Over the past 9 lessons we have learned that:
- Our traditions of self-government, limited kingship and of trial by jury come from the Norse culture.
- Feudalism in both church and state buried political and religious freedom for around 600 years.
- The Australian constitution sets up the machinery of Federation but does not give us individual rights.
- Those constitutional freedoms we have come from British constitutional sources beginning with Magna Carter.
- Parliament is the supreme law making body but the government is Cabinet and that Cabinet is formed by the party or coalition that has the most seats in the lower house of Parliament.
- Cabinet directs the Public Service.
- The incompetency of all Cabinets is an integral part of the Westminster system.
- We learned how to find and lobby local representatives.
- We learned that influence is a long term project and looked at the world through the eyes of a politician.
- We looked at the policy cycle in the public service, and how the public service both implements and drives policy change.
- We looked at some of the unseen influencers in our social system. We talked specifically about political parties and party factions, media ownership, the secret services, corporate funding and organised crime.
- In this lesson we have looked at four major social trends including the trend towards androgyny, the trend towards sustainability, the take-over of society by corporations, and the commercialisation of humanity. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
We live today in a relatively free and prosperous country because we stand on the shoulders of giants. We stand on the shoulders of Celtic missionaries who established communities of faith in a violent pagan land. We stand on the shoulders of people whose names we do not know who first converted to Christianity. We stand on the shoulders of heretics and reformers who would not be silenced and who determined to live by their conscience. We stand on the shoulders of those who demanded limits to the power of the King and made Parliament supreme. We stand on the shoulders of explorers and navigators, and of our indigenous brothers and sisters without whose help it would have been much more difficult to develop this country. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who looked north across the Timor and Coral seas, and south across the English Channel, and decided they would rather die free than submit to tyranny. We stand on the shoulders of a generation of post war migrants who helped build our nation. One day someone will stand on your shoulders. Where to from here depends on you.