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Teacher’s Handbook: Stories of Democracy CD-ROM


Joy Schultz, Sandra Kenman and QSOSE Consortium

Audience: Middle and upper primary

Purpose: To provide an overview of the CD-ROM to support teachers when planning lessons and monitoring students’ progress

Links to Curriculum:

QSOSE has developed a planning matrix as a separate document. This document includes a matrix which links the Discovering Democracy materials, the learning outcomes in the new SOSE syllabus, and examples of topics currently taught in schools. Copies have been sent to all Queensland schools.

Discovering Democracy links

Stories of Democracy CD-ROM




Demos' Introduction: Demos is sitting on the top of a pyramid. He says he has a great view of different forms of government.

Egypt was a monarchy. Kings and queens were called Pharaohs. Ancient Athens was a democracy - so is modern Australia. However, the two forms of democracy are very different.

Students are asked to find out about rulers and citizens in three systems.



Visual 1: The Assembly in Athens

In Athens over 2000 years ago citizens had a big say in making government decisions. The system was a direct democracy. All, no matter how rich or poor, were expected to vote - but women, slaves and immigrants were not counted as citizens.

Visual 2: "

On the day of Assembly, slaves were used to round up the citizens with cloths marked with red dye - to distinguish the non-voters.

Visual 3: Painting of Pericles

Pericles was one of the greatest leaders of ancient Athens. He made a famous speech about the form of government. "It is true that we are called a democracy because the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few". It was the first time that any country had experienced a democratic form of government.

Visual 4:

Another very old system of government is absolute monarchy. The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt were absolute monarchs. They held complete power and decided everything for their subjects.

Visual 5: Sculpture of Egyptian pharaoh

This is Thutmose111, the greatest of all the pharaohs. About 3000 years ago he restored Egypt's power after a period of decline. He conquered their neighbours and made them his subjects.

Visual 6: Parliament House, Canberra

Australia today is an example of a representative democracy. The people themselves don't vote on laws but elect others to go to Parliament. Everyone over 18 can vote. Voters decide who will govern on behalf of the people. There are many other countries that also use this system.

Visual 7: A prospective voter?

To become a representative of the people, most need to join a political party and try to win the most votes in an election. But people can also decide to stand by themselves and they are called Independents.

Visual 8: Ben Chifley

In Australia you don't have to be born into a certain family to rule. Ben Chifley was a train driver before he became Prime Minister of Australia.

THE GAME: Demos welcomes students to the Maze Game. Students are challenged to find out if they understand the three systems of government. The aim is to get the three pieces to their right home as fast as possible. The game tests basic comprehension.

  1. The game should be played by three people. The place highlighted at the bottom shows whose turn it is.
  2. Click on the dice to roll a number. A statement appears and you have to click Yes or No in answer.
  3. You have to answer the question correctly to move forward. If you are wrong you miss a turn.

NB: It is important for students to be assigned a colour. This colour indicates whether they will get questions about Direct Democracy (red); Representative Democracy (green) or Absolute Monarchy (blue). They also need to know where "home" is before they begin so that they move their piece in the right direction.


Demos' Introduction: Demos arrives in a hurry with sirens sounding, followed by a policeman. Apologises to the policeman. Sorry, officer - I seem to have broken the law. Society has lots of laws. Rules of the road are an example. Why do we need these rules?



Visual 1: London Bridge full of traffic

Traffic jams have been around for a long time. One hundred years ago this London street had a terrible problem. People needed rules.

Visual 2: Early steam powered cars

As cars became more popular the problems got worse. The British Government passed a law that cars should travel slowly. A man with a red flag had to walk in front to warn people of a car coming.

Visual 3: Old fashioned motorised vehicles

As roads became busier and cars faster, this law needed to be changed. A new law raised the speed limit to 22 kilometres per hour. The people celebrated by having a car rally

Visual 4: View of street with trams and cars

In Australia, cars were also becoming very popular. The first laws were passed in South Australia in 1904 because the roads were too dangerous.

Visual 5: Open topped cars - women with scarves and men with caps.

In the 1920s, people set up car clubs, which provided social activities and help when cars broke down. The members of these clubs also protested to the government when they thought that the new laws were too strict.

Visual 6: Road signs from 1995 ACT Traffic Book

Today we see signs like these all around the country. They are important because they explain the laws to drivers. There is not much point having laws if no one knows what they are.

You can see now why society needs laws to make it flow smoothly.

