• Class Number 9168
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • Daniel Stewart
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

New technology has brought with it enhanced concern over the collection and use of private information. The government continues to at least express a belief in the benefits of the free access to information as a means of enhancing the effectiveness and legitimacy of government. Whistleblowing is recognised as a valid mechanism of government accountability but only in limited circumstances. Disclosure as a means building, and destroying, reputations is increasingly being used as a regulatory tool. This course seeks to bring these issues together in examining the legal issues arising from the access, collection, use, storage and disclosure of information in its various forms.

This course will look at the various ways in which the legal system either seeks to maintain the secrecy of information, or encourages its dissemination. It will look at the different ways in which information is treated when held by government as opposed to private entities. It will also use information as a vehicle to examine the law reform process through the responses to the changing way in which information is being generated and viewed in our society.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. By the conclusion of this course, students who have successfully completed all of the requirements will have the knowledge and skills to:
  2. - Explain, distinguish and apply the fundamental legal principles relating to the access, collection, use, storage and disclosure of information in its various forms covered in the course
  3. - Identify and use a range of legally specific research principles, methods and tools appropriate to respond to a factually complex problem relating to how information can be accessed or disclosed;
  4. - Select and apply a range of approaches to written and oral communication, and apply the critical thinking required to bring about solutions to a complex current law reform issue in relation to the access, collection, use, storage and disclosure of information; and
  5. - Plan and conduct a legal research project both through collaboration with others and then with intellectual independence.

Research-Led Teaching

This course will look at the various ways in which the legal system either seeks to maintain the secrecy of information, or encourages its dissemination. It will look at the different ways in which information is treated when held by government as opposed to private entities. It will also use information as a vehicle to examine the law reform process through the responses to the changing way in which information is being generated and viewed in our society.  

Required Resources

There are no prescribed textbooks for this course. Students will be asked to engage with the various on-line materials and links to external sources made available in the weekly preparation guides.

There will be recommended reading in each of the weekly preparation guides.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

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

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 interim scaling guideline applies to all courses in the LLB (Hons) and JD programs. 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 relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introductions and the nature of information
2 Regulating information v informing regulation: Indigenous information governance
3 Common law regulation of information: Confidentiality and Defamation Seminar participation begins
4 Regulation of Political Speech
5 Privacy Protection in Australia Presentations start
6 Privacy - international comparisons
7 Surveillance and Cyber security
8 Access to government information
9 Whistleblowing
10 Disinformation and platform regulation
11 other examples of disclosure as a regulatory tool
12 The future?: Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

Tutorial Registration

There are no tutorials for this course. Students will be asked to enrol in groups to assist with preparation for class and as a component of their assessment. Enrolment in groups will be available at the end of week 1 until week 3.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
On-line quiz 0 % 04/09/2020 04/09/2020 1,2
Presentation and Resource Base 30 % * * 1,2,3,4
Group participation 10 % * * 3,4
Essay 60 % * * 1,2,3,4

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


While there are no general individual participation requirements, students should note that the assessment tasks include group participation by responding to workshop activities and commenting on seminar presentations by other student groups.


The is no exam in this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 04/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 04/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

On-line quiz

Brief Description: There will be an optional on-line quiz to review students understanding of the material and discussion in weeks 1-4 of the course. The quiz will include multiple choice, matching and short-answer questions using the wattle quiz module with immediate feedback provided to students. The quiz should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Nature of Task: Optional. Failure to complete the task will mean that an opportunity for feedback before 50% of the course is complete is lost.

Weighting: 0%

Release: The quiz will be released at the end of week 4 via Wattle.

Due Date: Students will have until the end of week 6 to complete the quiz via Wattle. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Feedback: Students will receive feedback as soon as they have completed the quiz.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding of the foundational material and principles of law discussed during the first 4 weeks of the course.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Presentation and Resource Base

Brief Details:

Students, as a group, will present an on-line seminar presentation and prepare a resource base on a topic of contemporary relevance to information law.. Students will have a choice of group and topic, with the date of the presentation determined by the choice of topic. All groups will be finalised by Monday 10 August 2020. More information about forming groups, enrolling in presentations and topics available as well as guidance with working in groups will be available in the Seminar Guide on the wattle site. There are two components to this group task, an on-line presentation and a resource base.

A) Seminar presentation

Students will work in groups of 5-7 students (depending on overall class numbers) to present a 50-minute on-line seminar on their chosen topic. There will be a choice of topics for each of weeks 5-12 from which groups can select. Groups will not be able to select the same topic as another group unless both groups and the lecturer agree. The style and structure of the seminar, presentation style, use of slideware or other media, prior reading, handouts, etc will all be at the discretion of the group. It is hoped that groups will be as creative as possible so as to maximise the effectiveness of the seminar as a whole. It is expected that each group will have to do considerable research on their chosen topic. Note that seminars will be digitally captured (for example by using the Zoom recording feature) but not made available to other students. Further details of how to enrol in groups and a list of possible topics will be provided in the Presentation Guide on the course wattle site.

