POLIS 2138 - Policy and Practice in Australian Politics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019

This course covers key political and policy issues for the 21st century with a particular emphasis on the factors that shape government policies. It focuses on issues of economic, social and environmental change and their political implications in fields ranging from economics, foreign relations and the media to the environment and welfare. It also examines how Australian democracy is constituted, practiced and perpetuated. In the process, the course deals with issues such as: globalisation and the role of the nation state; the influence of international issues on Australian Politics e.g. the impact of changing geopolitics on Australian relations with the U.S. and Asia; Australian identity and conceptions of citizenship; Australian migration policy; the electoral system and the role of citizens in Australian democracy and policy-making; the role of leaders, political parties and the media in policy formation; and environmental politics and climate change. The course draws on relevant analytical and theoretical frameworks and encourages students to follow up their own research interests, including relevant ones not formally covered in the course. There is a particular emphasis on the applied and practical aspects of how and why government policies are brought into being as well as the social, political and economic factors that enable or constrain their introduction.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 2138
    Course Policy and Practice in Australian Politics
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Assessment Tutorial Work 20%, Policy Analysis 40%, Policy Proposal 40%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Wayne Errington

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful competion of this course, students will be able to: 

    1. Analyse the major concepts and debates in political thinking relating to issues in Australian politics.
    2. Understand the relevant social, historical, economic, ideological and international context and constraints in which those debates occur and political institutions function.

    3. Work with a range of analytical approaches to issues in Australian Politics and reflect critically on the character of political concepts and issues.
    4. Critically analyse government policy-making. 
    .5. Discuss the political, social and economic factors that guide and constrain government policies and practices.
    6. Undertake independent research in the field of Australian public policy and practice.
    7. Engage in oral and written public debate on real world case studies which exemplify general principles about policy-making and government practice.
    8. Produce analytically sophisticated, well substantiated and cogently argued written material that draws on actual policy outcomes in recent Australian political history.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Recommended Resources
    See MyUni for details. 
    Online Learning
    The lectures for this course will be delivered via MyUni. Students will be expected to make extensive use of online resources to research contemporary policy debates and poltiical practice. 
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    One online lecture and one two-hour face to face workshop each week. 

    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

    Specific Course Requirements
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assignment Formative/Summative Learning Outcome
    Tutorial Work Formative/Summative (20%) 5-8
    Policy Analysis Formative/Summative (40%) 1-4, 8
    Policy Proposal Summative (40%) 1-6, 8
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.