National Security Law is a rapidly evolving field of concern for Government, security agencies, civil rights monitors, and the Australian public. As both the nature of threats (represented by, for example, the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, or the rise of cyber security as a major national security concern) and the concept of ‘security’ (such as biosecurity) have evolved, legal responses have similarly evolved.
As new incidents occur or challenges arise, it is often the case that legislative change is one of, if not the, preferred initial response. These changes have been broadly cast - ranging from expanded or refined operating powers and processes for national security agencies, through to the creation of new offences within the widening penumbra of criminalised conduct that surrounds demonstrably terrorist activity.
This course offers a broad brush across a number of issues concerning national security law. The course will commence with a series of building blocks (heads of power, conceptions of security, historical background). This will then allow more detailed exploration of a series of institutional issues (such as the legislative arrangements for important national security institutions, and the ‘security law’ making and monitoring process), practical issues (such as use of force, and use of classified information in prosecutions), and thematic issues (such as the national security – civil rights balancing debate).
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Reflect upon and synthesise various understandings of what the concept of 'national security' means in order to formulate an understanding of this idea in an Australian context;
- Explain and reflect on the main features of the way Australian national security institutions are organised, and in particular the legal basis on which they operate;
- Critically analyse the main features of Australian national security institutions, and their legal basis
- Interpret and reflect on the main features of framework of Australian national security law, how this legal framework developed and how it currently operates;
- Respond to, or develop a research essay question that requires students to examine, and critically analyse, practical and thematic issues arising from the way in which national security institutions and laws have developed and currently operate in Australia.
- Course Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Statutory Interpretation/Case Note Exercise (30) [LO 1,2,4]
- Research Essay (60) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
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