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Big Deal Feature Doco (ATOM Study Guide)

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One man's odyssey into the hidden rot of our modern democracy: money and politics.

Christiaan Van Vuuren is an everyday Aussie – a comedian and a father with a keen sense of fairness and justice. Christiaan is proud of his country, its peaceful society and its sound political system. So proud, in fact, that he might be a little complacent. Smug, even.

Big Deal begins with Christiaan mocking the fact that the US democracy has been taken over by big money, but he soon realises that the situation in his home country is not all that different. A wake-up call about the frightening extent to which money has infiltrated politics, Christiaan's unlikely journey shows us why we should care, and how we might work together to ensure our democracy is safeguarded from being sold to the highest bidder.

Active citizenship and democratic values such as equity and justice are much lauded in our schools and the broader Australian community. Big Deal presents an opportunity to explore the extent to which these concepts and values hold up in the context of political donations and lobbying.

Curriculum Links:

This study guide is suitable for mid to senior secondary students and tertiary students.

Active citizenship and democratic values such as equity and justice are much lauded in our schools and the broader Australian community. Big Deal presents an opportunity to explore the extent to which these concepts and values hold up in the context of political donations and lobbying.

Specific links to the HASS (Civics and Citizenship) curriculum are:

Year 9

  • How citizens' political choices are shaped, including the influence of the media
  • The process through which government policy is shaped and developed, including the role of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • The role of political parties and independent representatives in Australia's system of government, including the formation of governments
  • How and why individuals and groups, including religious groups, participate in and contribute to civic life

Year 10

  • The challenges to and ways of sustaining a resilient democracy and cohesive society

Specifically, by watching Big Deal, students can:

  • learn about the political donations system and other funding for political parties and independents in Australia
  • examine some ethical issues relating to political donations
  • consider the challenges associated with overcoming the shortcomings of the current political donation system
  • compare the power of the ordinary Australian citizen to that of lobby, corporate and interest groups
  • evaluate the importance of active citizenship and the value of political discourse at community level

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