THE GAME: The game begins with a screen showing an intersection where no traffic lights are operating and there are numerous crashes. Demos: As you can see, not having rules can cause lots of problems.

  1. You can fix this by clicking on the traffic lights to make them red or green. This will make the traffic stop or go.
  2. When you have got the hang of it, click on the stopwatch. You've got 30 seconds to keep the traffic running smoothly. The number of crashes will be recorded. (But make sure you give everyone a go - drivers can get very annoyed if they have to wait a long time.)

You can imagine what the roads would be like if we didn't have any rules.


Demos' Introduction: We have many symbols that represent Australia. They come in many shapes and sizes. What is a symbol? It can be an object, a building, a song, a plant an animal, a colour - or a special day of the year when people remember something important that happened in our history. This section looks at important Australian symbols.



Visual 1: Flags of Commonwealth; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags

All countries have a flag they use as their national symbol. In Australia we have the Australian flag. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are also used on some occasions.

Click on the flags to learn more about them, and click Play when finished.

Visual 2: The Australian Coat of Arms

The Commonwealth Coat of Arms is another official symbol. It is used on important documents, like passports or letters from the government. It can also been seen on buildings like Parliament House, and on our 50 cent coin. The Coat of Arms contains many important Australian symbols. Explore the screen to discover what they are and click Play when finished. (The spots highlighted are: Golden wattle; the kangaroo; the emu; the badges of the six states; and the Commonwealth Star.)

Visual 3: Green and gold stylised symbol

In 1984 the Australian government decided on our national colours - green and gold. All our sporting teams wear green and gold when they compete against other countries. You might also see the green and gold symbol on foods, clothes and other products made in Australia.

Visual 4: Painting of Cpt Phillip raising the flag at Sydney Cove

Some important days are celebrated with a public holiday. Australia Day, on January 26th, is one of these. It marks the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788. The first Australia Day was celebrated in 1818, but it didn't become a holiday until 1838 - 50 years after the arrival.

Visual 5: Photo of protesting Aborigines

On the first Sunday in July each year, National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Observation (NAIDOC) is celebrated. This has now become a permanent event to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures around the nation.

Visual 6: Australian coins and notes

Each of our coins has an Australian symbol on it - most of them famous Australian animals. Our bank notes carry pictures of a famous Australian building - like Parliament House Canberra - or a famous Australian. On the reverse side of all coins and the $5 note, there is a picture of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia.

THE GAME: Make Your Own Bank note – instructions to students:

  1. Before you design your note, you need to choose an amount from the first screen.
  2. On the second screen, choose a background. There are different colours, some with a design incorporated.
  3. Find the categories in the top left-hand corner. The categories are: People, Historic, Flora, Fauna, Icons and Landmarks. Click on a category of your choice.
  4. The symbols for each category appear in the bottom left-hand corner. There are ten symbols from each category to choose from. Scroll forward and backwards to select.
  5. Click and drag the symbols on to the note in the top right-hand corner. You can have as many symbols as you want and move them around as much as you wish.
  6. You can print out your completed bank note.


Demos' Introduction: Lots of people in our society get together in groups to take part in community life outside their homes and families. Maybe you are in a community group yourself. Our society relies on this - people joining with other people to get things done.



Visual 1: Drawing of a child being bandaged.

The Red Cross is an international community group that helps people in dangerous war zones or when there is a national disaster, like a cyclone or an earthquake. Check around the screen to find out more about the Red Cross. (There are two areas highlighted, with information about volunteers and about the need for volunteers to obey the rules of the Red Cross Charter.)

Visual 2: A group of people and the symbol of Landcare Australia

In Australia, lots of community groups take part in Landcare projects. They help to look after our land and our water. Click around the screen to find out why people get involved. (Reasons include:

  • I like making decisions about what to do for the land
  • I want to look after native plants and animals
  • I want somewhere nice to go and don't want the land mucked up
  • Because the land is where our food comes from
  • We get minerals from the land, but we must learn to clean up afterwards)

Visual 3: Scouts/Guides and their symbols

Scouts and Guides are community groups set up especially for young people. Like all community groups, Scouts and Guides aim to make society better. They also have rules to help them achieve their aims. Click around the screen to hear the promises they make. - eg for Scouts: "I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and the Queen of Australia , to help other people and to live by the Scout law."

