• Class Number 4533
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Mary O'Brien
    • Mary O'Brien
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The course examines the extent to which and how international human rights standards are present in, or affect, Australian law.

The course considers history, philosophy and theories of human rights.  It discusses the absence of - and analyses the need for - national human rights legislation in Australia, and reviews where and how human rights are found in Australian law.  This involves considering legislative, executive and judicial action in all jurisdictions, ranging from a National Human Rights Action Plan and the powers of the Australian Human Rights Commission, to human rights legislation in the ACT and Victoria and nationwide anti-discrimination laws.  Particular attention will be paid to various actors such as NGOs and public interest lawyers.

After a thorough examination of 'domestic' human rights, the course looks at the way Australia engages with the international system of human rights, where its conduct is subjec to scrutiny by UN committees.

The course will focus on the human rights of certain groups of people whose human rights are vulnerable in Australia, and will analyse case studies.  The course will feature at least one practical exercise inviting students to engage in human rights action as means of better understanding the material.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:
  1. Analyse and evaluate how human rights standards are relevant to, and operate in, Australian law;
  2. Identify, distinguish and analyse issues and solutions in relation to human rights standards in the specific context of particular groups of people in Australian society; and
  3. Plan and execute a project that describes, explains, analyses and compares the challenges of working with the law to protect and promote human rights in Australia by constitutional, statutory, common law and/or administrative means.

Research-Led Teaching

This course will be designed around and will engage with guest lecturers and will focus on student ideas, research and debate.

Required Resources

Paula Gerber and Melissa Castan, Contemporary Perspectives on Human Rights Law in Australia, (Lawbook Co., 2013)

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course: In person, in class, online

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), the current Grading Distribution Policy has been suspended pending the development of a new policy. For further information about the interim policy please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

Further Information about the Course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements and updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Course Introduction
2 History and theory of human rights
3 Refugees
4 SDGs and Entropy
5 Parliamentary Scrutiny
6 Sexuality Rights and issues
7 Presentations
8 Presentations
9 Presentations
10 Women’s Rights
11 Indigenous Rights
12 Review and exam discussion

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class presentation 20 % 22/03/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3
Online Discussion comments and Online quizzes 0 % 31/05/2019 31/05/2019 1,2
Research Essay 50 % 27/05/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3
Examination 30 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


The course is conducted in 3 hour classes that feature discussion of issues, problems, case studies and scenarios to examine the week’s topic more closely. This course is designed to be inquiring and discursive, and it will rely on your engagement and discussion to enhance learning. The course therefore requires your personal presence and participation. You will not receive a mark for participation, but this is a course that you must participate actively in. 


This course involves a final examination. Please note, that the dates used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams indicate approximate timeframes. Students should consult the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Class presentation

Details of task: This presentation will be a group oral presentation to the class. It will be accompanied by a written handout and/or a PowerPoint slide presentation. The presentation should improve your research, analysis and collaboration skills. All will be assessed during the presentation as described by the lecturer in a rubric that will be posted online.  The presentation must include a brief history of the development of (or lack of development of) that right in Australia. It must voice the pro-rights arguments in favour of the right’s existence as well as the arguments against the establishment of the right as a matter of law. It should contain some discussion of how the right is supported or vindicated (courts or commission or other) and some discussion of the most important cases involving that right. It should conclude with an overview of the new directions or coming developments in that area of rights.  

Early in the course, you will be allowed time to meet with another student or group of students to select a topic for class presentation. You may be given some time during subsequent classes to meet with your presentation partners to discuss and prepare the class presentation. Alternatively, you must find time to meet outside of class hours. The presentation must focus on one human right or set of human rights in Australia.

Marks for class presentations will be for each student presenting and will take into consideration all of the materials prepared and discussion presented in class.

Nature of task: Compulsory, Failure to make a presentation will result in a 0 for this task.

Value or weighting: 20%.

Release: The presentation requirement will be discussed in the first class.

