Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


The course explores the processes of communication as they relate to structures of government and to other socio-political and institutional forces within society. It examines responsibilities and relationships between tiers of government and probes processes of decision and policy-making. The course considers concepts related to power, influence, ideology and values, political involvement and active citizenship. Through contemporary issues and events, consideration is applied to the Australian system of government, and how political power is contested, gained, exercised, and resisted. The role and influence of social and political movements as methods of organising political ideas and action will be examined.

Availability2021 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify and describe the major components and responsibilities of local, regional and national systems of government, and key forces involved in contemporary public affairs;

2. Effectively communicate how these components, responsibilities and forces inter-relate;

3. Identify and explain the role and contribution of professional public affairs communication in contemporary policy formation;

4. Analyse and interpret current events and issues in the light of this understanding; and,

5. Outline and explain the role of communication professionals in public affairs.


Content explores the significant institutions and forces that shape political society and their role in contemporary public affairs.

Topics will include:

  • local, regional and national systems;
  • the role and operation of the various spheres of government;
  • political parties, democracy and interest groups;
  • the parliamentary, executive and judicial arms of government;
  • electoral systems
  • the public and private sectors;
  • the formulation of public policy; and,
  • the role of communication professionals in public affairs.

Assumed knowledge

60 units at 2000 level including CMNS1090.

Assessment items

Essay: Assessment 1 - Essay 20%

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Assessment 2 - Written 40%

Presentation: Assignment 3 - Class Presentation 20%

Log / Workbook: Assignment 4 - Blackboard Postings 20%

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct and PSB Singapore


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks starting in week 1

Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks starting in week 2

Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.