Discovering Democracy Units
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Getting Things Done

At a glance

Focus question 1: How can Australian citizens influence government action?

Content Activities
(Assessment tasks are in bold italics.)
  • Introduction
  • Pair activity: ways in which we try to influence others
  • The South-west: portrait of a region
  • Comprehension and review: features of the Franklin River area
  • The South-west: not just an area of beauty
  • Perspectives: (a) officer of the Hydro-Electric Commission and (b) conservationist
  • Strategies of citizen action groups


  • Analysis of video: aims, types of action proposed, and likely success or failure
  • Citizen action: sources discussing the Franklin dam dispute
  • Video and source analysis: types of direct citizen action, purposes and relevance
  • Discussion: what would you have done?
  • Preparation of a letter to a newspaper: comment on the actions of activists
  • Show the video segment Saving the Franklin
  • Prepare a suitable table for use by students

Teaching and learning activities

Focus question 2: How do governments and political parties respond to new issues?

Content Activities
(Assessment tasks are in bold italics.)
  • Definitions: political parties and public policy
  • Definition and comparison: party policy, public policy, political values and power
  • Description: the political values of the Labor and Liberal parties
  • Comparison of Labor and Liberal: States' rights and central power
  • Comprehension
  • Making public policy: parliament, interest groups, the public service, and the media
  • Research: objectives and methods of interest groups
  • Arrange access to a collection of newspapers
  • Economic development and the environment
  • Comprehension: hydro-electricity and unemployment
  • Timeline: development of the Franklin dam issue
  • Summary via table completion: pressure, actions, outcomes
  • Simulation: the Lowe Government Cabinet
  • Analysis: congruence of party beliefs and government action
  • Discussion: factors involved and evolving government responses
  • Discussion and summary: Tasmanian reactions and responses
  • National versus Tasmanian opinion
  • Analysis: opinion poll data, newspaper comment and party conference decisions
  • Simulation: party debates, speech preparation and delivery
  • Use the Parliament at Work CD ROM section on the working of parliamentary committees.
  • Arrange access to the CD ROM material for small groups or the whole class

Teaching and learning activities

Focus question 3: How can Australian citizens influence the media and how does the media influence governments and political parties?

Content Activities
(Assessment tasks are in bold italics.)
  • Interest groups, political parties and the media
  • Discussion and reporting: public issues that have recently attracted media attention
  • Tasmanian
    Wilderness Society
    and the media
  • Comprehension: use
    made of the media
  • Discussion: media
    slants and
  • Design a media campaign for the pro-dam lobby; produce media releases and a pamphlet; develop a plan and produce a storyboard for television footage
  • Collect or arrange access to sources from Stories of Democracy CD ROM
  • Arrange for access to video Saving the Franklin
  • The effectiveness of the Wilderness Society's campaign
  • Analysis: the views of the Tasmanian Premier and population and those in other States

Teaching and learning activities

Focus question 4: How are disputes between State and Federal governments resolved?

Content Activities
(Assessment tasks are in bold italics.)
  • Two Tasmanian views: pro-states' rights
  • Simulation of television interviews: the views of Tasmanians, in differing contexts
  • Tasmania and the Commonwealth lock horns
  • Australia: a Federation of States
  • Summary and discussion: division of government powers
  • Download Section 51 of the Australian Constitution from Stories of Democracy CD ROM
  • The role of the High Court in Constitutional disputes between State and Federal govts
  • Comprehension and analysis
  • The High Court and the Franklin dam case
    - Arguments against the High Court decision
    - Arguments in favour of the court decision
  • Comprehension: table completion, sources of arguments
  • Summary and discussion: arguments in favour of the High Court decision
  • Report: Despite both the Labor and Liberal Governments in Tasmania wanting to dam the Franklin, the river runs free today. How did this happen and was it in the best interests of the country?

Teaching and learning activities

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