Representation and Text

This module requires students to explore various representations of events, personalities or situations. They evaluate how medium of production, textual form, perspective and choice of language influence meaning. The study develops students’ understanding of the relationships between representation and meaning. (Refer to the English Stage 6 Syllabus, p 48.)

Elective 1: Representing People and Politics

In this elective, students explore and evaluate various representations of people and politics in their prescribed text and other related texts of their own choosing. They consider the ways in which texts represent individual, shared or competing political perspectives, ideas, events or situations. Students analyse representations of people’s political motivations and actions, as well as the impact political acts may have on individual lives or society more broadly. In their responding and composing, students develop their understanding of how the relationship between various textual forms, media of production and language choices influences and shapes meaning.

Prescribed text
why weren't we told
Reynolds, Henry, Why Weren’t We Told?


The Sydney Morning Herald. 2016. The silent majority backs Sydney’s lockout laws. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2016].

The Sydney Morning Herald. 2016. Sydney lockout laws review not winner takes all. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2016].

The Huffington Post Australia. 2016. NSW Premier Mike Baird On Lockout Laws: ‘There Are Two Sides To This Debate’. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2016].

Four Corners (2013) – Punch Drunk – Clickview video link
Australians love a drink, and some see no problem at all with drinking to excess. But now doctors, police and paramedics have called ‘time’, warning that alcohol -fuelled violence has reached crisis levels. Four corners website notes

The Sydney Morning Herald. 2016. Gay marriage: the political knot it’s impossible to untie. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2016].

The Huffington Post Australia. 2016. A Letter To My Daughter, From One Of Her Mothers. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2016].

The Huffington Post Australia. 2016. The Government Shouldn’t Decide Who We Can Marry. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 June 2016].

WONG, P 2016, ‘IT’S TIME. (cover story)’, Monthly: Australian Politics, Society & Culture, 119, pp. 18-23, Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre, EBSCOhost, viewed 13 June 2016.
The article discusses legislative issues which tend to prevent marriage equality in Australia. Topics explored include the need for the Australian government to provide equal treatment and opportunities to same-sex couples, the social implications of not allowing gay and lesbian couples in Australia to earn rights associated with marriage, and the potential role of religious institutions in the approval of the marriage equality bill in the country.
Available at Oakhill

Bad Blood – Doctors speak out about offshore detention – 4 corners

GOODMAN, LM 2014, ‘DARK MONEY’, Newsweek Global, vol. 163, no. 14, pp. 12-16.

The article discusses the impact of anonymous monetary donations in political campaigns in the U.S., focusing on the role of such dark money in the U.S. midterm elections in November 2014. Topics include the rules of campaign finance, and the unwillingness or inability of regulators to monitor such spending; the U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission; and statistics on donations, spending by candidates, and the partisan divide on the type of donation received.
Available at Oakhill

Rieden, J 2016, ‘Watching my father die is the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen’, Australian Women’s Weekly, vol. 86, no. 4, pp. 66-68.
The article discusses the desire of Australian television producer and comedian Andrew Denton for the legalisation of euthanasia in the country driven by the death of his father Kit. Topics discussed include the difficulty faced by the family of Andrew watching the death of his father, the advocate of Andrew for the introduction of assisted dying legislation in the country, and the preference of Andrew for assisted dying for himself.
Available at Oakhill

Rabah, N 2011, ‘My Australian Muslim story’, Eureka Street, vol. 21, no. 17, pp. 41-42.
A personal narrative is presented which explores the author’s experiences of being a Muslim in Australia.
Available at Oakhill

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad READ BIO 958.104 SEI at Oakhill ISBN: 9781844080472 kabulTwo weeks after September 11th, award-winning journalist Asne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to report on the conflict. In the following spring, she returned to live with a bookseller and his family for several months. The Bookseller of Kabul is the fascinating account of her time spent living with the family of thirteen in their four-roomed home. Bookseller Sultan Khan defied the authorities for twenty years to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock in attics all over Kabul. But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and hatred of censorship, he is also a committed Muslim with strict views on family life. As an outsider, Seierstad is able to move between the private world of the women – including Khan’s two wives – and the more public lives of the men. The result is an intimate and fascinating portrait of a family which also offers a unique perspective on a troubled country.