Visual 4: Clean up Australia Day drawing

People join community groups for different reasons. Click on the people here to find out what they did.

Ian Kiernan: "After a round the world yacht race, and seeing the amount of rubbish in the ocean, I started a group called Clean Up Sydney Harbour."

A volunteer: " There were 40,000 volunteers and we collected 5,000 tonnes of rubbish".

Visual 5: Clean Up Australia (the Barrier reef)

The campaign to Clean Up Australia has spread around the world. Now millions of people are cleaning up their own communities. It shows how a group started by one person can have a big influence in making our society better.

You can see how individuals and groups can make a difference to the communities we live in. It takes hard work, but the rewards are great. Click on the Game button to see if you can help some people in need.

THE GAME: Helptown

Demos: Here at the Helptown bus stop there are some people with problems. You need to drive the bus around Helptown to find the community groups that can help them.

  1. Each person is looking for a community group. Click on the person to hear their problem. The Helptown bus now appears on the screen to pick them up.
  2. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the bus.
  3. Each building has a special purpose. As you get near a building you will see which group works there. When you get to the right community group, drop the person off using the space bar on your keyboard.

In order, from left to right:

  • Elderly woman - Meals on Wheels;
  • Boy with toy - Helping Hands group supplies toys to sick children
  • Elderly man - Special Emergency Services
  • Woman with cat - Furry Friends Animal Shelter
  • Mid-aged woman - Parents and friends working bee
  • Teenage girl - Helptown Historical Society
  • Teenage boy - Save the Wetlands
  • Man - Neighborhood Watch
  • Little girl - Helptown Services Club.



Demos' Introduction: Who should rule - the monarch or parliament? Over 300 years ago people in Britain fought a civil war over this issue. Parliament won and King Charles 1 was tried for treason and beheaded. From that day on every monarch has known that he/she could only rule with the agreement of the people.



Visual 1: King Charles I

King Charles I became Britain's king in 1625. He believed that his power came from God and that his actions should never be questioned. His subjects should always do as he demanded. The King ignored parliament as much as he could and he often ruled for long periods without it. When parliament would not do what he wanted, he dismissed it.

Visual 2: Petition of Right

In 1628 the parliament passed resolutions against some of the things that Charles had been doing. These resolutions were set out in a document called the Petition of Right. On the visual these rights can be seen as:

  • No taxes without parliament's agreement
  • No imprisonment without cause
  • No forcing people to have soldiers stay in their homes

No military rule in peace time

Visual 3: Painting of John Hampden

In 1629 King Charles dismissed parliament and ruled by himself for eleven years. Without parliament to raise taxes, he had to look for other ways to get money. One of the ways was to make people in coastal towns and cities pay for the King's navy in wartime. As there was no war going on at the time, and the whole country was asked to pay, this caused an uproar. Many refused to pay, including the parliamentarian, John Hampden.

Visual 4: Drawing of the House of Commons

By 1641 Charles had run out of money and parliament forced him to admit that he had to rule through parliament. But both the parliament and the king wanted to control the army. This disagreement led to a major argument between them. Parliament produced a document called the Grand Remonstrance which listed all the things that people believed were wrong with the way King Charles was ruling his kingdom.

Visual 5: Map of England

This document demanded that Charles give up all his powers and to govern with the agreement of parliament. England became divided about who should have the most power - king or parliament. In 1642 a Civil War began. Click on the map to learn more about the Civil War. (There are four towns to click, but any one of them will bring up the history of the Roundheads versus the Cavaliers.)

Visual 6: Drawing of an execution

On 20 January 1649 Charles was found guilty on a charge of treason and sentenced to death by beheading. The parliament had won.

Visual 7: The Queen outside Parliament House, Canberra

The struggle over who rules - monarch or parliament- is no longer an issue. Britain and Australia still have a monarch, but it is the parliament which rules.

THE GAME: A Jigsaw Puzzle

Demos: Do you like doing jigsaws?

This jigsaw requires students to answer comprehension questions about the British Civil War, but also general knowledge questions about Australia's system of government. The aim is to get the pieces to complete the puzzle while getting the highest score possible.

The completed jigsaw shows a drawing of Australia's Parliament House.

  1. Click on the jigsaw box to get a piece.
  2. Next, you need to answer questions by clicking on Yes or No.
  3. If you are correct, a piece will drop on the board, and you can move pieces around. You will also get an addition to your score. When a piece is in the correct spot it will click into place.

