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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor James Walter


Leadership is indispensable to politics. Yet it is also a problematic concept within liberal democracies that have traditionally set out to constrain leadership authority. In recent times in Australia and other comparable parliamentary democracies debate has surfaced about the growth of leadership power (particularly that of prime ministers) as a result of institutional changes in the political system and other developments in the practice of politics. This unit examines changes in the nature and role of leadership in Australian politics. It also theorises political leadership, introducing students to political psychology that explores the complex relationship between leaders and followers.


On successful completion of this unit students at levels two and three will be able to:

  1. understand how liberal-democratic systems have traditionally addressed the issue of leadership;
  2. understand debates about the augmentation of prime ministerial power in Australia and comparable parliamentary democracies;
  3. understand some of the theoretical debates about leadership and political psychology and the relationship between leaders and followers;
  4. apply theoretical understandings to a case study of Australian political leadership;
  5. display developing skills in spoken and written communication in addressing questions of the changing relationship between leadership and politics;

Furthermore, students undertaking this unit at level three will be able to:
  1. demonstrate additional conceptual ability;


Tutorial participation: 10%
Media analysis (500 words): 10%
Research essay (2500 words): 50%
Examination (2 hours, 1500 words): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Professor James Walter

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



First year sequence in politics