You have probably never committed a serious crime. Hopefully, you are not planning a robbery or an assault. Most likely you are not wanted by the police and have not been required to attend a court hearing. Like the vast majority of Australians, you are a law-abiding citizen. Why, then, do you need to know about the law? The answer is because laws affect everything you do: the wearing of a helmet when riding a bike, the age you can leave school, the movies you are permitted to watch and the rights you have as a citizen. Therefore, you should know something about the law. Ignorance is no excuse. You can be found guilty of breaking a law even if you didn’t know about it. The law is a set of legal rules that the government and the courts have made for everyone to follow.
On completion of this unit, you will have developed an understanding of how laws affect individuals and groups and regulate society.
Imagine what could happen if there were no laws and people could do whatever they liked. Confusion and chaos would occur. In extreme cases of conflict, a state of anarchy would develop. The person with the most strength would start to dominate, and the weak and helpless would suffer. However, when people obey the law, a sense of order is created, resulting in a society where people can live peacefully. The law therefore has three main roles: 1. From the actions of others as well as Protection our own behaviour. It does this by telling society what people cannot do. For example, we cannot commit assault, murder or robbery. We cannot drive while drunk or ride a bike without a helmet. In this role, the law restricts our individual freedom but provides safety for all individuals in society. 2. To do many things by telling society Freedom what people can do. For example, the law allows us to own and operate a business, drive a car, get married or divorced, or leave school. 3. In order to stop people taking the Resolving disputes law into their own hands. The legal system provides a police force (or service), court system and correctional centers (jails and juvenile detention centers) to enforce and administer the law.
1 What are laws? 2 How are laws of the land different from school or sport rules? 3 What can happen to a person who breaks the law? 4 What is meant by the term ‘anarchy’? 5 Why does society need laws? 6 List the law’s three main roles. 7 Provide three examples of things the law says you (a) cannot do, and (b) can do.
1. Imagine you have been elected ruler of Australia. What three laws would you introduce to make sure people live in harmony? Explain why you would choose these particular laws.
1. Obtain a copy of your school rules. In small groups, answer the following questions: (a) Do you think your school rules are laws? Why? (b) Who makes these rules? (c) What happens if someone breaks the rules? (d) Are there too many or too few rules? Why? (e) What rules would you like to get rid of? Why? (f) What rules should be introduced? Why? 2. Are there situations in which breaking a law could be acceptable? For example, what do you think about a group of environmental activists who break the law when protesting against tree clearing? With this in mind, debate the following topic: ‘It is acceptable to break the law sometimes’.
Use the internet to find out the age at which a person in Australia can legally: (a) drive a car on a public road (b) drink in licensed premises (c) get married (d) buy cigarettes (e) sign a contract.
Anarchy - disorder or confusion due to the absence of government. Laws - a set of legal rules
There are many temptations in life that are prevented and regulated though the use of laws. Watch the clip below from "Dark knight rises" and complete the reflection activity.
Imagine anarchy erupts in the school at this very moment and for the next 24 hours all actions are consequence free. Write a 150+ word journal reflection of the things you would do in that 24 hours knowing you would not be apprehended. This can be typed and include visuals if you want. The best/creative top 5 will be posted on this Padlet:
You will watch the video in the link below twice: http://www.peo.gov.au/multimedia/videos/about-parliament-what-is-parliament.html Answer the following questions 1. What is a Parliament? 2. What decisions are made at Parliament? 3. Who makes up the Parliament? 4. How many senators make up The Senate? 5. How many electorates make up the House of Representatives? 6. Approximately how many bills are passed around each year?