B) Resource base

Each group will create a resource base for their seminar presentation which will be made available to other students prior to the seminar. The resource base is intended to provide complementary information on the issues considered in the workshop and references to assist other students in understanding or reflecting on any issues raised. Each resource base will be made available on the course Wattle site and so must be in a form that can be uploaded or linked to from that site. Again creatively is encouraged. Each group should select a format that suits the topic in question and enhances its usefulness as a resource base. The resource base should not simply be a transcript of the seminar presentation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit either of the components (or both) will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 30%. Students will receive one mark for both their workshop and resource base.

Release: Topics for the seminar presentations and essays will be available from the commencement of the course. Students will be able to choose their groups and preferred workshop topic in the first two weeks of semester.

Word limit: The resource base should be the equivalent of about 5000 words in total although this may vary depending on the number of students in the group and chosen format (eg use of different media, etc). There will be no penalty for exceeding the word limit but the criteria for assessment will reward conciseness and concentration on the important elements of the topic.

Due Date: Presentations will be held between weeks 5-12 as chosen by the groups. The resource base is due at 9 am on the morning of the presentation, submitted via the wattle site by attaching the resource base to a new topic in the Presentation Discussion Board. Due to the nature of the task, it will only be possible to shift the date of the presentation in exceptional circumstances. Late submissions of the resource base will also not be accepted. Feedback on the presentations and resource base will generally be provided within 2 weeks of the seminar

Citations: Students should provide citations for all references used in their presentation and, if they are different, their resource base. Students should also provide a list of at least 5 references which they would recommend to students seeking further information about the topic presented. Citations should conform, where possible (depending on the format and media used) to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018).

Assessment Criteria for the Seminar Presentation and Resource Base:

It is anticipated that all members of the group will receive the same mark unless compelling circumstances suggest otherwise. If any student has a concern with all members of the group receiving the same mark they should discuss their individual contribution with the lecturer. The presentation and resource base will be equally weighted in determining the mark. The criteria against which the presentation and resource base will be assessed are:

  • Coordination and integration of the group
  • The seminar presentation and resource base demonstrates sufficient, relevant and up to date research into the topic
  • The seminar presentation and resource base provides information in a way which enhances other students' understanding of the topic.
  • The seminar presentation provides information in a way which attracts the interest of other students.
  • The resource base presents the main issues and themes raised during the seminar presentation and conclusions reached
  • The seminar presentation and resource base critically engage with the issues raised by the topic, discusses the current and likely impact of those issues and provides options for reform.
  • The recommended references represent an appreciation of the scope and complexity of the issues involved

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Group participation

Brief Details: Groups will demonstrate their engagement with both the weekly workshops and seminar presentations by providing group responses to class activities or seminar presentations.

(a) workshop responses

Each week there will be a two hour workshop and, from week 5, up to two one-hour student led seminars. During the workshops, groups (the same groups as formed for Task 2) will be asked to work together to respond to a problem scenario or law reform proposal based on the reading and other preparation for that week. Groups will be able to nominate 5 responses on which they wish to be assessed.

(b) seminar comments

Each group will be asked to constructively comment on the seminar presentations of at least 5 other groups. The purpose of the comments is to demonstrate an engagement with the material covered in the seminar presentation and available in the resource base by commenting on one or more of the following aspects:

  • Coordination and integration of the group
  • The seminar presentation and resource base provides information in an interesting way and which enhanced your understanding of the topic.
  • The resource base provided information on the main issues and themes raised during the seminar presentation and conclusions reached

Groups are encouraged to comment on a range of different seminar topics.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to complete responses to at least 5 workshops and at least 5 seminar presentations will result in each individual of the group being awarded 0 for that task unless there are compelling circumstances.

Weighting: 10%

Word limit: Each group response or comment will generally be 200-400 words in length but no penalty will generally be applied.

Due date: Workshop responses should be posted on the wattle group discussion board within 24 hours following the completion of the workshop. Seminar comments must be posted on the wattle seminar discussion board as a reply to the relevant group presentation and available to all other students in the course within 24 hours of the completion of the seminar. Due to the nature of the task late submissions will not be accepted.

Assessment Criteria:

Workshop responses will be assessed on the extent to which the response:

  • demonstrates an engagement with the reading and other material set out in the preparation guide for the respective workshop
  • reflects the group response prepared during the workshop as well as the general discussion or feedback provided in the workshop.

