Civics and Citizenship

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Rationale

A deep understanding of Australia's federal system of government and the liberal democratic values that underpin it is essential in enabling students to become active and informed citizens who participate in and sustain Australia’s democracy.

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Aims

The Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship aims to ensure students develop:

a lifelong sense of belonging to and engagement with civic life as an active and informed citizen in the context of Australia as a secular democratic nation with a dynamic, multicultural, multi-faith society and a Christian heritage

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Structure

The Years 7–10 Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship is organised into two interrelated strands: civics and citizenship knowledge and understanding, and civics and citizenship inquiry and skills.

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PDF documents

Resources and support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship are available as PDF documents. 
Civics and Citizenship: Sequence of content 7-10
Civics and Citizenship: Sequence of achievement 7-10  

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Glossary

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Year 8

Year 8 Level Description

The Year 8 curriculum provides a study of the responsibilities and freedoms of citizens and how Australians can actively participate in their democracy. Students consider how laws are made and the types of laws used in Australia. Students also examine what it means to be Australian by identifying the reasons for and influences that shape national identity.

The civics and citizenship content at this year level involves two strands: civics and citizenship knowledge and understanding, and civics and citizenship skills. These strands are interrelated and have been developed to be taught in an integrated way, and in ways that are appropriate to specific local contexts. The order and detail in which they are taught are programming decisions.

Key inquiry questions

A framework for developing students’ civics and citizenship knowledge, understanding and skills at this year level is provided by the following key questions:

  • What are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens in Australia’s democracy?
  • How are laws made and applied in Australia?
  • What different perspectives are there about national identity?

Year 8 Content Descriptions

Government and democracy

The freedoms that enable active participation in Australia’s democracy within the bounds of law, including freedom of speech, association, assembly, religion and movement (ACHCK061 - Scootle )
  • explaining how each freedom supports active participation in Australia’s democracy
  • discussing how and why ‘the bounds of law’ can limit these freedoms
  • considering the circumstances that can lead to dissent in a democracy
  • debating how to manage situations when rights and freedoms are in conflict (for example, whether it should be a matter for parliaments or judges to resolve)
How citizens can participate in Australia’s democracy, including use of the electoral system, contact with their elected representatives, use of lobby groups, and direct action (ACHCK062 - Scootle )
  • comparing the effectiveness of different forms of participation in Australia’s democracy
  • exploring how elected representatives can advocate on behalf of citizens
  • investigating examples where citizens have taken direct action such as organising a public demonstration or social media campaign
  • analysing how opinion polls are conducted and the ways they are used in democratic debate
  • exploring the different ways that citizens can participate in and support Australia’s democracy through their working lives, such as by serving in the armed services or as a reservist, teaching, representing Australia abroad as a diplomat or aid worker, or joining the police service or the public service

Laws and citizens

How laws are made in Australia through parliaments (statutory law) and through the courts (common law) (ACHCK063 - Scootle )
  • comparing some examples of statutes and common laws and the way they are made and outlining the hierarchy of these different types of laws (for example, that statutes will override the common law)
  • distinguishing statutory and common law from executive law (delegated law) and identifying how the Houses of Parliament can disallow delegated legislation
  • discussing examples of recent laws passed through parliaments that enact government policy
The types of law in Australia, including criminal law and civil law, and the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary law (ACHCK064 - Scootle )
  • explaining the difference between criminal law and civil law
  • considering the significance of customary law for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Citizenship, diversity and identity

The values and beliefs of religions practised in contemporary Australia, including Christianity (ACHCK065 - Scootle )
  • identifying Christian traditions that have influenced the development of Australian society, democracy and law
  • identifying the values and beliefs of religions practised in contemporary Australia (for example, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism)
Different perspectives about Australia’s national identity, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, and what it means to be Australian (ACHCK066 - Scootle )
  • investigating representations of Australian identity evident in national day events (such as Anzac Day), and in the media and popular culture, to analyse different perspectives on the interpretation of national identity
  • examining contemporary influences on the shaping of Australian national identity, such as the natural environment, immigration, attitudes to Asia and Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians
How national identity can shape a sense of belonging in Australia’s multicultural society (ACHCK067 - Scootle )
  • examining personal stories to explore how individuals relate to national identity and how it impacts on their sense of belonging in the Australian community
  • exploring the extent of ethnic diversity in Australia

Questioning and research

Develop a range of questions to investigate Australia's political and legal systems (ACHCS068 - Scootle )
  • developing complex and open-ended questions to explore a civics or citizenship topic such as ‘freedoms’ (for example, ‘What do our freedoms mean in practice?’ and ‘What do you consider to be the most important freedom?’)
Identify, gather and sort information and ideas from a range of sources (ACHCS069 - Scootle )
  • identifying sources offering different perspectives on an issue (for example, finding out about the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary law)
  • collating a list of different sources of information and prioritising the list based on an assessment of usefulness and reliability

Analysis, synthesis and interpretation

Critically analyse information and ideas from a range of sources in relation to civics and citizenship topics and issues (ACHCS070 - Scootle )
  • examining language choices in a range of texts to identify purpose, audience and reliability (for example, those used by candidates in an election campaign or by a lobby group)
  • using a variety of sources to develop conclusions about Australian national identity

Problem-solving and decision-making

Appreciate multiple perspectives and use strategies to mediate differences (ACHCS071 - Scootle )
  • using empathy to appreciate the influences or circumstances that may have informed different perspectives
  • recognising assumptions in their own and other people’s thinking when mediating differences
  • using culturally inclusive behaviours during class discussions and meetings
Use democratic processes to reach consensus on a course of action relating to a civics or citizenship issue and plan for that action (ACHCS072 - Scootle )
  • participating in a simulation to achieve consensus (for example, a mock court case or parliamentary committee)
  • working in groups to evaluate the options before deciding on any course of action (for example, to influence change relating to a current event or issue)

Communication and reflection

Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS073 - Scootle )
  • using appropriate terms and concepts such as ‘freedoms’, ‘responsibilities’, ‘statutory law’ and ‘customary law’
  • creating material for public distribution with a specific purpose and context (for example, an advertisement promoting participation in Australia’s democracy)
Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australia’s democracy (ACHCS074 - Scootle )
  • considering how personal experiences and circumstances influence their identity as a citizen and how they relate to others
  • considering the factors that shape the way they meet their responsibilities as a citizen (for example, where they live)

Year 8 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 8, students analyse features of Australian democracy, and explain features of Australia’s democracy that enable active participation. They recognise different types of law in Australia and explain how laws are made. They identify the diverse belief systems in Australia and analyse issues about national identity and the factors that contribute to people’s sense of belonging.

When researching, students develop a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance. They explain different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. When planning for action, students take into account multiple perspectives, use democratic processes, and develop solutions to an issue. Students develop and present reasoned arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts. They identify ways they can be active and informed citizens in different contexts.