Politics and Law (ATAR)

Course Code: AEPAL/ATPAL
Domain: Humanities and Social Science (HASS)
Timetable: Semester 1 and 2
Length of Course: 2 Years

Unit Information

Politics and law is a critical study of the processes of decision making concerning society’s collective future.
The study of politics examines the structures and processes through which individuals and groups with
different interests, beliefs and goals, deliberate and negotiate in order to make choices, respond to changing
circumstances and enact laws. The study of law examines the system of laws governing the conduct of the
people of a community, society or nation, in response to the need for regularity, consistency and justice
based upon collective human experience.

A close relationship exists between politics and law. They relate through the judicial, executive and
legislative arms of government; together they constitute how societies are governed. Laws generally
embody social and political values that usually have a philosophical foundation.
The Politics and Law (ATAR) course aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the principles,
structures, institutions, processes, and practices of political and legal systems, primarily in Australia and
where appropriate, other systems and/or countries. The course challenges students to critically examine the
effectiveness of political and legal systems using criteria, such as openness, responsiveness and
accountability of those systems. The course provides for both a chronological and contemporary
understanding of political and legal issues in society.

The skills and values developed in the Politics and Law (ATAR) course aim to allow students to become
informed, active and effective participants in the political and legal decisions that affect their lives within

The study of the Politics and Law (ATAR) course contributes to students’ intellectual, social, and ethical
development. The course aims to support all students in developing a sense of identity, and a sense of
political, legal, cultural and social awareness.

The study of the Politics and Law (ATAR) course can be a valuable background to careers in law, political
advocacy, public administration, international relations, foreign affairs, community development, teaching,
journalism, human resource management, government and commerce.

Unit One

This unit examines the principles of a liberal democracy; the legislative, executive and judicial structures and
processes of Australia’s political and legal system; the functioning of a non-democratic system; and the
processes of a non-common law system.

Political and legal developments and contemporary issues (the last three years) are used to provide a
framework for the unit.

Unit Two

This unit examines the principles of fair elections; the electoral and voting systems in Australia since
Federation, making reference to a recent (the last ten years) election in Australia; the electoral system of
another country; an analysis of the civil and criminal law processes in Western Australia; and an analysis of a
non-common law system.

Unit Three

This unit examines various aspects of the political and legal system established by the Commonwealth
Constitution (Australia), including the roles and powers of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of
government, with a comparison to a non-Westminster system; the influence of individuals, political parties
and pressure groups on the law making process of parliament and the courts; and the operation of
federalism and the balance of power between the Commonwealth and the States in Australia.

Unit Four

This unit examines the structures, processes and procedures of accountability in relation to the legislative,
executive and judicial branches of government in Australia; how rights are protected, and democratic
principles can be upheld and/or undermined, in Australia and one other country; and the experience of a
particular group with respect to their political and legal rights in Australia.

Pathway Information



Students undertaking this course may wish to consider tertiary studies in:

  • Commerce
  • Business
  • Politics
  • Law

This course suits direct workforce entry into the following:

  • Administration
  • Copywriting
  • Legal Assistant

Additional Information

Estimated Charges: $65 per year