Law, Government and Policy - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Assignment - Engaging with politics (40%) , Invigilated Exam - Exam (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit introduces key ideas and institutions associated with law and its production in Australia. It examines how law is made by courts and parliaments, and the principal legal and political conventions and processes involved in law making. This knowledge provides a foundation for further study on criminal law and justice systems.

This is a core, introductory unit in the Criminology and Criminal Justice program. It gives students an overview of the role of law in Australian society, and how it is made, influenced and applied by courts and by governments. These concepts and processes are an essential framework for the criminal justice system and knowledge developed in this course provides a foundation for later studies in criminology and criminal justice, and for employment in the field.

The central focus of the unit is on examining how law and politics operate and interact in society. The relationship between concepts like rules, morality, justice, politics and power are also examined. Students think critically about the law-making process, and consider diverse issues including: the moral content of laws; liberalism, legalism and the rule of law; the role of judges; indigenous rights and justice; the nature of democracy; the exercise and control of government power; and human rights. This is done through the use of case studies to encourage a problem-based approach to learning. 

The unit also has a strong focus on skill development for both academic and vocational purposes, especially research, writing and critical analysis.

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

  1. Describe key institutions involved in making and influencing laws in Australia
  2. Understand principles and theories underlying Australian law and government
  3. Explain constraints on efficient and effective law-making in Australia
  4. Think critically about the operation and fairness of law and government
  5. Identify, locate and analyse information resources relevant to the course
  6. Describe key political institutions and processes in the Australian context, and compare these with other systems internationally
  7. Understand how institutions and processes of law and politics are relevant to the operation of the criminal justice system throughout Australia.
  • Assignment — Engaging with politics (40%)
  • Invigilated Exam — Exam (40%)
  • Quizzes — Online Quizzes (20%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: the idea and role of law
2Sources of Australian law
3Political Theories and Institutions
4What is Justice?
5The Constitution and the High Court
7Elections & political parties
8Parliament and Executive government
9Interest groups and media
10A liberal democratic system?
11International/comparative perspectives
12Justice revisited

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective 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.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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