Governance and Accountability
Prepare a fully referenced essay on ONE of the topics below.
Essay length 2000 words (does not include footnotes/endnotes and bibliography).
Submission requirements: All assignments are to be lodged online via our
CloudDeakin site. Marked assignments will also be returned online.
Late submission: Assignments are to be submitted by the due date unless an
extension is granted. Extensions may be granted under special circumstances and are
to be sought via email from Dr Peter Haeusler. Unless there are special reasons any
extension is to be obtained before the due date. Details of penalties for late submission
can be found under ‘Late submission of assignments’ in your Unit Guide.
Plagiarism and collusion: Please ensure that you read the relevant section in your
Unit Guide. Also see the Guide to assignment writing and referencing which is located
in the Assessment folder on our home page.
Referencing and citation: Ensure that you attach a complete list of all works or
material that you have drawn upon in preparing your assignment. This includes works
directly cited, as well as for instance material used for ‘background’ purposes but not
actually cited in the body of the assignment. It is preferred that you use the Harvard
(in-text) citation system. You are, as a matter of course, expected to make every
effort to include relevant page(s) in all your citations, that is, even when not directly
Assessment criteria: These are detailed below following the essay topics. Ensure that
you take them into account in preparing your essay.
These topics relate mainly to the material in Topics 1-3 of the Study Guide, although
some are more wide-ranging. We have endeavored to frame some of the topics at
least in such a way as to allow latitude so that you can follow your particular lines of
interest or experience. However, it is advisable to check the appropriateness of what
you propose with your tutor, Dr Rod Wise, before going too far!
Please note that ALL TOPICS call for you to explore relevant ideas or principles AND
use examples or evidence in developing and supporting your arguments.
1. What is the meaning of ‘accountability’ and how does it differ from related
terms such as ‘responsibility’, ‘control’, and ‘responsiveness’? In addressing
this topic you need to explore the differing views concerning these terms and
their inter-relationship. It may be useful to draw upon the practices in a
particular country to illustrate your points.
2. ‘Given that Australian politics de facto vests overwhelming authority in its Prime
Minister (or State Premiers), greater accountability would be achieved if we
abandoned the Westminster fiction of parliamentary control over the executive
and adopted the checks and balances of a presidential system’. Discuss
3. Examine critically the proposition that the Senate represents an effective
accountability mechanism in Australia today. Use evidence to support your
argument(s). You may even want to examine a particular case or episode here
in order to allow more depth in your analysis.
4. ‘Accountability problems in Australia today stem to a significant extent from an
inherent incompatibility between parliamentary systems of responsible
government and the federal division of powers’. Discuss critically.
5. ‘Accountability is incomplete without effective measures to ensure that
institutions or officials are not only called to account, but are held to account’.
6. ‘Institutional accountability is best achieved through dispersed power and
delegated responsibilities rather than through centralised control’. Discuss
7. Assess critically the role and efficacy of ‘ministerial responsibility’ when it comes
to securing government accountability in Australia today.
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