Discovering Democracy Units
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The Law Rules

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 5 and Year 7 Statements of Learning relate to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘The Law Rules’.

Year 5

Government and law

  • Students understand that Australia is a democracy based on a constitution, shared values and specific civic features (eg the role of parliament is to make laws).
  • Students consider the purpose of laws within a democracy (eg punishment and restorative justice; key personnel in the legal system whose role is to protect people’s rights).

Historical perspectives

  • Students explore how Australian identities and civil society have changed over time (eg key civic terms that have been inherited from other times and places; operation of the law in early colonial Australia).

Year 7

Government and law

  • Students understand that the law exists to protect rights and freedoms in a democracy (eg how changing values can influence the law; the role of the courts in upholding the law and democratic rights).

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 (eg the impact of British colonisation on Indigenous peoples).

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, ‘The Law Rules’.

Early adolescence band

ELA 21 The student understands about Australia and Australians.


  • 21.EA.3 Indigenous perspectives on colonisation and how Indigenous lives were affected (eg frontier wars, dispossession and land disputes).


  • 21.EA.11 Find out about, discuss and evaluate historical events using appropriate genres, sources and evidence.
  • 21.EA.12 Identify and suggest reasons for different perspectives in accounts of history and contemporary society.

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

Democratic features

  • 22.EA.3 How laws and courts protect democratic rights and freedoms, impact on people’s lives and change to reflect community values.

Active citizenship

  • 22.EA.10 Ways in which governments make decisions and how these decisions impact on people.

New South Wales

Learning outcomes within Stage 3 of the Human Society & Its Environment K–6 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘The Law Rules’.

Stage 3

Change and Continuity

Significant Events and People

  • CCS3.1 Explains the significance of particular people, groups, places, actions and events in developing Australian identities and heritage.

Time and Change

  • CCS3.2 Explains the development of the principles of Australian democracy (eg examples of past exclusion from Australian citizenship and the effects on Aboriginal peoples; instances where democratic aims have not been met).

Social Systems and Structures

Roles, Rights and Responsibilities

  • SSS3.8 Explains the structures, roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes of state and federal governments, and explains why Australians value fairness and socially just principles (eg how laws are developed and changed; responsibilities of the judiciary and the executive arms of government to carry out laws passed; instances where democratic beliefs have not been met).

Northern Territory

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

Band 3

Social Systems and Structures

Civics, Governance and Social Justice

  • Soc 3.3 Research and describe features of familiar political and law systems and analyse how choices, opportunities and conflict affect people’s life chances (eg the responsibilities of governments).


Student learning outcomes within Levels 3 and 4 of the Studies of Society and Environment Years 1 to 10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘The Law Rules’.

Level 3

Time, Continuity and Change

  • TCC 3.4 Students organise information about the causes and effects of specific historical events.
  • TCC 3.5 Students describe various perspectives based on the experiences of past and present Australians of diverse cultural backgrounds.

Culture and Identity

  • CI 3.5 Students explain changing attitudes in different time periods towards ethnicity.

    Systems, Resources and Power

    • SRP 3.5 Students explain the values associated with familiar laws.

    Level 4

    Time, Continuity and Change

    • TCC D4.6 Students investigate how ethnicity has influenced attitudes towards a particular group.

    Culture and Identity

    • CI D4.7 Students use the available information about Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander groups to make inferences about the attitudes of colonial settlers towards these groups in the nineteenth century.

    South Australia

    Standards 3 and 4 in Society and Environment of the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘The Law Rules’.

    Standard 3

    Time, Continuity and Change

    • 3.1 Identifies and explains sequences of change that have occurred in Australia over time, and recognises various perspectives on events.
    • 3.2 Researches and discusses the importance of understanding events and ways of life of some past periods, using primary and secondary sources (eg views, evaluates and reports on relevant issues relating to a chosen topic).
    • 3.8 Learns from rural and urban Aboriginal peoples about their histories (eg common themes in the histories of Aboriginal peoples).

    Standard 4

    Societies and cultures

    • 4.8 Demonstrates critical understanding of their own cultural practices in comparison to the histories, cultures and present day experiences of rural and urban Aboriginal groups (eg effects of colonisation and repressive laws).
    • 4.10 Analyses differences between political, legal and social systems and people’s rights and responsibilities.


    Strands and performance criteria at Standard 3 in the Society and History Syllabus of The Tasmanian Curriculum are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘The Law Rules’.

    Standard 3

    Strand 2 Democratic values and processes

    • Students understand democratic values and processes in society, government and law (eg Stage 7: how laws are made and applied in Australia; Stage 8: each level of government makes particular laws; Stage 9: State and federal lower houses make the laws).

    Strand 7 Philosophical inquiry

    • Students undertake philosophical inquiries into issues and beliefs in society (eg underlying beliefs and values of Australia’s democracy).

    Strand 8 Communication

    • Students acquire, critically examine and communicate information.


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

    Level 4

    Civics and Citizenship

    Civic knowledge and understanding

    • Students explain key democratic principles and values such as equality before the law, the independence of the judiciary and the presumption of innocence. They demonstrate understanding of the process of making and changing laws (eg the role of parliaments).

    The Humanities – History

    Historical knowledge and understanding

    • Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of significant events in Australian history including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, European settlement, the development of the colonies …

    Historical reasoning and interpretation

    • Students use a range of primary and secondary sources to investigate the past. They comprehend and question sources and make judgements about the views being expressed, the completeness of the evidence, and the values represented. They use historical language and concepts to develop historical explanations. They present their understandings in a range of forms.

    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, ‘The Law Rules’.

    Year 6 and 7 Investigation, Communication and Participation


    • That, when focusing on what happens in political and legal systems, questions are asked about (eg What rights and responsibilities do citizens of a democracy have?).

    Natural and Social Systems

    Political and Legal Systems

    • The elements and processes of government and governance (eg key features of Australian democracy such as equality before the law).
    • The elements and processes of law-making and law enforcement (eg laws are made by parliaments and precedents established in courts).
  • AcknowledgementsLegal Information