To Hell and Back by Sydney Loch  EXPLORE 940.4 LOC at Oakhill ISBN: 9780732285456to hellAs a young soldier in the battlefields of Gallipoli, Sydney Loch witnessed the horror of war first hand. His journal of what he saw became a book on his return to Australia. Hoping to avoid military censorship, his publishers dubbed Loch’s book a novel: The Straits Impregnable.

Left for Dead by Peter Nelson READ WAR 940.54 NEL at Oakhill ISBN: 9780385730914 leftHunter Scott, an 11-year-old boy in Pensacola, Florida, was watching the movie Jaws, listening to Captain Quint tell the story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis at the end of World War II.  Eleven hundred men went into the water. Very first light, the sharks come cruising. . . .́ Hunter had a simple question: Was this a true story? The story of the USS Indianapolis, the worst naval disaster in American history, is indeed true. So is the story of the shameful court-martial of the ship’s captain, shameful because the loss of the ship was not his fault, and the Navy knew it. Hunter Scott became the catalyst for the survivorś efforts to clear their captain’s name and set the record straight. This is the story of the ship, her brave sailors, their wronged captain, and a young man’s crusade to right an old injustice.



The justice game by Geoffrey Robertson Call Number: REA BIO 340.092 ROB at Oakhill ISBN: 9780099581918 justiceGeoff Robertson was born in Australia, bu came to London in 1970. He made his name as the fearless defender of Oz magazine at the celebrated trial and went on to engage in some of the most newsworthy cases in recent history. He has defended John Stonehouse, Cynthia Payne, Salman Rushdie, Kate Adie, Arthur Scargill, Daniel Sullivan, Gay News, ‘The Romans of Britain’, ‘Niggaz with Attitude’, and a pair of foetal earrings. The book includes accounts of recent cases including the defence of a West London gym owner against the Prince of Wales, the Matrix Churchill affair, and the defence of the Guardian in the cash-for-questions affair.

Adventures in Law and Justice by Bryan Horrigan READ BIO 340 HOR at Oakhill  ISBN: 9780868405728 lawIn this wide-ranging exploration of both newsworthy and timeless dilemmas in law and justice, Professor Bryan Horrigan traces the connections between law, society, and our everyday lives. Vividly illustrated with Australian and international examples, this travel book for the mind unlocks the mysteries of law and justice and makes them accessible to everyone. It dispels many misconceptions surrounding our legal and constitutional systems, and delves into major law and justice questions that affect us all.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties by Justin Healey Call Number: eBook at Oakhill ISBN: 9781921507434
This book examines Australia’s human rights record and a range of opinions in the debate over adequate and appropriate human rights protection.

CountedClickview video link
50 years ago Australians resoundingly voted ‘Yes’ to count Aboriginal people among the Commonwealth population. Stan Grant takes us on his own personal journey & speaks to the heroes of the referendum & their grandchildren.

Privacy and information rights by Healey, Justin Call Number: eBook at Oakhill ISBN: 9781921507786
Privacy protection is a growing concern in relation to how people use rapidly advancing technology to store and share their personal information with family, friends, organisations and governments. Many Australians’ daily interactions are conveyed by social networking websites and mobile phones, and can involve sharing personal and financial data online, often under the watchful eye of CCTV surveillance – but are our privacy laws and protections keeping pace with technological change?

Heart of Stone by Michael Chamberlain READ BIO 345.9429 CHA at Oakhill ISBN: 9781742572895 heartIt has taken almost 32 years, 10 court cases, tens of millions of dollars, more than a dozen books, untold magazine articles and scores of television programmes, movies and this book to tell the saga of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s fight to get justice in the Northern Territory courts of law.  This book is a missing link in the story of Azaria, written in his own hand by her father.

Mass Media Media ethics and regulation by Justin Healey Call Number: eBook at Oakhill ISBN: 9781922084057
Presents a current overview of the state of Australia’s media and explores a broad range of concerns, including ethics and accountability, media ownership, control and editorial independence, freedom of the press, the government’s regulatory responses to convergence, and advertising and journalistic standards, classifications and codes of ethics.

