Year 12 – Social and Community Studies (CC BY)

Subject overview

Social and Community Studies Applied Senior Syllabus (2019)

Elective: Legally, it could be you

Social and Community Studies is a four-unit course of study. Social and Community Studies Applied syllabus deals with the skills students need to function efficiently and positively in current and future life roles.  It cultivates appreciation of, and respect for, cultural diversity and encourages responsible attitudes and behaviours required for effective participation in the community and for thinking critically, creatively and constructively about their futures. (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority [QCAA], 2019). This elective examines the civic rights and obligations of young school leavers. During the semester long course of study, students conduct social investigations.

Core concepts and ideas

  • The law is part of daily life and influences and determines a person’s choices.
  • Knowledge of the law is necessary in order to operate effectively as a member of society.
  • The law establishes rights and responsibilities to regulate how individuals and groups behave in society.
  • Empathising with different perspectives within various social contexts allows an understanding of laws to develop through connectedness to the world and others.

Knowledge, understanding and life skills

Personal Skills

  • A person’s self-concept and self-esteem are moulded by their experiences
  • An ability to plan, organise, manage and make efficient and effective use of time and resources is essential for personal development
  •  Integrity, values, self-discipline, and social responsibility benefit self-growth
  •  A person’s aspirations determine many important lifelong decisions and involve setting personal goals and devising strategies to attain them

Interpersonal Skills

  •  Relationships with others are influenced by various social contexts
  •  Relationships change as people grow and develop
  •  Interpersonal skills are integral to building positive relationships with other people
  •  Interpersonal communication shapes how a person is perceived in the real world

Citizen Skills

  •  Active citizenship in the community ensures that a person contributes to the society in which they live
  • Empathy with different perspectives within various social contexts is developed by connectedness to the world and others
  • Active citizenship sustains quality community

Curriculum links

This resource is aligned with the Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority Version 1.0 and the Australian Curriculum Cross-Curriculum Priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.

Underpinning factors

  • Applied learning
  • Community connections
  • Core skills for work
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

General capabilities

general capabilities icons ethical understanding intercultural understanding critical and creative thinking personal and social capability
Source: ACARA General Capabilities (2022)

Cross-curricular priorities

diagram showing circles and the relationship of cross curricular priorities for people, culture and country/place in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture
Source: ACARA General Capabilities (2022)

Inquiry skills

Inquiry skills are used by students in each module of work and are developed by students engaging in the inquiry process in both learning and assessment experiences. Building on students’ prior knowledge and experience, an inquiry generally follows a sequence of phases including:

  • define rights, responsibilities and human rights using research strategies, investigations, projects and establishing questions
  • apply and examine The Declaration of Human Rights and its purpose. Organise and analyse evidence, information and date and evaluate validity of  evidence
  • synthesise- interpret and use information from a variety of sources to investigate how we learn about our rights and responsibilities, how other countries operate in terms of human rights, who protects human rights, and how human rights are protected in Australia
  • reflect and produce – formulating opinions and arguments, producing evidence  or taking action about human rights abuses across the globe and within Australia and ways active citizens can help protect human rights
  • evaluate and justify- the systems in place in Australia that protect human rights
  • reflect and appraise significant human rights cases in Australia and their impact including Mabo v Queensland (No.1 and No. 2) (racial discrimination) reconsidering consequences and outcomes of each of the identified phases.

Lesson Plan


Lesson Plan



Do you know your rights?



  • Rights
  • Responsibilities
  • Declaration of Human Rights


  • Human rights
  • How do we learn about our rights?
  • How do other countries operate in terms of Human rights?
  • How are Human rights protected?


  • Create a poster about Human rights.



Australian Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). Brochures- know your rights.

Dzehtsiarou, K. (2021). Compulsory vaccination: What does human rights law say? The Conversation.

Gjelton, T. (2018). Boundlessly idealistic, Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still resisted. NPR.

Simons, M. (2021). We need to think about post-lockdown rights. The Monthly.

United Nations. (n.d.). Protect human rights.



What are Human rights and why are they important?



  • Human rights (revise)
  • “For many of us, the right to express our ideas and live how we choose is something we take for granted. But these rights and many others have come as the result of years of hard work and deliberation.”(Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018). 


  • What human rights are
  • Why they are important?
  • The value of Human rights
  • What are the consequences of compromising these rights?


Look at

  • The development of Human rights
  • The United Nations – promoting and enforcing Human rights
  • Protecting Human rights in Australia
  • Contemporary issues in Human rights.


  1. A Pathway to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education is a 28-minute long documentary that demonstrates the impact of Human rights education.
  2. Discuss as a class what the documentary is about. How does it relate to Human rights?

Australian Human Rights Commission. (2018). What are human rights? [Video]. YouTube.

Australian Human Rights Commission (2021). ‘From dreams, let’s make it a reality‘ [Video]. YouTube.

United Nations Human Rights. (2012). A path to dignity. [Video]. YouTube.

Wenz, K. (2020). What if a single human right could change the world? [Video]. TED Conferences.


How Human rights are protected in Australia







Universal Declaration of Human Rights



  • What protects Human rights in Australia?
  • Rule of law


  • Australia is founded on the rule of law and has a strong tradition of respect for the rights and freedoms of every individual.


