Unit 9: Advance Australia Fair


This unit is about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Students will develop understandings about the key concepts of fairness, inclusion, power, rights and responsibilities. They will analyse how these ideas have developed during Australia’s history. They will identify times when groups of people may not have been given the same rights as others, and the struggle to achieve these rights. Students will specifically look at Federation and the history of voting in Australia. They will also explore Aboriginal Rights issues and Immigration. Students will then look at Australia today, and consider the concepts of fairness and democracy in contemporary society and in their own lives.

Aboriginal Perspectives

  • The settlement of Australia by Europeans changed life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in every way.
  • There have been many times in Australia’s past when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have not been treated fairly or justly, and they have had to fight for their rights to be recognised.
  • Many milestones have been achieved by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their struggle for justice, but we all still need to work together to achieve a truly fair society.


  • Rights and responsibilities enable people to live fairly in a society.
  • It is the responsibility of people in positions of power to be inclusive of all groups.
  • In a democracy everyone has the right to be included and treated fairly.

Rich Question

How can we work towards a fair and inclusive society?

Contributing Questions

  • What are the rights and responsibilities of people in a democracy?
  • How do rights and responsibilities enable people to live fairly?
  • Who are the people in the past who were not treated fairly or justly?
  • How has this changed over time?
  • Who is responsible for ensuring our society is fair and inclusive?
  • Is Australia a fair and inclusive society today?

Background Notes

From the Yarra Healing website: essential learnings.

  • On every available measure of social and economic disadvantage, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples record greater problems and enjoy fewer opportunities than the rest of the Australian population.
  • Significant advances have been made by Koorie organisations and people seeking to overcome the long history of discrimination and disadvantage in mainstream social, educational and economic structures.
  • Efforts to redress past injustices and to advance the status and cultural integrity of Indigenous people are responsibilities, which belong to all Australians.
  • Indigenous people in Australia have unique rights to land which have now been recognised in common law.


Written texts

  • Education Kits:
  • Australian Electoral Commission Kit
  • Discovering Democracy Kit
  • Democracy Rules kit
  • Australian Primary Reader: Discovering Democracy books (3-4 and 5-6 readers)


http://www.abc.net.au/federation/fedstory/home.htm A comprehensive website about Federation.

http://museumvictoria.com.au/journeys/immigration_restriction.asp This website contains information about the White Australia Policy.

http://www.abc.net.au/missionvoices/coranderrk/default.htm This website contains photographs, stories and video clips about the Coranderrk Mission near Melbourne and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Missions.

http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/ergo/batmans_treaty This website provides further information on Batman’s treaty. It includes some video clips of people explaining the significance of the treaty and impact on the Koorie people.

http://museumvictoria.com.au/customshouse/customs_history/dictation.asp Students can find out more about the dictation test on this website including stories from a customs officer of the time.

The story of how officials tried to prevent Egon Kisch from entering Australia using the dictation test.

Audio Visual