A system of government grounded in liberal democratic values and a belief in civic engagement. It includes a written constitution, a well-established representative parliamentary process based on the Westminster system and a constitutional monarch.
Burden of proof
The legal principle where a duty – or ‘burden’ – is placed on a party in a court action to prove or disprove disputed facts before the court will make a judgment. It is the threshold that a party seeking to prove a fact in court must reach in order to have that fact legally established; that is, to convince a decision-maker in a trial (judge; jury) that one’s version of the facts is true. (In general, the threshold or level is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ in a criminal dispute and ‘on the balance of probabilities’ for civil disputes).
A person who holds citizenship of an entity, such as a country, and who is a member of a political community which grants certain rights and privileges to its citizens, and in return expects them to act responsibly such as to obey their country's laws.
A legal status granted by birth or naturalisation to citizens involving certain rights (for example, protection; passport; voting) and responsibilities (for example, obey the law; voting; defend country). A modern sense incorporates three components: civil (rights and responsibilities); political (participation and representation); and social (social virtues and community involvement).
Citizenship is also understood as membership of social, political, national or community groups that carries with it rights and responsibilities, and duties and privileges, and is guided by social virtues and encourages active participation.
The identifiable body of knowledge, skills and understandings relating to the organisation and working of society. It refers to a nation’s political and social heritage, democratic processes, government, public administration and legal system.
A body of English law traditionally based on custom and court decisions. Also known as case law or precedent, it is law developed by judges through decisions of courts.
The fundamental principles on which a state or other organisation (such as a club) is governed. Usually this takes the form of a legal document setting out specific powers for the government or governing of that entity.
Acknowledged behaviour by individuals and groups who recognise the benefits of behaving in accordance with other individuals' expectations and customs. Here this refers to the customary law of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; however, in Australia customary law is subject to constitutional and common law.
Delegated law refers to those laws made by persons or bodies to whom parliament has delegated law-making authority such as government agencies.
A system of government based on the people of an entity, that is, ‘government by the people’; a form of government where the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected representatives under a free and fair electoral system.
Division of powers
Refers to the vesting of powers within different levels of government. Under the Australian Constitution, the Commonwealth Government was vested with specific powers while the states retained general powers. In practice, the distribution of powers has become increasingly centralised over time.
Direct Action occurs when a group takes action on an issue or problem. It can include violent and nonviolent resistance. This could include marches, sit-ins, and strikes.
The Executive branch of Australian government is the Cabinet and Ministry, led by the Prime Minister. The Governor General forms part of the executive but does not exercise executive power.
Those who understand their rights and responsibilities at a global level; that is, one’s identity transcends geography or political borders, and responsibilities and rights are derived from being human. However, these rights and responsibilities do not have the legal authority or sanctions that those conferred by a nation have.
A person’s conception and expression of their individuality or association with a group. In this curriculum, identity refers to a person's sense of belonging to a culture or to a state or nation, a region or globally. It is a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one's citizenship status.
Refers to the system of rules which a particular country or community recognises as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties and sanctions.
Lobby groups advocate with the intention of influencing decisions made by the government.
Refers to the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society such as a state or nation.
Refers to a society characterised by support for or free activity of religions, within the bounds of the law.
Presumption of Innocence
The presumption of innocence imposes on the prosecution the burden of proving the charge and guarantees that no guilt can be presumed until the charge has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
The principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection. In Australia a referendum is a vote of the Australian electors on a proposed change to the Constitution by the Commonwealth Parliament that must be approved by a majority of the aggregate of all voters from each state and territory, and also by a majority of voters in a majority (four) of the six states.
A system of government in which electors choose representatives to a parliament to make laws on their behalf.
Rights and responsibilities
Refer to entitlements and obligations that are associated with citizenship. Rights and responsibilities are a cornerstone of modern democracies. While there are many rights a citizen may enjoy (freedom of speech, the right to vote) there are also responsibilities of citizenship (vote in elections, pay taxes, jury service).
Rule of law
The legal principle that decisions by government are made according to established principles and that all citizens are subject to the law and equal before the law. Embedded within the rule of law is the idea that people accept and follow, but also change as needed, laws as agreed by the political process and upheld by independent courts.
Relating to the worldly rather than religion; things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred. For example, a secular society is one governed by people’s laws through parliament rather than by religious laws.
Separation of powers
The acknowledged division between the executive, legislature (parliament) and judiciary. These separations act as checks and balances on each other to prevent excessive concentration of power in one group.
Statute (statutory law)
Written law (in the form of a bill) that has been passed through all stages by Parliament has received the monarch’s (or monarch’s representative such as Governor-General or Governor) assent and has been proclaimed.
The process of parliamentary government that evolved in England based on a government from the democratically elected lower house, a mainly ceremonial sovereign/head of state, a head of government who commands a majority in the lower house parliament, an executive/cabinet composed of members of parliament, an independent civil service and the rule of law based on an independent judiciary.
Web site to visit: https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/
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