  1. Human rights are recognised and protected across Australia through a range of laws at the federal and state and territory levels, the Australian Constitution, and the common law.
  2. Use Kahoot to create a quiz on Australian laws and Human rights.
  3. Design an infographic for a teenage audience promoting one article from the Declaration of Human Rights.



Attorney-General’s Department. (n.d). Human rights protections.

Australian Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). How are human rights protected in Australian law?



Australian Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Human rights at your fingertips.



Human rights cases in Australia



  • Racial Discrimination


  • The Mabo Decision.


Research Questions:

  1. What is terra nullius?
  2. What two perspectives of the Australian legal system did the Mabo case challenge?
  3. Who was Vincent Lingiari and why was he significant to Aboriginal Australia?
  4. What was the significance of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy?
  5. How is this relevant today?
  6. Use chapters of Eddie Koiki Mabo: History in the Making as a class to discuss how the Mabo case impacted Human rights in Australia? 

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. (2008). Case summary: Mabo v Queensland.

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. (n.d.). Right wrongs: ’67 Referendum – WA 50 years on.

James Cook University Library. (2022). Eddie Koiki Mabo: A timeline of history in the making. James Cook University Open eBooks.


Indigenous peoples and Human rights



  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration)


  • What are some of the human rights problems faced by Indigenous peoples?
  • Look at the Rights Tracker created by The Human Rights Measurement Initiative. How well is Australia respecting human rights?


  • In pairs, discuss ways Australia could improve human rights protections for Indigenous Australians.
  • Create a PowerPoint and present your ideas to class.



Australian Human Rights Commission. (n.d).
Human rights and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Department of Economic and Social Affairs Indigenous Peoples. (2007). UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. United Nations.



Summary and revision



  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights


  • Know and understand the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Race and sexism/gender
  • Active citizenship
  • Human rights and protecting Human rights


  • Create individual word clouds (images comprised of words about Mabo and Native Title). Students can use online word cloud generators for this activity.
  • Watch the video You are Powerful by Amnesty Youth. Identify the Human Rights abuses occurring in the short film.
  • Ask students to think up a new Human Right Article.
  • Read this ABC news article. What is the article about? What does it say about Human rights?
  • Human Rights Activity– worksheet. Complete individually going around the class asking questions.

Amnesty International. (n 2018). Learning about human rights in the secondary school.

ABC news. (2022).  UN Human Right Council appoints independent expert to keep tabs on Russian rights violations.


Practice Exam  

Practice exam question:

How do the Mabo v Queensland cases highlight racial discrimination, human rights abuse and the power of individuals to make change for the betterment of others?


Assessment Examination


This technique assesses the application of a range of cognition to provided questions, scenarios and/or problems. Responses are completed individually, under supervised conditions and in a set timeframe.

Dimensions to be assessed:

This assessment technique is to be used to determine student achievement in objectives from both of the following dimensions:

  • knowing and understanding
  • applying and examining.

Short response test:

Short response tests typically consist of a number of items that may include students responding to some or all of the following activities:

  • recognising, describing and explaining concepts, ideas, issues and viewpoints
  • analysing and comparing viewpoints about social contexts and issues – responding to seen or unseen stimulus materials
  • interpreting and applying ideas and information
  • drawing, labelling or interpreting equipment, graphs, tables or diagrams.


Respond to questions or stimuli about short legal and citizenship scenarios.

Example stimuli:

Mabo v Queensland (No.1)

Before the High Court had considered Eddie Mabo’s claim that he had native title over his traditional lands in the Torres Strait, the Queensland Government passed a law extinguishing all native title in Queensland. The High Court found that, on the assumption that Indigenous people did have title to their traditional land, the Queensland law was discriminatory because it took away property rights from Indigenous people and not from anybody else. The High Court later went on to consider whether, under Australian law, Indigenous people did have title to their traditional land – a matter decided in the famous case of Mabo v Queensland (No.2).

Exam Question:

Explain the significance of the Mabo v Queensland ( No. 1 and No. 2) cases to Australians with reference to human rights.


  • Short response tests occur under supervised conditions as students produce work individually and in a set time to ensure authenticity.
  • Questions, scenarios and problems are typically unseen. If seen, teachers must ensure the purpose of this technique is not compromised.
  • Stimulus materials may also be used and may be seen or unseen.
  • Unseen questions, statements or stimulus materials should not be copied from information or texts that students have previously been exposed to or have directly used in class.
  • At least two of the core life skills areas must be covered within each examination.

Example student high level response


The Mabo v Queensland is one of our most significant legal cases in Australia and possibly, the world. The case introduced the Native Title’s Act and returned land to Eddie Mabo’s people and gave the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people their basic human rights, that they are entitled to. Not only did the Mabo case set a precedent and introduce a new act but it also abolished the term terra nullius in the Constitution. The Constitution is Australia’s most important document as it is the foundation of Australia (enacted in 1901). Terra nullius means land belonging to no one, and in 1788, Australia was defined as terra nullius as it justified the British aquisition of the land without needing to establish a treaty or payment. This was an unjust act that took Aboriginal people’s land and waters away from them, denouncing them as the rightful owners.

Source: United Nations. (n.d). Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Year 12 - Social and Community Studies (CC BY) Copyright © by James Cook University Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.