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PLT3870 - Power and Influence in Australia

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: TBA


Not offered in 2007


American political scientist Harold Laswell once wrote that the study of politics involved a study of '... who gets what, and how'. In this course the study of power will occur through an examination of how political organisations influence the public policy agenda. Topics include an investigation of the theoretical perspectives on the exercise of power in liberal democratic states, the organisation and mobilisation of interest groups, strategies used by groups to influence government, public opinion and elections. Specific case studies of lobbying by political movements will be drawn on to highlight how power and influence manifests itself in Australian politics.


By the conclusion of this subject, students will have:

  1. undertaken a review of the major theoretical approaches to the study of power in liberal-democratic society;
  2. understood the role played by the key institutions of national government in the political and policy-making process;
  3. understood the distribution of political power in Australian political organisations
  4. developed a comprehension of how policy outcomes have been influenced by extra-parliamentary actors through the examination of a selection of case studies;
  5. as third year students, demonstrated a greater critical awareness and deeper understanding of the topics covered.


Essay (2,000 words): 40%
Participation (500 words):
Examination (2000 words): 50%

Contact hours

3 hours (2 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial) per week


A first-year sequence in Politics or permission.