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.
The Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship provides students with opportunities to investigate political and legal systems, and explore the nature of citizenship, diversity and identity in contemporary society. Emphasis is placed on the federal system of government, derived from the Westminster system, and the liberal democratic values that underpin it such as freedom, equality and the rule of law. The curriculum explores how the people, as citizens, choose their governments; how the system safeguards democracy by vesting people with civic rights and responsibilities; how laws and the legal system protect people’s rights; and how individuals and groups can influence civic life.
The curriculum recognises that Australia is a secular nation with a multicultural, multi-faith society and a Christian heritage, and promotes the development of inclusivity by developing students’ understanding of broader values such as respect, civility, equity, justice and responsibility. It acknowledges the experiences and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their identities within contemporary Australia. While the curriculum strongly focuses on the Australian context, students also reflect on Australia’s position and international obligations and the role of citizens today, both within Australian and in an interconnected world.
Through the study of civics and citizenship, students can develop skills of inquiry, values and dispositions that enable them to be active and informed citizens; to question, understand and contribute to the world in which they live. The curriculum also offers opportunities for students to develop a wide range of general skills and capabilities, including an appreciation of diverse perspectives, empathy, collaboration, negotiation, self-awareness and intercultural understanding.
The Civics and Citizenship curriculum aims to reinforce students’ appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a citizen. It explores ways in which students can actively shape their lives, value their belonging in a diverse and dynamic society, and positively contribute locally, nationally, regionally and globally. As reflective, active and informed decision-makers, students will be well placed to contribute to an evolving and healthy democracy that fosters the wellbeing of Australia as a democratic nation.