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How Government is Formed AND From Bill to Law


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

PART 1: How Government is Formed


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


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.)



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.


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



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 …


PART 2: From Bill to Law


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?


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?



Drafting our Infographics



I can use my notes and plan to draft the information for my infographic


Share your plan- share a detail that will go in each section

New Information:

Each paragraph in an information text should be easy to follow. A simple way to ORGANISE this is :

To write an informative paragraph, follow these steps.

  • Introduce the subject using a clear topic sentence.
  • State facts about the subject in a logical order.
  • Describe the subject using appropriate technical vocabulary.
  • Conclude with a statement about the subject.

When writing an informative paragraph, it is important to focus on one aspect of the subject. When you are ready to move on to another aspect of the subject, it is time to begin a new paragraph

You may choose to use engaging techniques  (e.g?) but always remember your primary Author’s Purpose is to inform- If your humour or style gets in the way of the message it may not be appropriate for your purpose


When drafting your paragraphs use your plan and your notes to construct paragraphs.

You may choose to make a poster, use word including shapes, pictures and text boxes, create a Powerpoint with infographic elements.

You may instead choose to publish using online tools (will need signup). You will need to experiment with aspects before you begin.

But you must have your draft written or typed and conferenced before publishing in this form


  • Draft information that will be inside infographic and review before attempting publication
  • Use your notes- make sure you turn it into your own words
  • Use your plan to guide you as to what headings you will write and what
  • Draft information that will be inside infographic and review before attempting publication
  • Use your notes and you plan to help to help you
  • Create paragraphs using the outlined structure

Preferential Voting



I can explain how preferential voting works and why it is used in Australia.


You’re in the mood for a chocolate bar/lolly/snack- you ask your parents and they give you $2 to go down to the milk bar- tell your partner what you’re planning to buy when you get there….




You get there and they have none of that!

Tell your partner what you’d do.




Share some responses to hear that some would buy their 2nd or 3rd choice

This is similar in some ways to our voting system.

You want a certain candidate but if they are not going to be elected you still want to be involved and choose another!



Preferential Voting: 03/09/2013, Behind the News

There are different voting systems used throughout the world.

Many countries use a simple majority system (also known as first past the post)
to elect representatives to parliament. Simple majority means that the person with the most votes is elected to the position. A country that uses this system is Great Britain.
An example of simple majority:
Twenty five students voted for the SRC class representative:
4 voted for candidate 1
6 voted for candidate 2
10 voted for candidate 3
5 voted for candidate 4
Most people voted for candidate 3. In a country that uses a simple majority vote candidate 3 would be elected as the representative because they received the greatest number of votes.

Australia uses preferential voting to elect representatives to parliament.
Voters must list candidates in order of their preference on the ballot paper. For example:

most preferred candidate -1s

econd preferred  candidate-2 and so on.

A candidate must receive over 50% of the vote- an absolute majority to be elected. In the above example candidate 3 would not be elected because they had not received over 50% of the vote (that is
13 votes.) because 15 students did not vote for candidate 3. If a voters first preference is unable to secure enough votes to be elected, their second preference is counted during a second count. For example candidate 1 only received 4 votes, so the voters’ vote would be transferred to their second preference.
The same example using preferential voting system with absolute majority:
1st count    2nd count        3rd count
Candidate 1                            ——                    ——
Candidate 2             6               6+1 = 7                   7+ 2= 9
Candidate 3             10           10+2 =12                12+4 = 16
Candidate 4             5               5+1 = 6                 ——-

———— ———— ———— ———— ———— —–
Total                         25              25                            25


Last weekend there was an election in the electorate of Batman.

Here are 2 “How to vote” cards from 2 candidates- what do you notice?

Here are the early results:

discuss what might happen……

WHY is all of this done? why not just make it the candidate with the most votes?


Use the dinner ballot sheet provided to vote on what’s for dinner.

Have a first past the post count and see how many people were UNHAPPY with the result compared to those who were between OK to HAPPY with the result.

Now do a preferential count. Now see how many people were UNHAPPY with the result compared to those who were between OK to HAPPY with the result.



Usually it is found that with a preferential count, fewer people are UNHAPPY. Why?


Goal Reflection:

Which do you prefer for elections-first past the post or preferential? Why?



