Contemporary Issues in Australian Politics: Race, Nation, Class and Gender - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1 , Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem2
  • Assessment: Critique - Reading Critique (10%) , Essay 1 - Minor Essay (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit was previously known as PLT210 Contemporary Issues in Australian Politics: Race, Nation, Class & Gender.

As Australia progresses through the second decade of the 21st century, it confronts a number of persistent questions: Has it lived up to its reputation as an egalitarian country whose unofficial motto is ‘fair go!’? How have class relations been impacted on – if at all – by the economic boom of the past two decades? Are Australian women and men really equal in the context of the rise and fall of the Women’s Liberation Movement and the emergence of so-called ‘raunch feminism’? What are the prospects for closing the gap between the country’s indigenous people and its more recent arrivals? Taking as its central themes, race, nation, class and gender, the unit is structured in the following way: Weeks 2-4 deal with race and nation; Weeks 5-8 with class politics; Weeks 9-12 with gender and sexuality; Week 13 concludes the unit by examining the health of the Australian body politic in light of the foregoing discussions about its divided state.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. promote an appreciation of the ways in which 'race' & ethnicity has, implicitly or explicitly, informed several recent political controversies
  2. introduce you to key debates about the connection between national; identity and citizenship, inclusion and exclusion, and the ways in which these are played out in party politics and the media
  3. make you aware of the effects of recent international economic, environmental and security crises on Australian politics
  4. explore the political ramifications of social class and gender in early 21st Century Australia.
  • Critique — Reading Critique (10%)
  • Essay 1 — Minor Essay (30%)
  • Essay 2 — Major Essay (45%)
  • Participation — Online Participation (15%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • PLT210 — Contemporary Issues in Australian Politics: Race, Nation, Class & Gender

Students should have studied some politics at 100 level prior to undertaking this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: politics & social division
2Indigenous politics: "History wars", Reconciliation, Intervention, 'Closing the Gap'
3People Movement: Immigration, Asylum-Seekers, Nationalism, and the Politics of Border Controls
4The Domestic Politics of Foreign Wars: Conflicts on the Homefront
5Class in Australia, `Affluenza', and the Impact of the Economic Boom
6Labor, Reformism, and Class: The End of Australian Social Democracy?
7Class and Industrial Relations: The Accord, Enterprise Bargaining, WorkChoices, Fair Work
8Class Action: the 1998 Maritime Union Dispute
9Gender: The Rise and Fall of the Women's Liberation Movement in Australia
10`Are We There Yet'? Equality, Post-Feminism, `Raunch Feminism', the 3rd Wave
11Women, Babies, and the Family: the Politics of Raising Children
12The Politics of Sex: Same-Sex Relationships in Australia
13Conclusion: Are We Happy Now? The Australian Body Politic & Happiness, Affluence, Self-Improvement, and Depression

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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