Passing a law in the ACT
Inquiry: How are laws developed in Australia?
Learning objective: By the end of the lesson the students will understand how ACT legislation is passed in the Legislative Assembly.
- Where ideas for new laws come from and how they become law (ACHASSK146
- Work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges (ACHASSI130)
- Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions (ACHASSI133)
Resources you'll need for this lesson:
- What is a law?—Made by the parliament, affects all people eg. school zone speed limit is 40 km/hr.
- Where do students think the ideas for laws come from?—Ideas can come many places such as government policy, community concerns, election promises and the public service.
- Why do we have laws?—Keep order in society
- What would happen if we didn’t have laws?—Chaos—for example, imagine there were no road rules, no speed limit, no stop or give way signs, and you could drive on any side of the road.
- Does every state and territory have the same laws? There can be variability for example—School 40 km/hr zones around schools—NSW zones operate with a split time period (morning 8-9.30am, afternoon 2.30-4pm). ACT zones are all day 8am-4pm. Both the state and territory have a law stating school zones are 40km/hr however the times of operation are slightly different.
Read the Penelope Primrose story (resource one), either individually or as a class.
All laws start as a bill, it is debated in the Assembly and once it passes in the Assembly it becomes an act (law).
- Note: Teacher will need to have read background material (resource two and resource three) to complete the role play, it explains the background to the bill, setting up a chamber and roles for students in the role play.
Organise students into their respective roles of Speaker, Clerk, government, opposition and cross bench members. Organise the space so it represents a parliamentary chamber.
Teacher outlines the background to the bill in the role play, Domestic Animals (Cat Registration) Amendment Bill. The Government members will support the bill, the opposition members will be opposing the bill and cross bench members will determine their own position on the bill. Allow students time (government, opposition and cross bench) to discuss why they will/will not support this bill, they could discuss quietly between themselves.
Each student should write a couples of sentences on why they support/don’t support the bill that they can present as part of the role play. The Speaker and the Clerks are the only students who will not write a speech for the debate. The Speaker votes, Clerks are not members so do not vote, they are responsible for counting the votes at the end of the debate.
Students could develop their own law that they could debate (rather than the prescribed cat registration bill).
- New laws start as an idea—Ideas can be developed by government, individual members, the community, committee recommendations, political parties and campaign promises.
- Bills need to be debated in a parliamentary chamber.
- To become a law the bill needs to be passed by a majority of members
- A bill becomes an act (law) after it has been passed by the Assembly.