and indirect representation.

Ask them to provide examples.

 

Record responses on large poster paper and in INBs

 

NI:

Federal Parliament represents, and makes laws that affect, all Australians. Federal Parliament has two houses:

The House of Representatives and the Senate.

 

House of Representatives:

Each member in the House of Representatives represents roughly an equal number of voters. Therefore Australia is divided into electorates.

Why are these ‘electorates’ different sizes?

These boundaries sometimes change-why?

 

The Senate:

The original States at the time of Federation were guaranteed the same number of Senate representatives. This gave each State equal representation in the Senate. This was to encourage the smaller States to join the Federation in 1901. This equality in representation is enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

Originally each State had six Senate representatives, but, because of the growth in Australia’s population, this number has now expanded to twelve. This increase in Senate representation is also determined by the Constitution in what is called the nexus – the number of Senate members must be approximately half the number of the total number of members in the House of Representatives. The two Territories do not have the same number of Senators (only 2 each) because they are not ‘original states’.

 

Goal Reflection:

…What does ‘representative democracy’ mean?

…What are the advantages of representative democracy?

…Are there disadvantages to representative democracy?

….Why do you think Australia chose representative democracy as its system of government?

Homework – who is my local representative?

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