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Topic 3: Key issues in Australian history - the role of interest groups

Australia has a long history of citizen action to improve democratic rights and ensure equality for citizens. Several of these issues and groups are covered in the Discovering Democracy units. In this activity students in groups will research one of the following issues and complete a research assignment.

Issue 1: Equal voting rights for women
Issue 2: Political and civil rights for Aboriginal citizens
Issue 3: Rights for working Australians - the Eight Hour Day and equal pay for women
Topic 4: Miners' rights and Eureka

Distribute Student handout 5. This handout contains the focus questions that enable students to organise their research.

  • What was this issue about? What key debates took place and what were the arguments for and against?
  • Which key groups and individuals were active in the resolution of the issue?
  • What actions were taken by each of these individuals and groups to resolve the issue?
  • How effective were these individuals and groups in resolving the issue?

Students are also asked to complete a timeline of key milestones in the resolution of the issue.

Teachers could also use the Word format of the resource list for students, adding relevant references from school libraries.

Assessment

Provide students with information on assessment. As well as using States and Territories Curriculum frameworks, the following could be used:

  • presentation of a clear and accurate explanation which covers a range of arguments involved in the issue
  • use of appropriate evidence to support points of view
  • participation in group discussion and research activity
  • accuracy and clarity of written expression
  • use of an accurate bibliography.

Resource list for Issue 1: Equal voting rights for women

Resource list for Issue 2: Political and civil rights for Aboriginal citizens

Resource list for Issue 3: Rights for working Australians - the Eight-hour Day and equal pay for women

Resource list for Topic 4: Miners' rights and Eureka

Overview | Notes for teachers | Introductory activity | Topic 1 | Topic 2 | Topic 3 | Student handout 1 | Student handout 2 | Student handout 3 | Student handout 4 | Student handout 5