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Extension activities

Student handout

Choose one or more of the following activities.

Student activities

1. Voting systems in Australia

Choose one of the voting systems used in the Federal or State or Territory parliament. Make up a poster, brochure or other visual aid that explains clearly to the rest of the class how this system of voting operates.

Discussion question
Does this voting system support democratic values and principles? Explain your answer.

Australian Electoral Commission's Australian Democracy Magazine:
Electoral Council of Australia:
Discovering Democracy Middle Secondary Units, 'Parties Control Parliament', (pp 15–16, 20)

2. Electoral milestones

Using the search capacity in the Australian Electoral Commission website
(, research and write a brief group report or visual presentation on one of the following milestones in Australia's electoral history.

  • Compulsory voting and compulsory enrolment
  • Secret ballot and the introduction of postal and absentee voting
  • History of the Indigenous vote
  • Women and the right to vote in Australia

As well as providing a brief overview of your milestone, explain how it made Australia more democratic.

3. Why a Federal system of government?

Prepare a report that explains why Australia developed a Federal system of government. Begin your research by looking at: Discovering Democracy Middle Secondary Units, 'Making a Nation' unit, Activity 2 (pp 109–10) and Activity 6 (pp 114–15).

These activities are also available online at:

Also look at the One Destiny CD-ROM. Consider the themes: 'The Road to Federation', 'An Australian Nation' and 'An Australian Constitution'.

4. Political parties and representation

Use the 'Parties at a Glance' section of Parliament @ Work and the hotlinks to the websites of political parties. Working in pairs or small groups, complete one of the following tasks.

From the current media, choose an issue where there is disagreement between the major parties. Outline each party's position and show where they differ. Why do you think that the two parties differ on this issue? Present your findings to the class in a talk or panel interview.


Provide an outline of one of the parties under these headings:
Origins, Organisation, Philosophy, Current policies, and Representation in Australia's parliaments.

Overview | Notes for teachers | Introductory activities 1 | Introductory activities 2 | Topic 1.1 | Topic 1.2 | Topic 1.3 | Topic 1.4 | Topic 1.5 | Topic 2 | Topic 3 | Topic 4 | Extension activities

Student Handout