Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject focuses on the political dynamics of contemporary Australian public policy, examining the major forces driving policy in a range of different areas, and exploring what this reveals about power in Australia. The subject begins by introducing students to the major theoretical perspectives on power and policy-making, along with the historical and structural factors that shape government in Australia. It then focuses in depth on a selection of policy issues that have been central to the political agenda in recent years, including topics such as inequality, welfare reform, voluntary euthanasia, gambling reform, industrial relations, environmental policy and media regulation. The aim is to illuminate the power dynamics that are central to understanding politics in Australia, and to give students a deeper understanding of contemporary policy debates. This subject is particularly recommended for students who are planning a career in the media, in government, or in NGOs, and for students who wish to research an Australian topic in their Honours year.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorNicholas Barry

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesResearch paper; exam

Capstone subjectYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules



Incompatible subjectsPOL2CAP

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Canvas and evaluate the major theoretical and empirical issues involved in the study of Australian public policy
02. Research and analyse key issues at stake in selected policy areas

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 1, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorNicholas Barry

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.00 h lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.

TutorialWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 h tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via blended.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

Online and tutorial activities (equivalent to 200 words)The activities will test students' knowledge of a range of topics covered in the subject.


One mid-semester take-home exam (equivalent to 1400 words in total).This exam will test students' knowledge of a range of topics covered in the subject


Research paper: 2400 wordsThis assignment will require students to research and write an essay on a specific topic related to the subject material.