The educational Australian Constitution Centre Exhibition opened at the High Court, Canberra, on 9 April 2018. It supports aspects of the Australian Curriculum HASS, Civics and Citizenship years 5 to 10. The project was funded by a grant from the Australian Government. The Exhibition and website have been completed through a collaboration between The Constitution Education Fund and the High Court of Australia.
Australian school need better resources to teach about our constitutional history and processes of government. In 2017 the ACARA civics and citizenship testing (NAP_CC)of year 10s resulted in only 38% of students meeting the proficient standard for their understanding of civics in Australia. This means 62% of students failed. Such results are likely to flow through to our communities and lead to a decline of engagement in civil society.
Topics covered in the Australian Constitution Centre teaching and learning program and resources include:
- The Australian Constitution: its story and how it works.
- The six foundational Constitution principles: democracy; the rule of law; separation of powers; federalism; nationhood and rights balanced by responsibilities.
- The processes of the Australian system of parliamentary democratic government, and its story.
- The values and ideas behind the writing of the Australian Constitution and the influences on it from the history of democratic ideas since Ancient Greece.
- The High Court of Australia since 1903, particularly through the eyes of its 13 Chief Justices, and exploring significant cases that incorporate the six constitutional principles.
- The people and institutions of the Australian nation’s constitutional story.
The teaching and learning resources also explore aspects of the contemporary core cross-curriculum topics including, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples studies, sustainability, and Australia’s role in Asia. Students discover how the Australian nation and civil society has changed through the process of constitutional evolution. Students learn how British settlement in 1788 brought with it the foundational principles, institutions, beliefs and values which would later give us our unique constitutional arrangements.
The resources website also links to related teaching and learning resources already provided by relevant organisations and institutions. The Australian Constitution Centre is not intended to duplicate programs and resources already offered by other educational stakeholders and institutions.
Yes, the hours of opening for public visits are Monday to Friday 9.45am to 4.30pm and Sunday from midday to 4.00pm, except public holidays, at the High Court in Canberra. Admission to the High Court building is free of charge.