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How Government is Formed AND From Bill to Law

March25

Image result for australian house of representativesTHIS LESSON IS IN 2 PARTS

PART 1: How Government is Formed

Goal:

I understand how the ruling party (the ‘Government’) in the federal Parliament is decided.

APK:

Who are your representatives in federal parliament?- discuss what you found out- what party are they from?

New Information:

A political party is an organisation that represents a particular group of people or set of ideas. It aims to have members elected to Parliament so their ideas can affect the way Australia is governed.

Australia has a two-party system with two dominant political groupings in the Australian political system, the Australian Labor Party (ALP), and the Liberal/National/ Coalition.

There are lots of minor parties (parties who don’t put up a competitor in every electorate and win very few seats in Parliament). People can also decide to run for an election in any electorate as an ‘independent’ –this means if they get into parliament, they can vote any way they feel is right- not the way their party says they have to.

To form the Government you need to have more than half of the House of Representative on your side.

Government can be formed when:

  • a single party has won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives
  • a coalition of parties (when more than 1 party join together) has won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives
  • a single party that does not have a majority of seats in the House of Representatives has the support of enough Independents (in which case it is a minority government.)

NOTE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS FORMED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NOT THE SENATE.

 

Application-Australia’s 45th parliament :

Go to this resource- Composition of the 45th Australian Parliament  (scroll down to the table)

Complete the following in INBs:

Federally, in the lower house, there are 150 members. They are called Members of Parliament (MPs)

On the government side, there are __(how many?)__ Liberal/National/Country Coalition MPs.

On the opposition there are __(how many?)___ ALP (Australian Labour Party) MPs.

In the House of Representatives, there are  __(how many?)__ MPs who are ‘independents’ or belong to minor parties that are not included in the government.

In the Senate, there are  __(how many?)__ MPs who are ‘independents’ or belong to minor parties that are not included in the government.

 

What else did you notice in this data- share/discuss/clarify/note

Application-getting elected:

Which party are you in?- find out by choosing your counter from the teacher. (Ant to choose a ‘Clerk’)

When you have your colour, get together with other people of that colour. Are you in a major party, a minor party or are you an independent?

If you are in a party, you must elect a leader and deputy (these days, there is usually a male & a female). The leader must then choose 2 others from their party to be their cabinet, and someone else who will be the “Speaker of the House” if they win. The speaker doesn’t get to vote! They might also want to choose a Minister for curriculum, a Minister for breaks and a Minister for uniforms. Don’t waste time on this, because you must also decide on your policies.

New information:

Policies are how different parties feel about different issues. Representatives are voted in by their electorate depending on their view on these issues (their policies) and so are expected to keep their word to their electorate when voting in Parliament.

Application-Policies:

The issues are these:

  • More varied curriculum-what subjects should be taught and how much of each
  • having half an hour less lunch, but finishing school half an hour earlier
  • school uniform-keep the same/change to a ‘better’ one (what would make it better?)/ no uniform

AT THE MOMENT, YOU ARE JUST CANDIDATES FOR YOUR PARTY-YOU HAVE TO GET ELECTED. THIS WILL DEPEND ON WHAT YOUR ELECTORATE THINKS OF YOUR POLICIES!

ALL STUDENTS NEED TO WRITE DOWN WHAT THEIR POLICY IS ON EACH OF THESE ISSUES-WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE?/WHICH WAY WOULD THEY VOTE ON THIS ISSUE? (ARE THEY FLEXIBLE?)

Parties must agree to all vote the same way on a particular issue. The Leader of the party has final say on this, but is allowed to listen to the opinions of their party (especially their cabinet).

The Opposition usually does not want to choose to agree with the Government on many things because then they would be saying the Government is doing a great job and that they (the Opposition) shouldn’t be voted for. Policies are usually made public so it shouldn’t be a secret if someone wants to find out.

Parties can (but don’t have to) choose 1 of the 3 issues to make a ‘conscience vote’. That means anyone in their party is allowed to vote whichever way they feel and don’t have to do what their party says.

Parties should decide efficiently-their electorate is waiting!

Independents and minor parties should think carefully about their policies-their electorates may be demanding a different voice from the major parties, and if elected, you will have some tough decisions to make!

Application-making government

Find out the results of the election from your teacher.

Can any 1 party form Government with their numbers?

If not, the Major parties are going to have to convince the minor parties or independents to join them in coalition. Remember, your electorate is expecting you to keep your policy promises, but you may have to compromise in order to get the power of being in Government. Who will you go to first? How will you ask?

Minors/independents: what will you demand in order for your support? Do your policies agree? remember, you may be expected to vote with the party you co-operate with-you’re no use to them in Government if you don’t….

The Clerk and Speaker should be preparing for their roles- they will need to take some notes on what they say and how they say it at each point.

Goal reflection:

The key steps to deciding the ruling (governing) party in the federal government are …

DISCUSS

PART 2: From Bill to Law

Goal:

I understand the steps involved when Parliament creates new laws

New Information:

As a class visit Kidsview and go on “Pass The Bill”.

Take notes for each of the steps on the right as a flowchart.

Are there different options at different stages? How would you show this?

Application:

Let’s have a go at this with our class government.

The Government Cabinet will decide on a Bill they wish to propose on 1 of the 3 issues. They will need to write up the Bill using a formal voice. It will need to say what the new rule/law is, how it will be put in place and what are the consequences for not following it. The minister responsible will need to have a short speech created saying why they propose it.

While cabinet does this, the rest of the class will set up the room to look like the House of Representatives floor. There should be seats for the Speaker and Clerk at the front. There should be a table for the leaders & their deputies in the middle, and seats in a U-shape behind them where MPs for each side sit.

Go through the steps, as in the interactive, to introduce the Bill and follow it until it leaves the House of Representatives.

When it gets to the adjournment, all class members have to write a small speech about why they do or do not support the bill. The Opposition will need to decide if they agree with the Bill. If they do agree, they may want to choose some Amendments (things that should be changed a bit) to make it seem that the Government could be doing a better job. parties should share their ideas so they don’t repeat things. The Speaker may ask you to present your speech before the vote-they will definitely want the Leader of each party to speak, as well as the Minister and Shadow Minister in charge of that area (the Shadow Minister is the Opposition MP in charge of that area). The Speaker will also want each minor party to speak and at least 1 independent MP.

The Clerk will introduce each reading of the Bill, and will take the count if there is a “Division of the House” (that is, if the votes aren’t completely obvious by just saying “Aye” or “Nay”).

The speaker will call upon the ministers to give their opinions of the Bill in turn and call for the vote and announce the decision. If the Bill does not get a majority of voters, it can be voted for again with any suggested Amendments that would make the opposition happy to vote for it.

 

Once the process has finished, discuss and write down anything interesting you noticed or found out.

 

Goal reflection:

What are the steps that would follow after this bill has been passed by the House of representatives?

 

 

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