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Unit (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Parliamentary Democracy (SWM646)

Organisational Unit Global Studies
Credit Points 3
Description Parliamentary Democracy is a two-week unit looking at the legislative branch of government, conducted on site at the Parliament of Western Australia. Students learn about parliament's functions, powers and procedures, and how it interacts with party politics. The unit encompasses seminars with participation from parliamentarians and parliamentary officials, opportunities to observe parliament in action, and a tour of the parliamentary buildings. The unit is of particular value to those considering careers in the public service, journalism or the political sphere.
Unit Learning Outcomes Students who complete the unit will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the routines and procedures through which parliament conducts its business
2. Make conceptual linkages between the different branches of government, and appreciate the role played by each within the system as a whole
3. Critically evaluate the operation of parliament with reference to democratic theory and how it operates in practice
4. Draw upon direct observation in analysing academic literature on the parliamentary system of government
5. Observe the relationship between political actors' motivations and the incentives the system creates for them, with reference to phenomena such as party discipline and the 'executive mentality' of modern government
Timetabled Learning Activities Seminars for this unit will be held in a two-week intensive period with 4 x 3 hour sessions each week, totalling 24 hours of contact time for both weeks.
Unit Learning Experiences Parliamentary Studies is a three-point unit encompassing 24 contact hours and two assessments, together with a mark for quality of participation in seminars. The unit is taught on eight days over a two-week period, including seven days devoted to a seminars and an eighth consisting of a tour of Parliament House. Seminars typically consist of a first half devoted to the theory behind the day's subject, followed by a talk on the same theme by a member of parliament or senior parliamentary official. Students are expected to complete a schedule of designated readings in advance of each seminar, and to fully engage with the guest speakers to clarify their understanding of how parliament works in practice
Other Learning Experiences Self-directed learning.
Assessment This Unit has three items of assessment. In the weeks after the final seminar, students are required to submit a 'Memorandum of Evidence' regarding a matter of public policy for a parliamentary scrutiny committee, consisting of around 3000 words. This is followed after another fortnight by a written exam. Students will also be evaluated on the quality of their participation in seminars.
Prerequisites Enrolment in a graduate-level course.
Quota This unit is subject to quota. Quota is due to parliamentary limits and resources. Preference will be given to students in the Sir Walter Murdoch School.
Previously 2015: 'Parliamentary Studies'
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Master of Development Studies (MDS)
Master of International Affairs and Security (MIAS)
Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM)
Master of Veterinary Studies (Conservation Medicine) (MVS)
Master of Wildlife Health and Conservation (MWildlifeHth) [New in 2015]
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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