How policies are shaped with a case study of superannuation

SubjectNSW Commerce YearStage 5 Curriculum Time150

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Students consider the reasons for superannuation and why employers are required to make compulsory payments to each worker’s superannuation account. They explore issues of fairness for women and men in the outcomes of Australia’s superannuation system and, as a way of appreciating how Australia’s democratic processes are designed to allow many voices to be heard, they explore the process through which policy is shaped.

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

This activity contributes to the following outcomes.

A student:

  • applies consumer, financial, economic, business, legal, political and employment concepts and terminology in a variety of contexts COM5-1
  • analyses the rights and responsibilities of individuals in a range of consumer, financial, economic, business, legal, political and employment contexts COM5-2
  • examines the role of law in society COM5-3
  • evaluates options for solving problems and issues COM5-5
  • researches and assesses information using a variety of sources COM5-7
  • explains information using a variety of forms COM5-8
  • works independently and collaboratively to meet individual and collective goals within specified timeframes COM5-9

Related Stage 4 outcomes: COM4-1, COM4-2, COM4-3, COM4-5, COM4-7, COM4-8, COM4-9

Related Life Skills outcomes: COMLS-5, COMLS-7, COMLS-11, COMLS-12, COMLS-13

Content descriptions

Core 4: Law, Society and Political Involvement

The role and structure of the legal system


  • investigate the nature of laws and the reasons for laws in society in relation to values, morals and ethics.

Participation in the democratic process

  • describe the process through which government policy is shaped and developed, including the role of Prime Minister and Cabinet (ACHCK103).

Teacher resources

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Fact file

A super future

Student learning resources

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Proposing a Bill


Shaping superannuation policy

How to

Writing paragraphs about law, society and political involvement


Writing essays

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group. The activity was written for students in Stage 5, however it can be modified to suit the needs of Stage 4 students and Life skills students. If you assign this activity to a class, your students will be assigned all student resources on their 'My learning' page. You can also hand-pick the resources students are assigned by selecting individual resources when you add a work item to a class in 'My classes'.

Part A: Exploring the sources of retirement income

  1. Students think-pair-share 3 reasons why people ‘retire’ at the end of their paid employment.
  2. Pose the question: Who provides the funds that allow people to live in retirement? Elicit responses from students and point to the shared responsibility of individuals, employers and government to provide for people after their working life. Point out that all employers put aside funds that are regarded as part of workers’ entitlements.
  3. Display A super future – Visualiser and explain and discuss the 3 statements.
  4. Ask students to consider Point 2 and brainstorm factors that might determine how much money a person has accumulated at the end of their paid employment. Possible responses include:
    • length of time of paid employment
    • the amount of money being earned
    • the profitability of superannuation investments
    • time out of paid work.
  5. Invite groups to share their responses and record them on the board.
  6. Invite students to vote on the most appropriate solution for the government to address inequity in superannuation outcomes.

Part B: Exploring reasons for the gender gap in super

  1. As a class read the investigation.
  2. Pairs of students collaboratively complete the investigation.
  3. Students share their proposals (blogs) with the class.
  4. Record these on the board.
  5. As class vote on the most popular proposal. Students will need to consider this in the next part of this activity.

Part C: Exploring the process through which policy is shaped

  1. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into groups of 3 or 4.
  2. Groups read the scenario on the group instructions and collaboratively complete the questions.
  3. Use a snowball discussion to allow groups to share their responses to the discussion points. Continue combining groups until all groups have joined in a class discussion.
  4. Students individually write one or more paragraphs, depending on their levels of readiness, explaining the factors that need to be considered when proposing and passing a Bill.
  5. Refer students to the paragraph model and/or writing essays template.