Discovering Democracy Units
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The People Make a 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 5 and Year 7 Statements of Learning relate to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘The People Make a Nation’.

Year 5

Government and law

  • Students understand that Australia is a democracy based on a constitution, shared values and specific civic features (eg elections, parliaments, political parties).

Historical perspectives

  • Students explore how Australian identities and civil society have changed over time (eg colonisation to federation; significant people and events in the development of democracy in Australia).
  • 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 key features of the federal system of government and the role of referendums; functions of government).

    Historical perspectives

    • Students explore the impact of particular people, events and movements on Australian identities and 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, ‘The People Make a Nation’.

    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 Federation).


    • 21.EA.10 Sequence key historical events to create a narrative of a key period in Australian history.
    • 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.

    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 People Make a Nation’.

    Stage 3

    Change and Continuity

    Significant Events and People

    • CCS3.1 Explains the significance of particular people, groups, places, actions and events in developing Australia’s identity and heritage (eg origins of events of national significance).

    Time and Change

    • CCS3.2 Explains the development of the principles of Australian democracy (eg significant developments in self-government from colonisation to Federation; reasons for Federation; key figures in Australian parliamentary democracy such as Henry Parkes; issues that have influenced the development of Australian democracy such as the republican movement).



    • CUS3.3 Describes the different cultural influences and their contribution to Australian democracy (eg current events that are influencing Australian identity such as the republican movement).

    Social Systems and Structures

    Roles, Rights and Responsibilities

    • SSS3.8 Explains the structures, roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes of state and federal governments (eg government structures and responsibilities; the interdependence of state and federal responsibilities).

    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 People Make a Nation’.

    Band 3

    Social Systems and Structures

    Civics, Governance and Social Structures

    • Soc 3.3 Research and describe features of familiar political and law systems (eg the responsibilities of the three levels of government in Australia).


    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 People Make a Nation’.

    Level 3

    Time, Continuity and Change

    • TCC 3.2 Students create sequences and timelines about specific Australian changes and continuities.
    • TCC 3.4 Students organise information about the causes and effects of specific historical events.

    Level 4

    Time, Continuity and Change

    • TCC 4.1 Students use primary sources to investigate situations before and after a change in Australian and global settings.

    Systems, Resources and Power

    • SRP 4.4 Students present comparisons of government and citizenship in pre- and post-Federation Australia.

    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 People Make a Nation’.

    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 power, democracy and colonisation).

    Social systems

    • 3.10 Discusses examples of forms and structures of Australian and other governments over time.

    Standard 4

    Time, continuity and change

    • 4.3 Interprets 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

    • 4.10 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 People Make a Nation’.

    Standard 3

    Strand 2 Democratic values and processes

    • Students understand democratic values and processes in society, government and law (eg Stage 7: operation and role of governments in Australia; Stage 8: how citizens are represented in the lower and upper houses at a state and federal level. Also powers of the upper house of state and federal parliament).

    Strand 6 Historical inquiry

    • Students undertake historical inquiries in relation to continuity and change in society (eg Stage 7: use primary and secondary sources to explore cause and effect in Australian history; Stage 8: key events in Australian history; Stage 9: use different sources to explore Australian history).

    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 People Make a Nation’.

    Level 4

    Civics and Citizenship

    Civic knowledge and understanding

    • Students describe the nature of Australian democracy that developed as a result of Federation (ie origins and establishment of the Australian nation at Federation). They describe the three levels of government and some of the key functions of each level. They explain the basic elements of Australia’s federal parliamentary system.

    The Humanities – History

    Historical knowledge and understanding

    • Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of significant events in Australian history (eg the moves to self-government, Federation).

    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 People Make a Nation’.

    Year 6 and 7

    Investigation, Communication and Participation


    • That when focusing on what happens in political and legal systems, questions are asked about (eg How is the federal government elected?).

    Time, Continuity and Change

    Understanding the Past

  • Methods for sequencing the past (eg how events and ideas can be compared and contrasted between different time periods in history such as colonisation and Federation).

    Continuity and Change

    • That change is a feature of all societies (eg how over time significant people, events and ideas have influenced the beliefs and traditions of a community).

    Natural and Social Systems

    Political and Legal Systems

    • The elements and processes of government and governance (eg structures, functions and responsibilities of each level of government; how the federal systems of government developed; representation and decision-making in Australian democracy; the role of the Australian constitution).
  • AcknowledgementsLegal Information