Watch those points, though. You will lose a few if you get the answers wrong.

If you want to find out more about parliament and the monarchy, click on the Links button. (There is a small amount of information on People, Timeline, Glossary and Sources).


Demos' Introduction: (The scene shows the border between NSW and Victoria).

It's 1898 and I'm taking a trip from Sydney to Melbourne. The Customs bloke at the Victorian border says I have to pay a fee for the goods I'm carrying. They reckon if we federate into a single nation then all these border taxes will be removed - and that will be great. Click on the signpost to find out more about the colonies.

(The click brings up three paragraphs of simple information about the six colonies and the idea of federation).



Visual 1: Sailing ships docked at Sydney wharves

The governments of the colonies charged different amounts of money when people wanted to bring goods into their colonies to sell. Some business people wanted federation so these different charges could be removed. But other people were worried that federation could make things more expensive. Click on the ship to learn more about transport between the colonies.

(The printed information mentions that improved transport and communications were bringing colonies closer together. Different railway track widths were a problem).

Visual 2: A map of Australia in 1901

New South Wales was the oldest colony with the biggest population. Many of its people didn't want to be united with five other colonies and be controlled by them. Nor did they want a future capital of Australia to be outside NSW. Click on the map to learn how the new government would work.

(Information covers the two Houses of Parliament and how the influence of the large states in the House of Representatives would be offset by equal representation on the Senate).

Visual 3: A drawing of ships at sea

Each colony had its own army and navy. Most people agreed that there should be one army and one navy to defend Australia. A single system for the armed forces would be of great benefit for all the colonies. If you are gathering arguments FOR and AGAINST federation, you might like to stop here and check your notebook to see if you have enough information. Click Play when you are ready.

Visual 4: Photo of delegates at meeting about federation

Now that you've heard the arguments, the big question was how to sort out all the different points of view. Should the colonies unite and how should they do it? This is a meeting of people from each colony that took place in Melbourne in 1890. Meetings like this took place for ten years before a final decision was made. Click on the men to find out more about these meetings.

(One of the most important meetings was at Corowa NSW, where it was decided that the people in all colonies should vote on whether they wanted federation).

Visual 5: Record Board of poll results in WA

People actually got to vote twice on whether they wanted federation. The first time, in 1898, there weren't enough Yes votes. But the second time there was a clear majority of people who wanted federation. The colonies of Australia could at last unite to become a single nation - the Commonwealth of Australia.

(The "More Information" box shows the Yes and No results from each state).

Visual 6: The Federation Pavilion

On the first of January 1901, the official ceremony for the beginning of the new nation took place at a pavilion in Sydney. Queen Victoria's proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia was read. Lord Hopetoun was made our first Governor-General and Edmund Barton became our first Prime Minister. Click on the Pavilion to see the ceremony.

(This brings up a film clip from the National Film and Sound Archive that was taken on the 1/1/1901).

Visual 7: A railway station

This is Port Augusta in the north of South Australia. It is 1917 and this train is on its way across the continent - the first train on the new transcontinental railway linking WA with the east of Australia. This was one of the major benefits of Federation. Click on the train to learn more of the benefits of federation.

(Mention is made of free trade, common postage stamps and flags).

Visual 8: 1998 Constitutional Convention delegates

With the year 2001 approaching many Australians began to think about changing the Constitution so that Australia could become a republic. A Constitutional Convention was held in 1998 which decided Australia should be a republic. The people will have a final say at a referendum. Whether we are a republic or not, in 2001 Australia will celebrate its 100th birthday as a nation. This spectacular Federation float ( a new visual appears) is just a sample of the things you will see at the Centenary of Federation Parade on 1st January 2001. Click on the float for more information.

( A description of the symbolism of the float's features - pavilion, animals and flags).

Now it is time for you to step back in history to 1901. You have been given the job of writing the front page story that tells the rest of the country about the federation celebrations that happened the day before. Click the Game button.


  1. Click to scroll through four different mastheads. Click on your choice and it will appear.
  2. Click on your choice of headline.
  3. Click on your choice of photograph.
  4. Click on your choice of advertisement.
  5. There is still plenty of room for you to type up your story.


Demos' Introduction: Welcome to the colony of New South Wales. In the early 1800s, most of the people sent here from Britain were criminals and were ruled by one man - a military governor.



Visual 1: Sydney Town in 1810

Military governors represented the King and the British government in Australia. However, the great distance between these two countries meant that in reality governors had enormous power. They were used to giving orders and having them obeyed without question.

