• Class Number 5458
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Patrick Leslie
    • Patrick Leslie
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

Australia is one of the world’s oldest liberal democracies.  This longevity is due, in part, to institutional design.  A close examination of Australia’s political institutions reveals both stability and evolution from their original design.  This course explores this stability and change dynamic through an examination of the Australian political system. It provides students with an overview of the cleavages that characterize Australia and the institutions that attempt to manage them.  This course concentrates on formal political institutions paying particular attention to the constitution, institutions of government (e.g. High Court, Parliament, federalism), and electoral competition. We will also compare Australia to other advanced democracies enhancing our understanding of the Australian state.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. critically analyse the structure and dynamics of Australian political institutions;
  2. analyse the contribution of institutions to our understanding of Australian politics;
  3. apply the various analytical frameworks of political science to Australian institutions;
  4. be able to place Australian political institutions in comparative perspective by making reference to other advanced democracies; and
  5. have developed their research, writing, and verbal presentation skills.

Whether you are on campus or studying online, 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 The Australian Constitution
2 Legislature 1: federalism
3 Legislature 2: representation
4 Legislature 3: legislative design
5 Legislature 4: electing representatives
6 Legislature 5: political parties
7 Executive 1: who really rules Australia?
8 Executive 2: ministers under responsible government
9 Executive 3: public service and public goods
10 Judiciary 1: courts as political institutions
11 Judiciary 2: the High Court's impact on Australian politics
12 Judiciary 3: institutional actors and exam review

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Mid-term exam 20 % 29/08/2023 15/09/2021 1, 2 & 3
Research paper 40 % 17/10/2023 06/11/2021 1, 3, 4 & 5
Final exam 30 % * * 1, 2 & 3
Workshop participation 10 % * * 1, 3 & 5

* 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: 20 %
Due Date: 29/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 15/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2 & 3

Mid-term exam

A mid-term review will be conducted on Wattle on Tuesday 29 August 2023 (week 6). The review will comprise multiple choice and short answer questions covering content from the first five weeks of the course. Students will have one hour to complete the review, including reading time. The review will be open on Wattle for the entire day (00.01am to 11.59pm). Answers must be submitted within 60 minutes of commencing. (Note: if you are unavailable for the entirety of 30 August due to work or caring responsibilities, we can make alternative arrangements)


Results will be returned to students during the mid-semester break, to give an indication of how well they understand the central concepts and theories of political institutions.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 17/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 06/11/2021
Learning Outcomes:  1, 3, 4 & 5

Research paper

Prepare a 2500-3000 word briefing paper, intended for an audience of policy makers (imagine, for instance, that you are recommending policy changes to the Prime Minister). The topic of your paper will be one or more of the institutional reforms that you and your workshop group have devised during the course of the semester. For optimal grades, include as many as your proposed reforms as possible with emphasis on how each reform impacts on others. Institutional design is an intricate puzzle and your paper should reflect that.


The purpose of the paper is to inform and persuade the audience, while demonstrating a thorough knowledge of different institutional design options. I strongly recommend that you designate an intended audience. For the student, this exercise is intended as an introduction to workplace-related skills such as briefing employers and understanding and explaining reform suggestions within a short timeframe.


The paper should be presented as a written report, with subheadings, bullet points and other formatting as required. Essay-style formatting is not required (or expected).


The briefing paper is due at 5pm, Tuesday 17 October 2023. It must be submitted online, via the POLS2114 Wattle page.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2 & 3

Final exam

The final exam will test students’ knowledge of content from the entire semester – not just from the mid-semester exam onward. The exam will give similar weighting to the course content as in the syllabus, e.g. a greater focus on the legislature than the judiciary, and a majority of questions on Australian institutions but some comparative focus.

The final exam will comprise a combination of multiple choice, short answer (e.g. one paragraph) and long answer (e.g. three paragraph) questions. The date of the exam will be advised towards the end of the semester, following confirmation from the Registrar’s Office. The time, date and location of the final exam are not at the course convenor’s discretion. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3 & 5

Workshop participation

As is standard, workshop participation in POLS2114 is measured by both attendance and contribution to workshop discussions. However, all POLS2114 students are expected to take an active role in workshops, and participation marks will be difficult to achieve. This course aims to prepare students for post-university life in the workplace, and positive contribution to group discussions is one important part of that process. Participation can only accrue 10 marks towards your final grade but it will substantially improve your grades on other assessments.

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).

Patrick Leslie

Research Interests

Patrick Leslie

By Appointment
By Appointment
Patrick Leslie

Research Interests

Patrick Leslie

By Appointment
By Appointment

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