Compulsory voting


Image result for compulsory voting


I understand the concept of compulsory voting in Australia.



When we voted for our SRC rep, was it ok not to vote for anyone? Why?


New Information:

Research compulsory voting in Australia using one of these sources-take notes.

Australian Electoral Commission – group with teacher


Academic kids

The Conversation



Image result for compulsory voting




Related image


Join together with someone who has read one of the other sources-compare your notes and make a PMI table for compulsory voting

Which side are you on?

Join that side and try to share the arguments- Conduct a mini debate using the information gathered on compulsory voting.

Each person should present 1 point for their side. Can you use some persuasive writing techniques?

People on opposing side may take notes on their opposition for rebuttal at the end.

Facilitate a discussion around the consequences of people not exercising their democratic right to vote for representatives in an election.


Goal reflection:

Do you think compulsory voting will continue for Australia into the future? Why/why not?

Tier 3 language in information texts -Australian Government


Tier 3 language is used in information texts as it is precise language and shows you have ‘authority’.

Identify at least three tier 2 and 3 words from one of these readings

government fact sheets

(you might use your dictionary Chrome extension to check the meaning)


What are some words that you might find useful in our topic work – list them.

What’s a REPRESENTATIVE Democracy?


Image result for australian parliament



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




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

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



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.



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



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?

3 Levels of Lawmaking



I  can describe the function of the three levels of government in Australia



List how many different people, beyond your family and teachers, make decisions that affect you. Also record the types of decisions

New Information:

Three Levels of Government-video of yesterday’s reading


Brainstorm in small groups: ‘What services are needed to run a country?’ Discuss the answers with the whole class. As a class, watch the video ‘Three Levels of Government’.



Create this:

scroll down and watch the video

using information you already have as well as using the following resources:

Three Levels of Government Interactive

Levels of Government: 31/05/2016, Behind the News

3 levels of gvt worksheet 1

3 levels of gvt worksheet 2

3 levels of gvt worksheet 3


Finding Facts & Details


Goal: I can identify important facts and details in an information text


Write the main idea of a television program you watched in the past few days.

Write 3 important things that happened in  the TV show.


  • You can find the facts and details in a reading passage by thinking about the main idea.
  • You may be able to find the main idea in the title, the first line, the last line, or by drawing together what you know about the whole text
  • Once you know the main idea, you can find the details that tell more about the main idea.
  • Look for sentences that provide information about the main idea and tell the who, what, when, where, why and how..about the main idea
  • The main idea is BROAD, while the details are SPECIFIC


use the graphic organiser to identify the important details in this text

Graphic Organiser-

Goal Reflection:

Turn and talk – do the facts and details you came up with match your partner? What is the same/different?

Write a reflection showing  what you discovered.



Using apostrophes can be quite tricky. They are used for possession and abbreviation, but there are a bunch of rules and exceptions.

Choose one of these 2 slideshows to follow to consolidate your understanding of apostrophes.

  1. This Powerpoint gives a good outline & explanation of rules, and activities to practise. Year 6s will have seen this presentation last year, but may choose to do it again if they a bit unsure of the rules and would like revision.      When to use an Apostrophe   Download and open the PowerPoint- choose a partner to work with
  2. This website is a great resource to learn and practise. It offers more complex investigation. Most of the slides have activities embedded in them so don’t just click ‘next’ after reding a slid- see if there’s something to click on. If you’re unsyre of answers, there’s also a ‘hint’ button at the top. This requires Flash which you may have to ‘allow’ on Chrome, or else, open it in Internet Explorer browser-choose a partner to work with.



What is the Australian system of government?


Building Blocks of Australia’s Government

Click on the links to help you answer the questions

Take notes to answer the questions , and on any other aspects of Australia’s government you find interesting.

What does ‘system of government’ mean?-make your own definition

What is democracy?– go to the “Freedom to Choose ” activity

What is Australia’s 2 systems of government?

What other countries influenced Australia’s system of government?






In your own words describe what are the key aspects of Australia’s system of government? Frame it as a message to your parents.

Record what questions you still have about Australia’s system of government.

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Word of the day

Word of the Day


Definition: A rude expression intended to offend or hurt.
Synonyms: insult,

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