Seminar presentations will be assessed on the extent to which the comment:

  • reflects an engagement with the presentation and resource base being commented upon, ensuring the comments made are fair, constructive and concise and not based on a misunderstanding of the material;
  • provides a fair and balanced view on the merits of the material, analysis and conclusions reached in the presentation and resource base; and
  • provides practical and constructive suggestions for improvement.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 60 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Brief Description: Students can elect to write an essay on any of the topics available for seminar presentations set out in the Presentation Guide, provided the topic is not substantially related to their group seminar presentation topic. This will involve students completing a presentation (as a group) and submitting an essay (individually) on different topics at least two weeks apart. If a student has any concerns about the relationship between their intended topics they should discuss this with the course convenor as soon as possible.The essays are intended to augment students’ skills in comprehending and analysing legal materials from a critical perspective. They will also develop writing skills and the capacity to present an argument in a concise and compelling fashion.

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

Weighting: 60%

Release: Topics for the seminar presentations and essays will be available from the commencement of the course.

Word limit : 2,400, not including footnote references (note that substantive footnotes will be included in the word count).

Due Date: From weeks 5 to 12. By choosing a topic, students also choose the due date for their essay as the essay has to be submitted by 5pm on the Friday of the week in which a seminar presentation on that topic might have been presented. For example, students wanting to write an essay on use of government use of facial recognition, which is a topic listed in the Presentation and Essay guide for presentation in week 8, would have to submit their essay by 5pm 2nd October (week 8). Late submissions will be accepted, although late penalties will apply. Feedback on the essays will generally be provided within 2 weeks of submission.

Other: Each Essay should be double spaced, using Garamond 12 pt font or its equivalent, with 2.5cm margins all round. The use of headings is recommended.

Citations: All references should be acknowledged and accurately cited. Citations should conform to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4rd edition, 2018). There is no need for a bibliography.

Assessment Criteria:

Demonstrates an understanding of the issues relevant to the terms of reference for the inquiry

  • Accurate explanation of the relevant legal principles and authorities and recognition of the areas of controversy.
  • Thorough and appropriate research
  • Canvasses the issues at a level appropriate for an informed reader who has a good knowledge of the relevant legal principles and the material referenced in the topic.

 Is well written, accurate, and correctly referenced and formatted

  • Compliance with formatting requirements
  • Compliance with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018)
  • Clear and precise use of language
  • Conventional spelling, grammar and syntax
  • Avoidance of waffle or extraneous discussion or unnecessary language
  • Prose which is easy to read, and an argument which is easy to follow

Provides a critical analysis of the material discussed in the submission

  • Analysis of the conclusions reached by others, including the application of the conclusions to the discussion being presented and exploring opposing arguments
  • Ability to anticipate and respond to possible objections.

Makes a contribution beyond restating or summarising the class discussion and relevant literature

  • Clear explanation of what the submission is advocating (ie explaining what the overall argument/thesis of the submission is).
  • Quality and precision of supporting arguments
  • Relevance of the discussion presented in the submission to the contribution made
  • Recognition of the limits of the relevant literature
  • Draws on material concerning a range of issues relating to the topic in an appropriate and useful way.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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

Students may wish to distribute hard copy materials as part of their workshop presentations. There will be no other hard copy submission.

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 10% 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.

Returning Assignments

Feedback on all forms of assessment will be provided via the wattle course site.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

There will be no opportunity to resubmit assessment tasks.

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).

Daniel Stewart

Research Interests

Daniel has extensive expertise in public law and information governance. A senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law, Daniel’s administrative law expertise spans the scope and nature of judicial review, the role, interpretation and drafting of legislation, and the use and disclosure of government information. Daniel teaches as number of advanced and specialised courses on these areas including a postgraduate course on statutory interpretation. His course on information law focuses on secrecy, privacy and access to government information.

Daniel is the independent Research Monitor for Australia as part of the international Open Government Partnership, reporting on developments relating to access to information in Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. Daniel has authored leading publications on administrative law and delivered numerous papers on topics including the role of policy in administrative decision-making. His most recent publications include a chapter on ‘Assessing Access to Information in Australia: The impact of freedom of information laws on the scrutiny and operation of the Commonwealth Government’ in recent ANU E-Press monograph, and a chapter examining the role and scrutiny of delegated legislation in a monograph in tribute to Dennis Pearce which he co-edited.

Daniel is the legal advisor for Bills for the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety (Legislative Scrutiny Role). He also acts as a consultant to HWL Ebsworth solicitors. He regularly advises and acts for a variety of government departments on matters involving statutory interpretation and merits and judicial review. He conducts various seminars, workshops and training courses addressing legal issues in regulatory design and compliance, decision-making and statements of reasons, statutory interpretation, FOI and Privacy and merits and judicial review.

Daniel Stewart

By Appointment

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