To be an informed voter in an Australian referendum or federal election, it is important to have an understanding of the separation of powers between the three key institutions that make up the Federal Government. Yet, many Australians may not know that we have an Australian Constitution, let alone the roles and powers outlined in it for the three key institutions or the people who work in them.
Module 2 of our civicsautralia.org.au informed voter referendum 2023 education program details vital information on the roles and powers of the Parliament (set out in Chapter I of the Australian Constitution), the Executive (set out in Chapter II of the Constitution), and the Judicature (set out in Chapter III of the Constitution). Many Australians, when asked about their knowledge of the separation of powers, think it is a separation of the three levels of Government, the Commonwealth, State, and Local governments.
Such misunderstandings demonstrate that factual civics, citizenship, and constitutional education are important for Australians. Accurate, neutral, and non-political knowledge of how the Australian system of government works enhances Australian democracy and empowers its voters. Together, we can improve trust in the important institutions of government, leaders, and the people who work in them.
In Animation episode 5, Kanga and Emmy discover the idea of the separation of powers and just how important it is to Australian democracy. As they stand on the sidelines, watching a soccer game, they discuss why and how the rules of the Australian Constitution work to benefit all Australians.
At the time of writing this blog, the Matildas national soccer team has inspired Australians from all walks of life, encouraging immense national pride, as they played in the semi-finals for the World Cup. At Civics Australia, we are equally inspired by our Australian Constitution, which over decades since Federation has guided and united our nation, providing stable government, even through periods where there have been great challenges to it.
Understanding the rules of the Australian Constitution is core to valuing our democracy. If you want to play a responsible part in the lead-up to referendum day 2023, send Episode 5 to family, friends, and work colleagues through your preferred social media platforms. The rest of the materials to be released soon for Module 2 provide detail on the rules, roles, and powers for the Parliament, the Executive, and the Judicature (the courts). Constitutional education that results in a more informed voter is important to continue to enhance and advance our Australian democracy.