Glossary (Version 8.4)

The Cabinet consists of the most senior ministers, including the Prime Minister. The Cabinet's role is to make major policy decisions, including decisions about spending, appointments and introducing legislation.

In economics and business, all physical equipment (machinery, buildings, infrastructure) used by human labour in a process of production, for example, a secretary uses a computer; a farmer uses a mechanical plough. In modern economies, intellectual property and knowledge are types of human capital – necessary resources in the production of goods and services.

A study of and practice of map making, including construction of projections, design, compilation, drafting and reproduction, which aims to model reality in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.

Used by historians to identify chains of events and developments over time, short-term and long-term.

An abbreviation of `Common Era’. It is the same dating system as the traditionally used AD, short for the Latin phrase anno Domini, ‘in the year of our Lord’. Historical dates after the birth of Christ are classified as CE. There is no year zero in this dating system, so the year CE 1 immediately follows the year 1 BCE. Also see BCE.

Geographical characteristics of places include people, climate, production, landforms, built elements of the environment, soils, vegetation, communities, water resources, cultures, mineral resources and landscape. Some characteristics are tangible, for example, rivers and buildings. Others are intangible, for example, scenic quality and socioeconomic status.

A thematic map in which areas are shaded to show higher and lower values of the variable, for example, population density.

A study of time. In history, chronology involves an arrangement of events in order, as in a timeline.

An economic model that provides a theoretical and simplified representation of operations of an economy, depicting interactions between various sectors of the economy (household, business, finance, government and foreign sectors) and the flows of resources and income between them.

A person who holds citizenship of a polity, such as a country, and who is a member of a political community that grants certain rights and privileges to its citizens, and in return expects them to act responsibly such as to obey their country's laws. Also see global citizen.

In the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences, there are two uses of the term:

  • A legal status granted by birth or naturalisation to citizens involving certain rights (for example, protection, passport, voting) and responsibilities (for example, obey the law, vote, defend country). A modern sense incorporates three components: civil (rights and responsibilities), political (participation and representation), and social (social virtues and community involvement).
  • An identifiable body of knowledge, understanding and skills relating to the organisation and working of society, including a country's political and social heritage, democratic processes, government, public administration and judicial systems.

A participation one has within a community or communities as distinct from private and family life.

An identifiable body of knowledge, skills and understandings relating to the organisation and working of society. It refers to a nation’s political and social heritage, democratic processes, government, public administration and legal system.

Habits of people that display courtesy, politeness and formal regard for others. These behaviours contribute to society’s effective functioning.

A long-term average (minimum 30 years) of weather conditions at a place. For example, some climates are hot and wet all year (Singapore); some have hot, wet summers and warm, dry winters (Darwin); and some have warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters (Adelaide and Perth). Climates can be classified into distinctive types, such as equatorial, tropical, temperate, Mediterranean, semi-arid and arid. These types are found in similar locations around the world.

A graph showing average monthly temperature (by a line) and rainfall (by columns) for a location.

Areas of the earth that have similar climatic conditions. The major zones are hot, temperate and polar and are roughly demarcated by lines of latitude.

A term that is popularly understood as sharing of resources among a community for the benefit of that community as a whole. The common good is often seen as a utilitarian ideal representing the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number of individuals as opposed to the private good for individuals or sections of society.

A body of English law traditionally based on custom and court decisions. Also known as case law or precedent, it is law developed by judges through decisions of earlier courts and an understanding of current context. Also see statute (statutory law).

According to comparative advantage, all countries can gain from trade with each other, regardless of their factor endowments (land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship). Given a choice of producing two products, a country is said to have a comparative advantage when it specialises in the production and export of particular goods and services that it can produce more efficiently; that is, at a lower opportunity cost than competitors.

An advantage that a business holds over others in its industry, sector or location. The advantage means that a business is able to sell more of a product, or operate at a lower cost, or better meet the needs of consumers. Competitive advantage usually implies that a business is more profitable than its competitors.

Any general notion or idea that is used to develop an understanding of the past, such as concepts related to the process of historical inquiry (for example, evidence, continuity and change, perspectives, significance) and concepts that are culturally significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, such as Country/Place.

Conservation is careful management of the 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. Alternatively, preservation is an act of maintaining the existing condition of environmental areas as yet untouched by humans.

Fundamental principles on which a state or other organisation (such as a club) is governed. Usually, this takes the form of a legal document setting out specific powers for a government or governing of that entity.

A form of monarchy in which a monarch acts as a country’s head of state according to law as required by the constitution and that in exercising his or her discretionary powers, the monarch as head of state acts on advice of responsible ministers, excluding exceptional circumstances.

A person or a group that is the final user of goods and services produced within an economy.

An inescapable characteristic of history that occurs when particular interpretations about the past are open to debate, for example, as a result of a lack of evidence or different perspectives.

Are both evident in any given period of time and apply to the material and immaterial world, continuities being aspects of the past that remain(ed) the same over certain periods of time.

Those resources, such as solar or wind energy, whose availability is unaffected by their use by humans. Also see environmental resources.

In Civics and Citizenship, unwritten rules of political procedure based on traditional, established practices that are widely accepted. Australia’s political system has adopted many of the unwritten conventions of the British Westminster system. Conventions may defy the Constitution; for example, the procedure for the appointment of Australia’s Governor-General.

Determination and evaluation of benefits and costs of a project or decision. The evaluation includes monetary and non-monetary effects.

In the Australian Curriculum, Country in this instance refers to a space mapped out by physical or intangible boundaries that individuals or groups of Aboriginal Peoples occupy and regard as their own. It is a space with varying degrees of spirituality.

Place (as it pertains in Country/Place) is a space mapped out by physical or intangible boundaries that individuals or groups of Torres Strait Islander Peoples occupy and regard as their own. It is a space with varying degrees of spirituality.

A body of beliefs, attitudes, skills and tools by which communities structure their lives and interact with their environments.

An obligation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have to care for the Country/Place on which they live, even if they are not traditional owners of that Country/Place. Traditional owners have primary responsibility for Country/Place.

Acknowledged behaviour by individuals and groups, which recognise benefits of behaving in accordance with other individuals' expectations and customs. In the Australian Curriculum, this refers to the customarylaw of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; however, in Australia, customary law is subject to constitutional and common law. Also see common law and statute (statutory law).