Jónsdóttir, B 2015, ‘Democracy in the digital era. (cover story)’, New Internationalist, no. 479, pp. 12-16.
The article shares strategies on how to improve democracy on the Internet. Topics noted include the factors contributing to the vulnerability of interconnectivity system, description of parliamentary democracy in Iceland, the reason for the establishment of the Iceland Modern Media Initiative, and unpredictability of data cloud computing.
Available at Oakhill

Televising War by Andrew Hoskins EXPLORE 355 HOS at Oakhill ISBN: 9780826473066 warThe recent Iraq War has been heavily scrutinised by all aspects of the media. Never before have so many images of conflict been so accessible to the public. Andrew Hoskins analyses the relationship the media has had on the public’s perception of the Iraq war and how the governments in the US, the UK and Iraq have tried to manipulate the public conscience via the media.

Hall, LJ, & Donaghue, N 2013, ”Nice girls don’t carry knives’: Constructions of ambition in media coverage of Australia’s first female prime minister’,British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 631-647. Available from: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2012.02114.x. [10 June 2016]. Available at Oakhill
Julia Gillard became the first female prime minister of Australia in 2010. This paper examines the various ways in which her success was constructed in the Australian print media in the days immediately following her elevation. In particular, we focus on how an issue that has long beset women aspiring to power and leadership – the so-called ‘double bind’ in which aspiring women leaders must display high competence and ambition in traditionally masculine domains while maintaining sufficient femininity so as not to be disliked – was constructed in this high-profile instance. We discuss the coverage in terms of its implications for the need to create an androgynized presentation of ambition, the continuing relevance of gender stereotypes, and the mixture of threat and opportunity provided to women taking positions on ‘the glass cliff’. These issues remain crucially important for women aspiring to power and leadership in contemporary western societies.

Thomas, RJ, & Finneman, T 2014, ‘Who watches the watchdogs?’, Journalism Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 172-186. Available from: 10.1080/1461670X.2013.806068. [10 June 2016]. Available at Oakhill The British press is notable for its longstanding resistance to accountability. However, the Leveson Inquiry, formed in response to the 2011 phone-hacking scandal, has opened up a dialogue on the culture, practices, and ethics of the British press and, by extension, the roles and responsibilities it is expected to bear. Taking the position that analysing journalistic “metadiscourse”—journalism about journalism—is critical to understanding how the press views its role in a democracy, this study analyzes editorial comment in mainstream national daily and Sunday newspapers on the Leveson Inquiry from its inception to the conclusion of its hearing phase. We find four central discursive strategies: catastrophization (the slippery slope to state control), self-affirmation (affirming journalism’s value to a democratic society), minimization (downplaying the significance of the phone-hacking scandal and therefore questioning the legitimacy of the inquiry), and localization (localizing the damage to the community to acts committed by a handful of members). We argue these findings are indicative of an institutional ideology that is quick to assert rights but largely resistant to notions of attendant responsibilities.

KROTOSKI, A 2011, ‘Wikileaks and the New, Transparent World Order’, Political Quarterly, vol. 82, no. 4, pp. 526-530. Available from: 10.1111/j.1467-923X.2011.02250.x. [10 June 2016]. Available at Oakhill
The article discusses the relationship between the structure of the internet and its political impact. It argues that the inherently decentralised nature of the original ARPANET and the user-friendliness of the World Wide Web made this medium particularly suitable for the broad dissemination of information. The collaborative leak-publishing website Wikileaks, and the online social network Facebook are discussed as examples of innovative and influential services which are made possible by the distinctive software architecture of the internet.

GODREJ, D 2016, ‘Technology as if people mattered’, New Internationalist, 492, pp. 12-16. Available at Oakhill
The article focuses on the social aspects of technological innovations. Topics mentioned include the importance of technological innovations in agriculture, the satisfaction of people in several basic needs including health, energy, and water, and the lack of technology in some poor community. Also mentioned are the social aspects of injustice, the women farmers, and the telemedicine in African countries.