POL112 Understanding Australia: History, Politics and Society (8)

This subject will develop students broader understanding of contemporary Australian history and politics, including how history and politics affect the lived experiences of Indigenous Australians from British invasion to the present. From a political history disciplinary perspective, this subject will ask students to analyse and interpret the impact of social forces on Australian government processes and policies, influenced by factors that include migrants, women and international relations. Students will learn to investigate how history and politics are determined, by whom and for what reason. Students will develop skills to analyse and debate, interpret and communicate complex ideas and express these ideas to their student peers and in academic writing.


Session 1 (30)
Bathurst Campus
Session 2 (60)
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: POL112. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Education

Enrolment Restrictions

Restricted to students enrolled in the Diploma of General Studies and the CSU Pathway Course.

Not available to students who have completed POL110, HST204, POL101 or POL106.

Subject Relationships

POL110 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects

HST204, POL101, POL106, POL110

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to analyse the key political and historical themes and influences in Australia in relation to the impact of past policy and practice on Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians from pre-invasion to today;
  • be able to analyse how power and privilege operates in relation to the self and to the experiences of Indigenous Australians, migrants and women;
  • be able to articulate how Australian governments and democracy operate, including links to policy and influence, past and present; and
  • be able to apply knowledge and skills to communicate complex ideas in relation to history and politics using research, critical thinking and be able to demonstrate these in academic writing.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Beginnings - Indigenous Australians' presence in Australia prior to 1788.
  • Newcomers - The First Fleet: conquest and convicts. Colonial attitudes and British impact on Indigenous Australians, including the doctrine of Terra Nullius.
  • Resistance - Frontier Wars and Indigenous Australian resistance.
  • Further themes in 19th century history and politics - democracy, gold and racism. Colonial governments and the 'Aborigines' Protection Acts'.
  • Federation and federalism - Nationhood, 'White Australia' and workers' rights. The 1901 Commonwealth Constitution denying Indigenous Australians a voice, equality and Federal parliamentary representation.
  • War and the politics of nation-building - war, peace, war. Topic includes Indigenous Australians representing their country overseas in two World Wars whilst enduring inequality at home.
  • Australia's golden age 1946-1975 - immigration, feminism, and the 1967 'Freedom Ride' and Commonwealth referendum on Indigenous electoral participation.
  • Reinventing Australia: 1975-2008 - popular politics, a new Asia and 'the Apology' to the Stolen Generations.
  • Virtual times - 2009 to the present - prime ministers, globalisation and Indigenous reconciliation.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of POL112 in Session 2 2021. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Discussion blogs
Essay plan and annotated bibliography
Major essay

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: June 2022. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.