Document 3: Using the Discovering Democracy resources to teach about civic values

Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Collections

The Australian Readers contain a range of fictional, factual, historical and contemporary texts that support the understanding of civic values in the classroom and allow students to reflect on the links between what they read and their own society.

The following are some examples from these texts.

Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Lower Primary Collection


The Bindi Gully Band, Stacey Hattensen, pp 2- 18

Community values

Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Middle Primary Collection


The Cemetery Committee, Nina Bawden, pp 11-13

Good and bad rules and laws

Equal Opportunity, Jim Wong-Chu, pp 18- 19

Fair and unfair laws

Common Ground, Bruce Woodley and Terry McArthur, pp 22-3

Qualities and values of Australians

Australians Don't Have Goats, Nadia

Wheatley, pp 30-1

Qualities and values of Australians

Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Collection


Freedom, Anon., pp 2- 3

Valuing liberty, equality and


Making Change, Theresa Tomlinson, pp 8- 9

The right to vote

I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, p 12


The Australian Citizenship Pledge, p 26

Patriotism and loyalty

The Stone in the Road, Anon., p 31

Responsibilities of citizens

Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Lower Secondary Collection


The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine, p 4

Human rights

Two Philosophers Debate Democracy, pp 8- 9

Participation and representation in


Why Our Parliaments Matter, RG

Menzies, p 51

Values of parliamentary democracy

Freedom Isn't Just a Word, Brian Caswell

and David Phu An Chiem, pp 60-1


Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Middle Secondary Collection


A Woman's Place, Edith Cowan, pp 12-14

Political equality

Trying to Change the World, Charles Perkins, pp 17- 18

Political equality

An Australian Citizen First, Neville Bonner, p 18

Indigenous equality

Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, pp 22- 4

Just laws

I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, pp 36- 7

Political equality

Through My Eyes, Ella Simon, pp 38- 40

Equality for Indigenous citizens

Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Upper Secondary Collection


Challenging Attitudes - The Power of the Press, The Dawn, pp 16- 17

Political participation; the rights of women

What Makes Democracy Possible?, Charles-Louis ,

The common good

Someone Has To Take Charge, Jean Anouilh, pp 39-40

The individual versus authority

What To Do? The Problem with Dirty Hands, Michael Walzer, p 43

Is it possible to avoid moral compromise as a leader?

A Struggle Within, p 49

The oppression of women

Who is My Neighbour?, The Bible, p 56

Compassion for others

Ethics for a Global World, Peter Singer, p 63

Global ethics and good citizenship

Humanising Globalisation, p 64

Human rights for all

Discovering Democracy Units

Through the Discovering Democracy Units, teachers can introduce students to the principles of Australian democracy and implicit civic values. These principles are studied through understanding historical and contemporary contexts, developing critical understanding of events and looking at issues of contemporary democratic participation.

Discovering Democracy Middle Primary Units


Learning contexts and democratic values

Stories of People and Rulers

Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, contemporary Australia
Representative democracies and citizens' rights.

Rules and Laws

School rules, road laws, Aboriginal law, parliamentary law
Rules and laws - what is fair?

We Remember

Australia What symbols do Australians use to show who they are and what they value?
Investigation of the symbols of state and of our nation from the past, present and future, and what these say and should say about Australia.

Joining In

School and community groups
Active participation in community.

Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Units


Learning contexts and democratic values

Parliament versus Monarch

Magna Carta, King Charles 1, Australia
The transfer of power from the monarch to the people through representative parliamentary democracy.
Importance of voting in a representative democracy.
How people have the power in Australia's democracy.

The People Make a Nation

Pre-federation and contemporary Australia
Reasons for federation and the role of the people in effecting it. The sharing of power between the States and the Commonwealth and the levels of government in Australia's democracy.

The Law Rules

Historical and contemporary judicial procedure
The rule of law in Australia: the right to a fair trial, the process of making laws, the independence of the courts, equality before the law.

People Power

The Australian Freedom Rides, the Eight-hour Day movement, the campaign for equal pay for women
Investigation of the kinds, structures and functions of groups in a community, and the ways people can participate in a democracy.

Discovering Democracy Lower Secondary Units


Learning contexts and democratic values

Should the People Rule?

Ancient Athens and Sparta, contemporary Australia
Characteristics of governance.
Features of a representative democracy.


Ancient law, Saxon law, Aboriginal law, constitutions, court operation
The role of laws in protecting citizens' rights and wellbeing and to acknowledge what is right and wrong.
Issues about proposed new laws.
The role of the constitution in determining the powers of governments and the independence of the High Court in interpreting the laws passed by parliament.
Fair laws and features of a fair trial.

Democratic Struggles

The Chartists, the Eureka rebellion, the Australian Constitution, the 1938 Day of Mourning and the 1967 referendum
Elements of a fair democracy: suffrage, secret ballot, equal electorates, payment for Members of Parliament, regular elections, the campaigns for achievement of rights at Eureka, votes for women and Aboriginal citizenship.

Men and Women in Political life

Australian political leaders
Qualities and values of leaders.

Discovering Democracy Middle Secondary Units


Learning contexts and democratic values

Parties Control Parliament

Political parties
Representing the interests of the people, polling and influencing voters.

A Democracy Destroyed

Nazi Germany, contemporary Australia
Features of democracy, threats to democracy, using the legal system for undemocratic purposes.

Human Rights

Declaration of Independence (USA), Declaration of the Rights of Man (France), the Bill of Rights (USA), UN Declaration of Human Rights, Australian Constitution
The kinds and historical development of human rights, values associated with particular rights and responsibilities.
Human rights and Aboriginal peoples.

Making a Nation

American War of Independence, federation, constitutions, the republic debate
Constitutions as a basis for government, the balance of power between governments.
Should Australia become a republic? Arguments for and against.

What Sort of Nation?

Images and information about Australia
Some of the factors contributing to Australian identity.
Aboriginal peoples, immigration, multiculturalism, economic factors, social security.

Getting Things Done

The Franklin Dam dispute
How do governments and parties respond to issues?
How effective is direct citizen action?