Visual 2: Painting of Lachlan Macquarie

This is Lachlan Macquarie, governor of the colony of NSW. He's going to make some big changes here - grand buildings and roads. Some of the original convicts have now served their sentence and have been released from prison to begin a new life. They're called emancipists. Free settlers are also coming from Britain to set up farms. Explore the screen to learn more about their legal rights.

(Because of military rule, settlers and ex-convicts had few of the rights enjoyed in Britain).

Visual 3: Francis Greenway

This is Francis Greenway. He used to be a convict here but now he's free and he does good work as an architect. Governor Macquarie wants ex-convicts like him to have the same opportunities as free settlers. But the free settlers did not agree with this. Explore the screen to learn why.

(It mentions that free settlers complained to the British Parliament about Macquarie and their lack of rights).

Visual 4: Ellis and Jeffrey Bent

Governor Macquarie also wanted lawyers who were ex-convicts to have a chance to practice law in the colony. Judges Ellis and Jeffrey Bent disagreed with this because they felt that he was trying to tell them how to run their courts. Explore the screen to learn more about this argument.

(Complaints by both sides led to Britain recalling the Bents and ordering Macquarie to no longer use freed convict lawyers).

Visual 5: Paintings representing the emancipists, Macquarie and the free sttlers

Macquarie's style of government began to make more and more people angry because they felt they had no say in the running of the colony. Explore the screen to find out why these people were unhappy.

(Emancipists wanted the same rights as free people. Free settlers felt they had no say, and shouldn’t have to pay for the government, among other things, or to accept ex-convicts as equals).

Visual 6: John Bigge

Worried by these complaints, the British Government sent Commissioner John Bigge to NSW to investigate. After collecting evidence and talking to many people, he wrote a report which criticised many things about Macquarie's rule. The colonists were happy as Bigge's report resulted in the powers of the Governor being reduced and the court system being made more independent. Today, over 200 years later, the Australian legal system is still an important part of our society. That all are treated equally and that no-one is above the law is a right taken for granted in our democracy. Click on the Game button and see how democratic principles influence our legal system.


In this courtroom the judge is depending on you for advice from the Law Book. After you hear the law clerk read each case, you'll need to find the right advice for the judge.

  1. Read about the case that is being presented.
  2. Page through the Law Book to find the information that will help the judge give a ruling. The arrows help you page through.
  3. When you have found the appropriate advice in the Law Book, click on the page. Then you'll hear the judge give her ruling on that particular case. (Think very carefully about your choice - she's very strict). Your score appears in the bottom left-hand corner.
  4. Click on NEXT CASE.

A good score indicates that you understand many of the principles of the legal system in Australia.


Demos' Introduction: (Demos is playing guitar). This part of the CD is about people - Australian citizens making a difference.



Visual 1: Charles Perkins

In 1965 a group of university students led by Charles Perkins went on a freedom ride to towns around NSW. They did this because they wanted to make the conditions faced by Aboriginal people better known.

Visual 2: News item about segregation

These Australian students were influenced by the freedom rides in the United States, which had happened a few years before in 1961. Groups of black and white Americans travelled by bus to try to stop discrimination against black Americans.

Visual 3: Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jnr became the leader of the Civil Rights struggle in the US. He believed in non-violent forms of protest such as freedom rides.

Visual 4: The Freedom Ride bus

When the Australian students began their bus journey, they were given advice about tactics. They were reminded to demonstrate peacefully and let the newspaper, radio and television people spread the message.

Visual 5: Route of the Freedom Ride

This is a map showing the route taken by the Australian students in February 1965. There's Sydney. That's where they started from.

Click on the Game button and we'll follow their journey.

THE GAME: All this film about the Freedom Ride needs to be put into order before we can see their journey. This is a film editing system: drag a piece of film on here to play it (by holding down left finger). This is the film script. You need to match the script to the right piece of film. This map shows the journey of the Freedom Ride. Once you've matched the script to the film, you need to mark it on the map.

  1. Click and drag a piece of film on to the editing machine.
  2. Page through the script using the arrows until you find a match for the film. Highlight the text by holding down your mouse finger. (The highlight will appear when you release your finger).
  3. Put a pin in the map where the piece of film was shot by clicking on the town. (You should hear a noise).
  4. When all the pieces are in place, the full film will be played.

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