ATS3903 - Leaders, power and politics - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

Politics and International Relations

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Paul Strangio


Associate Professor Paul Strangio

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two gateway units in Politics.




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 the unit, students 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;


Within semester assessment: 70% + Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

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