POL10244 Assessment Essay Writing – Australia’s Major Parties

 Assessment Preparation 

Essay Question 

“There is little difference between the two major parties.” Do you agree with this statement? With academic and peer-reviewed support – explain your reasons. 

  • Show your knowledge of Australia’s major political parties.
  •  Demonstrate how political parties are important for liberal democracy
  •  Take a position which you defend with evidence.

 Note there is no ‘correct’ answer: you could argue the major parties are very different or increasingly similar. The key thing is to structure your argument well, drawing on themes we discuss in class.


Length: 1,800 words 

Marking Criteria:

The soundness of arguments and conclusions from analysis – 20% Understanding of the party differences in Federal Parliament – 20% Engagement with and understanding of Australian liberal democracy – 20% Evidence of wide research – at least six academic sources – 10%

Presentation: includes spelling, punctuation, grammar, paragraphing, adherence to word length – 20%

Accurate Referencing – 10% 

Structuring Your Essay: 

Introduction (150 wds): 

  • Write this part last.
  • No references needed (but if you are making big claims, ensure you reference)
  • This section provides an overview of the essay to come and contains:
  1. ○ Opening statements about the essay topic
  2. ○ Argument sentence
  3. ○ A list of topics discussed in the essay, in order, in prose (“This essay with discuss, x, y and x”…. and conclude using your argument sentence) 

Overview/background (300 wds): 

  • Briefly introduce and define Australia’s major parties (ref), consider contrasting with minor parties.

 Notes, Help, and Exercises 

  • Demonstrate you understand how Australia’s major parties compete within a stable two-party system and how the parties organize themselves in Federal Parliament (ref)
  • Introduce liberal democracy and define (ref) and demonstrate your understanding of that political philosophy
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the role major political parties play in Australia’s liberal democratic society
  • Argument sentence – what is your position on whether the two major parties are similar or different? [and what does that mean for liberal democracy]?

 Body paragraphs 1-3 (400 wds) 

  • Topic Sentence: Introduce a discussion point that illustrates your position on the question (e.g., There is little difference between major political parties as they chase the same voters)
  • Evidence: A paraphrased piece of evidence illustrating the description (ref) (e.g., a detailed description of the way Australia’s major parties have evolved over time to become more similar.)
  • Evaluation/Elaboration: Strengthen your argument by bringing in further evidence to support your point (e.g., explain how political parties have increasingly become ‘catch-all’ or professional electoral parties, with their commitment to distinct ideologies de-emphasized in the interests of electoral expediency)
  • Link It to Your Argument Statement/Sentence – This means explicitly stating how your paragraph relates back to the essay question and what it proves (e.g., the professionalization of Australia’s major parties means they are increasingly similar in their electoral tactics, and ultimately their policy agenda)

 Conclusion (150 wds) 

  • Summarise what you have said by listing (in prose) what you have covered
  • Restate your argument/position ” This paper has demonstrated….”
  • Do not introduce new ideas here!