Discovering Democracy Units
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What Sort of Nation?

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 9 Statements of Learning relate to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

Year 9

Historical perspectives

  • Students explore how and why civic and political rights, government policies and national identity have changed over time in Australia (eg how immigration policies have changed; changes in Australian citizenship).

Australian Capital Territory

The Every chance to learn: Curriculum framework for ACT schools has essential content within the later adolescence band relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

Later adolescence band

ELA 21 The student understands about Australia and Australians.


  • 21.LA.3 The development of multiculturalism in Australia and changes in government policies on issues (including immigration) and their impact.

Contemporary society

  • 21.LA.6 Ways in which Australia is presented nationally and internationally (eg stereotypes of Australian people and places).

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

Active citizenship

  • 22.LA.9 Changes in Australian citizenship over time and reasons why people choose to become Australian citizens.

New South Wales

Learning outcomes within Stage 5 of the History 7–10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

Stage 5


Civics and Citizenship is a key focus of the syllabus (eg events and issues of political significance and their impact on the changing nature of civic institutions and civil society).

  • 5.1 Explains social, political and cultural developments and events and evaluates their impact on Australian life (eg work and social security: working conditions at the time of Federation; major social legislation pre-1914, invalid and old-age pension schemes. Migration: a migrant group in the post-WWII period; changing patterns of migration 1945–2000; 1970s boat people; multiculturalism.)
  • 5.2 Assesses the impact of international events and relationships on Australia’s history (eg migration: the impact of the Vietnam War on Indo-Chinese refugees).
  • 5.5 Identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical resources (eg Migration: reasons for, and outcomes of, the Immigration Restriction Act 1901).
  • LS.6 Explores significant developments in Australian social and cultural history (eg migration: origins of migrants post-1945, reasons for migration, experiences and conditions of post-war migrants).

Northern Territory

Student learning outcomes within Band 5 and Beyond Band 5 of the Studies of Society and Environment Learning Area of the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

Band 5

Social Systems and Structures

Time, Continuity and Change

  • Soc 5.1 Analyse how past forces and events have shaped contemporary communities (eg the White Australia policy and post-war migration).

Values, Beliefs and Cultural Diversity

  • Soc 5.4 Critically evaluate the cultural and social structures, values and beliefs of communities and groups that impact on and influence behaviour, attitudes and actions (eg historical influences on present and future Australian identity/identities).

Beyond Band 5

Social Systems and Structures

Time, Continuity and Change

  • Soc 5+.1 Analyse and critically evaluate how the context of historical movements and events change; influences and impacts on national and global interpretations of history (eg Australia’s changing attitudes to ethnic and cultural groups).


Life roles

  • Ent 5+.2 Critically evaluate trends that determine changes within the workplace, and identify alternative directions and responses to workplace issues (eg statistical data on features and possible employment trends).


Student learning outcomes within Level 6 of the Studies of Society and Environment Years 1 to 10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

Level 6

Time, Continuity and Change

  • TCC D6.7 Students explain various groups’ perspectives on the values of peace and social justice.

Culture and Identity

  • CI 6.4 Students describe instances of cultural change resulting from government legislation or policies that have impacted on cultural groups (eg immigration).

Systems, Resources and Power

  • SRP 6.3 Students advocate to influence Australia’s role in future global economies or environments (eg bilateral and unilateral agreements).

South Australia

Standards 5 in Society and Environment of the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework is relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

Standard 5

Time, continuity and change

  • 5.1 Critically analyses different interpretations of events, ideas and issues, including an understanding of the relationship between power and historical representation (eg the identity of Australia, including how it has ignored various Indigenous and immigrant groups over time; reasons for migration to Australia over time and the effects of this).

    Place, space and environment

    • 5.4 Analyses and justifies personal views about similarities and differences between regions, in Australia and globally (eg identifies the built features of regions such as population, resources and economics and identifies patterns and factors associated with changes).

    Social systems

    • 5.10 Compares features of economies and how they impact on national systems, individuals and environments in poor and rich countries (eg the economic rationale and advantages/disadvantages of free trade and protection; how tariffs and quotas have been used to protect economies; workers’ rights).


    Strands and Performance criteria at Standard 5 in the Society and History Syllabus of The Tasmanian Curriculum are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

    Standard 5

    Strand 1 Identity, relationships and culture

    • Students understand how culture and community shape identity and relationships (eg key events and ideas in the development of Australia into an independent self-governing democracy; how government policies on immigration, citizenship and refugees have influenced cultural diversity).

    Strand 2 Democratic values and processes

    • Students understand democratic values and processes in society, government and the law (eg Stage 13: changes in government policy and decision making at a national and global level; Stage 15: differences between popular or short-term government policies and long-term social and economic goals).

    Strand 4 Interconnections between systems

    • Students understand social, economic and political systems and the connections between them (eg statistical analysis of Australia’s imports and exports and global competitiveness; the effects of trade agreements).

    Strand 6 Historical inquiry

    • Students undertake historical inquiries in relation to continuity and change in society (eg reasons for, and patterns of, post-war migration and citizenship).

    Strand 7 Philosophical inquiry

    • Students undertake philosophical inquiries into issues and beliefs in society (eg how values or attitudes to a social or ethical issue have changed or persisted over time).

    Strand 8 Communication

    • Students acquire, critically examine and communicate information.


    Standards in the domains of Civics and Citizenship, The Humanities – History and Economics within the Victorian Essential Learning Standards are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

    Level 6

    Civics and Citizenship

    Civic knowledge and understanding

    • Students explain the development of a multicultural society and the values necessary to maintain it (eg past and present government immigration policies; the concept of Australian identity and the contributions of various cultural groups; the development of Australian citizenship over time).

    Humanities – Economics

    Economic knowledge and understanding

    • Students describe how markets, government policies affect the economy (and) society in terms of employment, economic growth and the use of resources, exports and imports. They analyse how goods and services are produced, how markets work, and the role of exchange, trade and globalisation in influencing Australia’s standard of living.

    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, ‘What Sort of Nation?’.

    Year 9


    People and work

    • How the role of workers and the purpose of their work affects the workplace (eg entry conditions, work opportunities).


    Beliefs and Culture

    • That cultural groups have values and beliefs, characteristics and influences (eg Australia is a pluralist society with influences from a range of ethnic groups).
    • National identity (eg national identity is influenced by family, cultural and natural heritage and histories that change over time).

    Natural and Social Systems

    Economic systems

    • The elements and interrelationships in the economic system (eg government organisations support people in need through social welfare payments).

    Year 10


    People and work

    • How the role of workers and the purpose of their work affects the workplace.


    Beliefs and Culture

    • National identity (eg national identity has been constructed as a result of interaction between groups from within Australian society and other societies; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity influences contemporary Australian society and identity).

    Time, Continuity and Change

    Interpretations and Perspectives

    • That interpretations and perspectives of history vary (eg views of the White Australia policy have changed over time).

    Natural and Social Systems

    Political and Legal Systems

    • The elements and processes of law making and law enforcement (eg international conventions and treaties impact on Australia’s international relationships in areas such as trade).

    Economic systems

    • The elements and interrelationships in the economic system (eg economic links and cooperation between countries creates opportunities and issues).
  • AcknowledgementsLegal Information