Glossary (Version 8.4)

A system of government in which executive is formed from, and responsible to, a parliament, and a head of government (for example, the Prime Minister) is different from a head of state (for example, the Queen).

In social sciences, a regularity in data portrayed in graphs or maps, for example, a decline in population density or rainfall in Australia with increasing distance from the coast.

In geography, people’s subjective assessment of places and environments.

In humanities and social sciences, a world view or a set of ideas or beliefs that guide actions. Perspectives draw on a person’s or group’s age, gender experiences, cultural or religious background, ideologies and/or intellectual contexts, which influence their world view and inform their opinions, values, and actions. Two types of perspective can be considered: those ‘of’ people, and perspectives ‘on’ events and phenomena of the past and present. Also see point of view.

In geography, parts of the earth’s surface that are identified and given meaning by people, which may be perceived, experienced, understood and valued differently.

Looking at someone or something from a location or position. In the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences, an individual’s view about a particular person, event or phenomena, which may be irrational and/or immediately sensed, or deeply considered and reflective. Also see perspective.

A graph showing the age and sex composition of a population.

A system of voting to rank candidates in order of preference. It is necessary for a winning candidate to achieve an absolute majority (50 per cent plus one). If no candidate achieves an absolute majority, a candidate with the fewest number of first preferences is excluded from the count, and his or her votes are distributed among the remaining candidates according to second preferences. This process is continued until one candidate achieves an absolute majority. It is the dominant form of voting in Australian politics (as compared with simple majority systems of voting).

Preservation is an act of maintaining the existing condition of environmental areas as yet untouched by humans. Alternatively, conservation is a careful management of an environment and natural resources, acknowledging that they may be changed in order to affect a better future for humankind, but not if the impacts on them are too great.

In geography, prevention and mitigation are actions taken in advance to decrease or eliminate an impact of a hazardous event on people, communities and the environment, by actions including, for example, lessening a hazard and reducing a vulnerability of a community. Preparedness refers to actions taken to create and maintain a capacity of communities to respond to, and recover from, natural disasters, through measures like planning, community education, information management, communications and warning systems.

In history, objects and documents created or written during the time being investigated, for example, during an event or very soon after. Examples of primary sources include official documents, such as laws and treaties; personal documents, such as diaries and letters, photographs, film and documentaries. These original, firsthand accounts are analysed by a historian to answer questions about the past.

In geography, unprocessed, original materials collected by a student, for example, field notes from observations, measurements taken from experiments, or responses received from a survey or questionnaire.

In economics and business, individuals and/or business involved in a production of goods and services.

A representation of parties, groups or individuals in a legislature in proportion to the number of votes they receive in an election. In Australia, proportional representation describes the way candidates are elected in multi-member electorates such as the Senate.