Note taking and study guide
Unit 3, Area of Study 1: ‘Parliament and the citizen’
Use the following headings as organisers to summarise your notes:
• Principles of a representative and responsible government, including how our government is representative and responsible.
• The principle of the separation of powers, and the extent to which the powers are separated.
• The structure of the Commonwealth Parliament (names of both Houses, number of members and the Crown).
• The structure of the Victorian Parliament (names of both Houses, number of members and the Crown).
• The roles played by both Houses of parliament and the Crown in law-making.
• The role of the House of Representatives (house of government, people’s house).
• The role of the Senate (states house, house of review).
• To what extent the Senate is fulfilling its role (how effective it is as a states house and a house of review—strengths and weaknesses).
• The reasons why laws need to change, including examples to support each reason.
• The methods used by individuals and groups to influence change in the law (media, demonstrations, petitions), including contemporary examples of each method.
• The strengths and weaknesses of each method.
• The role of the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) in assessing the need for change in the law, including how they go about assessing the need for change.
• The effectiveness of the VLRC in influencing change in the law.
• The legislative progress of a Bill through parliament.
• The strengths and weaknesses of law-making through parliament.
Complete the following activities to assist you in revising Area of Study 1 of Unit 3.
Topic 1: Why we need laws
1 Fill in the blanks. Laws are rules by which those in society live. In our society there are two types of rules: (1) _______________________ rules, which are not laws, and (2) _______________________ rules, which are laws. They apply to everyone in the community and are enforceable through the courts. __________ ___________________ _______ only apply to particular groups in certain situations.
2 Laws are needed because:
3 Explain the difference between statute law and common law.
4 Complete the following table. Criminal law Civil law
Aim of law
Burden of proof
Standard of proof
Examples of laws
Topic 2: Principles of the Australian parliamentary system
1 Fill in the blanks. Our legal system is based on the British _____________ system. This system was adopted because Australia and its states were originally British ____________. The _________ is the head of state and is therefore included in our parliamentary system. The Australian parliamentary system is based on a system of _______ houses, the Upper and __________ Houses. The system of two Houses is known as the ______________ system.
2 Complete the table.
Representative government means:
Responsible government means:
3 The separation of powers involves:
___________________ power—the power to make laws, which lies with parliament ___________________ power—the power given to the governing body responsible for administering the laws and carrying out the business of government _____________________ power—the power given to bodies responsible for enforcing the law and settling disputes (courts and tribunals)
4 Reasons for the separation of powers include:
5 To what extent are the powers separated?
Topic 3: The structure and role of the Commonwealth Parliament and the Victorian Parliament
1 Complete the following table. Victorian Parliament Commonwealth Parliament
Name of Lower House and number of members
Name of Upper House and number of members
Leader of the government
Role of the Upper House
Role of the Lower House
Effectiveness of Upper House in fulfilling its role
Effectiveness of Lower