Discovering Democracy Units
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Focus question 1: What role do political parties have in parliament and government?

ESL activities

Teacher instructions

Conduct activities 1, 2, 3, 4. Activity 6 is optional.

Activity 1 | Activity 2 | Activity 3 | Activity 4 | Activity 6 | Assessment task


Vocabulary: parliament, government, Australian Electoral Commission, enrol, Commonwealth, election, compulsory voting, citizen, polling booth, political party, how-to-vote cards, candidate, political system, party policy.

  • Explain the focus question and the introductory information.

Activity 1: Class discussion

Vocabulary: party, policy, major party, independent candidates, Member of Parliament, cast a vote, House of Representatives, Senate, electorate, one parliamentary term, balance of power, Liberal Party (of Australia), National Party (of Australia), coalition, opposition, cabinet, legislation, Bills, shadow ministers, monarch, governor-general.

  • Conduct 1a as described, recording responses on the board.
  • Conduct 1b and 1c as a small group activity. Teacher records the groups' issues on the board, and clarifies as required.
  • Conduct 1d as described.
  • Two options for approaching Briefing 1a:
-   Discuss the purple section of The Commonwealth Government poster instead of part 1 of the briefing. Poster
-   Alternatively, create a simple diagram showing the construction of the Australian Parliament in two houses and the Governor-General's position.
-   Explain briefly how the Australian citizen is represented in each house. For example:
  • House of Representatives - has one member from each of 148 electorates all around Australia. Each electorate is an area with about 75,000 people. Every voter is equal.
  • Senate - has 12 Senators elected from each State and 2 from each Territory. Every State is equal, not every voter.
  • Use the Commonwealth Government poster or the simple diagram to explain the process for electing a parliament and forming a government.

Activity 2: Who forms the government?

Vocabulary: Australian Democrats, Australian Labor Party.

  • Review the requirements to form a government.
  • Use an OHT of the table to introduce the topic.
  • Students work in pairs to complete 2b. Discuss responses.
  • Conduct 2b to 2f as a class discussion. Record on the board the advantages and disadvantages related to the Senate's power. Students copy these into their workbooks.

Activity 3: Who does what in government?

Vocabulary: electorate, party, government, prime minister, minister, cabinet, House of Representatives, Senate, candidate, debate, parliament, Members of Parliament, legislation, pre-selection, campaign, Federation, party room, chamber.

  • Students, working in pairs, use the information from Activity 1/Briefing 1a to complete parts 3a and 3b.
  • Conduct 3c as described.

Activity 4: Defining and explaining

Vocabulary: discipline, uniform view, conscience vote, euthanasia, re-endorsed, expell, backbencher, shadow minister.

  • Students, still working in pairs, complete part 4a only, recording responses in their workbooks.

Activity 6: Is the party in government an elected dictatorship? (optional)

Vocabulary: block passage of a Bill, set straight, doorstop interview, leaked documents, conflict of interest, barrage of questions, question time, polling.

  • Conduct this as a whole class activity.
  • Explain the background.
  • For 6a, work through the newspaper clippings with the class, explaining jargon.
  • Continue with 6b and 6c as described.

Assessment task

  • ESL learners work in pairs on the assessment task.
  • Reduce the requirements of the task, for example, omit the third bullet point.

Back to 'Parties Control Parliament - At a glance'

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