Discovering Democracy Units
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Democratic Struggles

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, ‘Democratic Struggles’.

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 secret ballots, universal adult suffrage, referenda).

Historical perspectives

  • Students explore the impact of people, events and movements of the past on Australian identities and democracy and consider ways in which people were governed in ancient times (eg the effects of British colonisation on Indigenous peoples; key ideas in the development of Australian democracy).

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, ‘Democratic Struggles’.

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 (eg role of women; 1967 referendum).


  • 21.EA.11 Find out about, discuss and evaluate historical events using appropriate genres, sources and evidence.

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

Democratic principles

  • 22.EA.4 Key events and ideas in the development of Australian self-government and democracy.
  • 22.EA.7 The principles and institutions that underpin Australia’s representative democracy and civil society (eg secret ballot).

ELA 23 The student understands world events and issues.

Historical and cultural context

  • 23.EA.7 The roles of women in different societies and periods of time relating to world events and issues.

New South Wales

Learning outcomes within Stages 4 and 5 of the History 7–10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Democratic Struggles’.

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 (eg Early Modern societies: significant groups or events that helped shape the modern world).
  • LS.8 Investigates the importance of significant people, events and issues in Australian history (eg Charles Perkins, the 1967 Referendum).

Stage 5


Civics and Citizenship is a key focus of the syllabus (eg effects of events on people’s rights and responsibilities). The Australian content of the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Democratic Struggles’, is more appropriately taught at Middle Secondary levels (ie Stage 5) in New South Wales schools where the history syllabus has outcomes and content relating to Australia in the twentieth century.

  • 5.1 Explains social, political and cultural developments and events and evaluates their impact on Australian life (eg voting rights of different groups at Federation).
  • 5.3 Explains the changing rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples and other groups in Australia (eg women’s suffrage, 1967 Referendum).

Northern Territory

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

Band 4

Social Systems and Structures

Time, Continuity and Change

  • Soc 4.1 Analyse significant ideas, peoples and movements that have shaped societies (eg the growth of democracy).

Civics, Governance and Social Justice

  • Soc 4.3 Explain the roles, rights and responsibilities of citizens in Australia’s political and legal systems, and 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, ‘Democratic Struggles’.

Level 5

Time, Continuity and Change

  • TCC 5.1 Students use primary and secondary evidence to research the development of ideas from ancient to modern times (eg Industrial Revolution).

Culture and Identity

  • CI 5.4 Students describe how governments have caused changes to particular groups.

Systems, Resources and Power

  • (Content: Access to power eg access to democracy in Queensland and Australian political settings such as the right to vote).

South Australia

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

Standard 4

Time, continuity and change

  • 4.3 Students interpret people’s motives and actions from perspectives of power, and relates this to future possibilities using a historical or contemporary event or issue.

Societies and cultures

  • 4.8 Students demonstrate 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 differences between political, legal and social systems and people’s rights and responsibilities.


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

Standard 4

Strand 1 Identity, relationships and culture

  • Students understand how culture and community shape identity and relationships (eg how Indigenous people in Australia have pursued citizenship rights including democratic representation; the 1967 Referendum).

Strand 2 Democratic values and processes

  • Students understand democratic values and processes in society, government and law (eg Stage 10: how democratic processes have changed over time; Stage 11: the operation and purpose of referenda in Australia; Stage 12: how democratic processes are used to effect changes in law. Also how different groups take action based on shared values; turning points in the development of government in Australia).

Strand 4 Interconnections between systems

  • Students understand social, economic and political systems and the connections between them (eg Stage 10: how laws change over time in response to social change; Stage 12: connections between social change and changes in values).

Strand 6 Historical inquiry

  • Students undertake historical inquiries in relation to continuity and change in society (eg key events, ideas and people in the development of Australian democracy). Also investigate a key historical time period (eg Industrial Revolution) which has impacted on an aspect of life 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, ‘Democratic Struggles’.

Level 5

Civics and Citizenship

Civic knowledge and understanding

  • Students explain the origins and features of representative government (eg the British foundations of Australian democracy). They identify significant developments in the governance and achievement of political rights in Australia (eg universal suffrage, secret ballot, the Eureka movement, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and female suffrage).

The Humanities – History

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, ‘Democratic Struggles’.

Year 8

Investigation, Communication and Participation


  • How to locate relevant source information in print, oral and electronic form (eg timelines of periods such as the Industrial Revolution).


Personal, Group and Cultural Identity

  • National identity (eg how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were marginalised in the past through the absence of citizenship and voting rights).

Time, Continuity and Change

Understanding the Past

  • The interrelationship between people, events and ideas (eg feminist movement in Australia; significant people, events and ideas from the past that have shaped present communities by contributing to change).

Continuity and Change

  • That continuity and heritage is a feature of all societies (eg traditions such as egalitarianism).

Interpretations and Perspectives

  • That interpretations and perspectives of history vary (eg that evidence is used to understand past people, events and ideas; that there is/was a range of perspectives such as Indigenous peoples’ and women’s).

Natural and Social Systems

Political and Legal Systems

  • The elements and processes of government and governance (eg how Australian democracy has evolved over time – the Eureka rebellion, the suffragette movement, the movement toward self-determination by Aboriginal people).

Active Citizenship

  • When teaching history, students should be taught the values and processes of social justice and democratic process; and at how people, events and ideas of the past can be used to trace their development.
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