Due date: Will be negotiated with the students involved. Topics and presenting partners will be chosen by students during the first four weeks of class. No late presentations (without an extension) will be permitted.

Word limit: Written summary is not required, but if it is used, the words must be limited to 1500.

Timing: The length of the presentation will generally be between 20 and 40 minutes per presenting student.

Other requirements: Each class presentation will be recorded. Presentations will be valued for being provocative, well-researched, in-depth, and insightful.   Each class presentation must be accompanied by a written handout and/or PowerPoint (or other program) slides to be presented to the class. Both the written presentation and the slides will be posted for the class to read on the course Wattle site.

Estimated return date: One week after the class presentation via email or in person.

Individual Assessment in Group Tasks (where applicable): Although the presentation will be made by more than one student, each student will be marked individually on the quality of their presentation. Students must indicate who is responsible for each part of the written document.

Assessment criteria: Each presentation will be marked on the content of the information discussed, the overview, and whether the presentation is well-researched, provocative and insightful. An assessment rubric will be made available on the course Wattle site at least 2 weeks before the first class presentation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online Discussion comments and Online quizzes

Details: Each week you will have assigned reading to complete. To ensure that in-class discussion is informed and up-to-date, you will be asked a series of questions on the week’s Wattle site. On some weeks these may be formulated as an online quiz. You may take the quiz or not. You also may make a posting to initiate or respond to one of the weekly discussion threads at any time during the week.   

You may answer the questions or insert a comment that is designed to advance the class discussion. Comments will be valued for their insight and initiative, for their attention to and analysis of the issues presented in the reading, and for the apparent understanding. Your comment may answer the questions, pose more questions, propose solutions, or all three. This task satisfies the requirement that students have an opportunity to receive feedback (formative or summative) before 50% of the course has elapsed.

Nature of task: Optional, not compulsory. This task satisfies the requirement that students have an opportunity to receive feedback (formative or summative) before 50% of the course has elapsed

Value or weighting: 0%

Due date: Students may decide whether to take a quiz or post a comment.

Word limit: Generally, most comments are between 150 and 500 words.

Estimated return date: Feedback relating to online quizzes and comments will be online.

Assessment Criteria: N/A

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 27/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Research Essay

Details of task: Students may choose a topic from a list which will be generated by the class during the first two weeks of the course. Original research will be required. The research essay will require students to conduct independent research that investigates a theme, issue or policy underlying the human right issue. Some topics may deal with material addressed towards the end of the course. Therefore it may be necessary for students to read ahead of the lectures. If a student chooses the same right that they will discuss in the class presentation, they must choose some different aspect of that right to write about for the research essay. 

Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to submit a research essay will result in a 0 for the course.

Value or weighting: 50%

Release: topics will be generated by the second week of the course; a list will be posted on Wattle.

Due date:  before 11:55 pm on 27 May 2019, via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Word limit: 3,000 words (excluding bibliography).

Estimated return date: Feedback will be available online via Turnitin by the date of the release of results.

Other requirements: Paper should be in Word or pdf-readable format. It should have a bibliography.

Assessment Criteria:  It is anticipated that the papers must show:

  • significant independent research,
  • be properly referenced,
  • have a clear argument that reaches a clear conclusion,
  • be appropriately structured, and
  • be grammatically sound.

The criteria for the assessment of the research essay will be set out in a rubric to be posted on the course Wattle site by week 4 of the semester     

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2


Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to submit an exam will result in a 0 for this task.

Timing: Please note, that the dates used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams indicate approximate timeframes. Students should consult the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Duration: 90 minutes (reading and writing time).

Permitted Material: Any materials except ANU library books and excluded electronic devices.

Value or weighting: 30%

Assessment criteria: The examination questions will seek specific, descriptive answers, which will be assessed for accuracy and sufficiency. More specific exam assessment information will be released in class and on Wattle before the end of classes.

Estimated return date: Results and feedback will be made available after final results are released via the Services Office.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Mary O'Brien
6125 50437

Research Interests

Mary O'Brien

Monday 09:00 17:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions