• Class Number 7315
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic The politics of aid
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • Dr Graeme Smith
    • Dr Graeme Smith
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

The Pacific Islands region, on Australia’s doorstep, is a region of diverse political traditions, complex developmental challenges and continuing strategic importance. Australia is the region's largest aid donor, reflective of a close - but contested - relationship. This course provides an overview of contemporary political and developmental issues in the region, including ongoing processes of decolonisation, coups and constitutional crises, and the existential threat of climate change. It also examines how the politics of aid plays out in an evolving geostrategic environment, as China becomes an increasingly influential regional player.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify and discuss key debates and theories in Pacific politics and development and apply these to different case studies
  2. Identify and discuss different approaches to politics, aid and development in the region and apply these to different case studies
  3. Analyse critical contemporary political and developmental challenges in the region
  4. Demonstrate advanced skills in critical thinking, reading, writing and oral presentation

Research-Led Teaching

This course is based on case studies and research conducted by Pacific experts in the Department of Pacific Affairs in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. The lectures, seminar discussions and assessments will help students gain a better understanding of how politics is practised based on current research.

Required Resources

There is no textbook for this course; all required readings are available on Wattle.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to PASI8005
2 Independence, Interdependence & Flexible Sovereignty in the Pacific
3 Change and Continuity in Pacific Politics Policy brief due (25%)
4 Regional Politics in the Pacific
5 Australia in the Pacific
6 China in the Pacific
7 What is Development?
8 The Good Governance Agenda
9 Gender, Aid and Development Podcast script due (25%)
10 Economic Development
11 Security and Development
12 Overview: The Politics of Aid and Development in the Pacific
13 Exam period Essay due (40%)

Tutorial Registration

Seminars and Q & A sessions will be delivered live online. Depending on students' availability, one hour will be set aside later in the week for an informal in-person catch up to discuss the week's work.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Participation (10%) 10 % * 30/11/2022 1,4
Policy Brief (25%) 25 % 14/08/2022 24/08/2022 1,3,4
Podcast Script (25%) 25 % 07/10/2022 17/10/2022 1,2,3,4
Research Essay (40%) 40 % 20/11/2022 30/11/2022 1,2,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Return of Assessment: 30/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Participation (10%)

This assessment will be based on contributions to seminar discussion throughout the semester.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 14/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 24/08/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Policy Brief (25%)

This subject of the policy brief should be the impacts of a key issue facing the Pacific region (or one Pacific state in particular), with a focus on how the Australian government should respond, and what aspects it should prioritise. It should be written for a policy audience, and include key recommendations. Some example policy briefs, the marking rubric, and other resources are available on Wattle.

Possible topics include:

The impacts of COVID-19 (regionally, or one-country focus)

Climate change

The Bougainville referendum

The security pact in the Solomon Islands

Word limit: 1,000 words (excluding references)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 07/10/2022
Return of Assessment: 17/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Podcast Script (25%)

The script will be formulated based on a podcast interview with one or two authors who contribute to the readings in a week of your choosing. The author can be chosen from the recommended or additional readings. A reference list must be included at the end of the script. 

The purpose of this exercise is to encourage you to think critically and develop a narrative to interrogate the writers’ work. While your focus is on the authors’ work, you should also demonstrate a broader understanding of the topic by drawing on other literature. Model scripts will be provided on Wattle but are only a guide—you should develop your own style of questioning and even your own genre of podcast to suit the topic. Please note you are not required to provide answers to your questions--by asking the right questions, you demonstrate you have mastered the topic.

The word limit is tight, so in order to be brief and demonstrate that you have understood the readings, read more widely on the subject and form an original view, do not paraphrase or use lengthy quotes in your questions. The class will vote on the best podcast episode title. The winner will receive a Little Red Podcast mug.

Word limit: 1000 words (including references)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 20/11/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Research Essay (40%)

A list of essay questions will be distributed at the end of Week 2, and will be shaped by the areas of interest of the class. You can also develop your own essay question, in consultation with the course convenor. If you develop your own question, the Wattle site has advice on how to design a research question. Try to develop a question that will not invite an answer that is a simple chronological narrative or description. Usually, “Why” questions lead to more thoughtful and convincing analyses than “What” questions. Make sure it’s a succinct question that can be answered in 2500 words, rather than requiring a PhD dissertation-length response. You must also consider whether there is sufficient scholarly material available to allow you to answer the question. Previous essays, the style guide and other resources are available on Wattle.

Word limit: 2500 words (including references)

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Graeme Smith

Research Interests

China's engagement with the Pacific, Extraterritoriality in the Pacific, Chinese State-Owned Enterprises, the geopolitics of search engines, local government in rural China

Dr Graeme Smith

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Graeme Smith

Research Interests

Dr Graeme Smith

By Appointment
By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions