jack lang - gough whitlam


The Process or how to complete this task

1. You will be working on your own on this task so you need to work out how to begin. This step is often the hardest. Therefore the first step to take is to read through the whole webquest to gain an understanding of the topic.

2. You then need to define Democracy. You may think that you know what it means, but do you? Check out the links provided on the Resources Page under Democracy Explained which can be accessed from here.

3. When you have worked out what democracy is, you then need to understand what actually happened with the dismissals and why, but this is not easy to work out. Start by finding out what happened. Start with Jack Lang and look at the resources from this link. There are some clues here to help you work this out. Print this page off and fill it in. When you have worked out what happened move on to look at Gough Whitlam's dismissal. This is a bit more complex and there are several different viewpoints. Make sure that you have the steps taken in correct order as this will help you understand more. Perhaps the development of a simple timeline will help here as you have to include the replacement of the casual vacancies and the events on the day. A basic timeline has been provided here for you to print off and fill in.

4. Now that you know what happened in these two dismissals, the next step is to work out what powers the Governor and the Governor General had. These links to the NSW and Federal Constitutions will help you understand where these officials stand in the Constitution. Remember that the constitutions are the rules by which NSW and Australia are governed. If you look at the special pages about the Governor's reserve powers and the Governor General's reserve powers, they should help you work through the problem. There is also a special link here about the law in the constitution which covered what should happen if the Senate disagreed with the House of Representatives (or the reverse) over bills and refused to pass them. Have a look at this link. Some clues to help you have been provided on this page. Print it off and fill it in to help you decide. By the time you finish reading these you need to be able to answer the questions

(a) did they have the power to do what they did? Does this demonstrate Australian democracy in action?

(b) if they had the power to do what they did, did they exercise that power correctly? Keep this part simple - this is the part that lawyers spend long hours debating - dont get too hung up on it - the readings will help you here. Does this demonstrate Australian democracy in action?

(c) if they did not have the power to do what they did, why was it allowed to happen? Again remember that this is the part that lawyers debate so keep it straightforward because you are not being asked to join this debate just to understand it. What does this demonstrate about Australian democracy in action?

5. Now you need to go back to your definition of democracy and see whether your decisions in step 4 support your ideas of what sort of democracy we have in Australia. You need to work out whether we have a direct democracy like the Swiss do, or indirect or representative democracy as some of the definitions suggest, or only the facade or pretense of democracy?

6. Your last step is the most important. You must now write down your decisions. You must answer the question What sort of Democracy do we have in Australia and what does democracy mean to us? In answering you must use what you have found out about the powers of the Governor and Governor General and what happened during the two dismissals as part of the evidence to support your opinion.

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