Discovering Democracy Units
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National, state and territory curriculum links

National | ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA


The nationally developed Statements of Learning for Civics and Citizenship includes three ‘Aspects’ that are defined at four levels of schooling (ie Year 3, 5, 7 and 9). The Year 7 Statements of Learning relate to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Year 7

Government and law

  • Students explore the principles underpinning democracy and civil society in Australia, the purpose of the Australia constitution and the roles of each level of government (eg how the constitution describes the key features of the federal system of government and can be amended by referendum).
  • Students understand that the law exists to protect rights and freedoms in a democracy (eg the role of the courts in upholding the law and democratic rights).

Historical perspectives

  • Students explore the impact of particular people, events and movements on Australia’s identity and democracy and consider ways in which people were governed in ancient times.

Australian Capital Territory

The Every chance to learn: Curriculum framework for ACT schools has essential content within the early adolescence band relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Early adolescence band

ELA 21 The student understands about Australia and Australians.


  • 21.EA.4 Past and contemporary people, movements, events and ideas which shaped Australia as a nation with a sense of Australian identity.

ELA 22 The student understands and values what it means to be a citizen in a democracy.

Democratic features

  • 22.EA.2 Features of Australia’s representative democracy including the purpose of the Australian constitution and the role of courts.
  • 22.EA.3 How laws and courts protect democratic rights and freedoms.

Democratic principles

  • 22.EA.7 The principles and institutions that underpin Australia’s representative democracy and civil society.

ELA 23 The student understands world events and issues.

Historical and cultural context

  • 23.EA.6 The main features of some ancient and medieval societies and their relevance for contemporary societies (eg ancient Greece, medieval England).


  • 23.EA.10 Use a range of historical sources to investigate world events and issues.

New South Wales

Learning outcomes within Stage 4 of the History 7–10 Syllabus and the Aboriginal Studies 7-10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Stage 4


Civics and Citizenship is a key focus of the syllabus (eg effects of events on people’s rights and responsibilities).

  • 4.1 Describes and explains the nature of history, the main features of past societies and periods and their legacy.
  • 4.2 Describes significant features of Aboriginal and Indigenous cultures prior to colonisation.
  • 4.4 Identifies major periods of historical time and sequences people and events within specific periods of time.
  • 4.5 Identifies the meaning, purpose and context of historical sources.

Stage 5

Aboriginal Studies

Option 5 Aboriginal Oral and Written Expression’ and ‘Option 9: Interaction with Legal and Political Systems’ include outcomes relevant to Aboriginal customary law:

  • 5.2 Explains ways in which Indigenous peoples maintain their identity.

Northern Territory

Student learning outcomes within bands 3 and 4 of the Studies of Society and Environment Learning Area of the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Band 3

Social Systems and Structures

Time, Continuity and Change

  • Soc 3.1 Investigate the past and how events have impacted on individuals and groups (eg key events and people in ancient and modern history).

Band 4

Social Systems and Structures

Civics, Governance and Social Justice

  • Soc 4.3 Explain the roles, rights and responsibilities of citizens in Australia’s political and legal systems; evaluate how these systems protect the rights of individuals and societies.


Student learning outcomes within Level 5 of the Studies of Society and Environment Years 1 to 10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Level 5

Time, Continuity and Change

  • TCC 5.1 Students use primary and secondary evidence to identify the development of ideas from ancient to modern times.

Culture and Identity

  • CI 5.1 Students investigate aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups (eg codes and creeds).

Systems, Resources and Power

  • SRP 5.4 Students report on the main features and principles of legal systems in Australia (eg statute and common law, courts and tribunals, legal personnel, criminal and contract law, trial by jury, right to fair trial).

South Australia

Standard 4 in Society and Environment of the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework is relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Standard 4

Time, continuity and change

  • (Key Idea) Students investigate and analyse events, ideas, issues and lives of people in their local community, nation and world, identifying patterns, changes, continuities and possible futures (eg the Australian constitution).

Societies and cultures

  • 4.8 Students demonstrate a critical understanding of their own cultural practices in comparison to the histories, cultures and present-day experiences of rural and urban Aboriginal groups.

Social systems

  • 4.10 Students analyse different political, legal and social systems and people’s rights and responsibilities within them.


Strands and performance criteria at Standard 4 in the Society and History Syllabus of The Tasmanian Curriculum are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Standard 4

Strand 2 Democratic values and processes

  • Students understand democratic values and processes in society, government and law (eg Stage 10: how rights and responsibilities are protected in Australian democracy. Also how laws are made; the role of courts in upholding the law and rights; how changing values can affect law over time; the Australian constitution and referenda).

Strand 6 Historical inquiry

  • Students undertake historical inquiries in relation to continuity and change in society (eg how people in ancient societies lived and were governed compared to Australia; how aspects of a medieval society have impacted on Australia today).

Strand 8 Communication

  • Students acquire, critically examine and communicate information.


Standards in the domains of Civics and Citizenship and the Humanities – History within the Victorian Essential Learning Standards are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Level 5

Civics and Citizenship

Civic knowledge and understanding

  • They describe the purposes of laws and the processes of creating and changing them. They identify and question the features and values of Australia’s political and legal systems (eg the English origins of the Australian legal system and the origins of common and statute law).

The Humanities – History

Historical knowledge and understanding

  • They analyse the ways that ancient and medieval societies (eg ancient Greece, medieval England) were governed, identify political features and explain the nature of the political system, the dominant groups and how they established and maintained power. They describe the roles of key individuals and evaluate their contributions and legacies. They demonstrate understanding of key concepts such as the rule of law and justice. They explain the influences of ancient and medieval societies on contemporary societies.

Historical reasoning and interpretation

  • Students frame key research questions, plan their investigations and report on their findings. They use a range of primary and secondary sources (including visual sources) that record features of the societies in their investigations. They identify the content, origin, purpose and context of historical sources.

Western Australia

The K–10 Society and Environment Syllabus (2007) is consistent with other Department of Education and Curriculum Council frameworks and progress maps. There are developmental progressions of broad understandings in a number of strands relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Law’.

Year 8

Time, Continuity and Change

Continuity and Change

  • That continuity and heritage is a feature of all societies (eg the continuity of beliefs, values and ideas).

Interpretations and Perspectives

  • That interpretations and perspectives of history vary (eg that evidence is used to understand past people, events and ideas).

    Natural and Social Systems

    Political and Legal Systems

    • The elements and processes of government and governance (eg the purpose and function of the Australian constitution; interpretation of the constitution by the High Court).
    • The elements and processes of law making and law enforcement (eg the role of statute and common law; different types of law – Aboriginal customary law, law of torts, criminal and civil law; elements of fair trial in Australia; the purpose of referenda; legal systems in other nations).
  • AcknowledgementsLegal Information