• Class Number 7695
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • Daniel Stewart
    • 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

Building on previous public law studies, particularly Australian Public Law, this course aims to deepen student understanding of key aspects of the Commonwealth Constitution and the way it has been interpreted by the High Court of Australia. Specifically, we consider:

  • The scope of Commonwealth legislative power, by reference to key federal heads of legislative power including the corporations power (s 51(xx)), the external affairs power (s 51(xxix)), the races power (s 51(xxvi), the taxation power (s 51(ii)) and the grants power (s 96);
  • The principles of interpretation and ‘characterisation’ applied by the High Court when interpreting the scope of federal legislative power;
  • The principles that operate to resolve a clash or conflict between Commonwealth and State laws (s 109);
  • Many of the important constitutional limitations placed on the exercise of Commonwealth and State legislative power, including both the express limitations set out in the text (eg, ss 90 and 92) and those that have been implied by the High Court from the text and structure of the Constitution (egs, federal/State immunities, and implications from representative government);
  • The important role that the High Court has played in shaping the federal system and protecting federal government institutions created by the Constitution; and
  • The historical and social context in which federal constitutional law has developed.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain and apply the constitutional law principles developed by the High Court to a hypothetical factual problem presenting questions about the validity and applicability of federal and State legislation
  2. Identify the appropriate constitutional provisions and legal authorities to support the explanation and application of constitutional principles in the course of problem solving
  3. Analyse a factual problem, reasoning to a conclusion by analogy to the decided cases
  4. Recognise and explain the role played by the High Court of Australia in shaping the federal system and protecting federal institutions of government
  5. Recognise and explain the historical and social context within which the constitutional principles have been developed
  6. Analyse and assess the impact that the High Court has had on the development of constitutional principles, the character of the federal system in Australia and the health of federal institutions of government

Research-Led Teaching

The course will include masterclasses conducted by guest lecturers who will be discussing their research in relation to a current constitutional law issue. Further details will be available on WATTLE.

Required Resources

A weekly plan will be released detailing the required and recommended reading, providing questions to test your understanding of the material and problems and questions for discussion in the weekly tutorials. The reading will generally be based on the text: Meagher, D; Simpson, A; Stellios, J; Wheeler, F, Hanks’ Australian Constitutional Law: Materials and Commentary (LexisNexis, 10th ed, 2016). However, students who don't have access to this text will be provided with alternative ways to access the relevant cases and materials.

Meagher, D; Simpson, A; Stellios, J; Wheeler, F, Hanks’ Australian Constitutional Law: Materials and Commentary (LexisNexis, 10th ed, 2016)

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, tutorial 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 Week 1: Introduction to Commonwealth Constitutional Law
2 Week 2: Corporations
3 Week 3: External Affairs Optional quiz available
4 Week 4: Aliens and Race
5 Week 5: Taxation
6 Week 6: Spending Optional quiz closes. Mid-semester exam released next week
7 Week 7: Inconsistency
8 Week 8: Intergovernmental immunities (I)
9 Week 9: Intergovernmental immunities (II)
10 Week 10: Freedom of Interstate Trade and Rights of Residents
11 Week 11: Implied freedom of political communication (I)
12 Week 12: Implied freedom of political communication (II)

Tutorial Registration

All students must enrol in a tutorial. Tutorial registration will open at 9am on 20 July, 2020 and close at 5pm on 3 August, 2020.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Optional Online Quiz 0 % 04/09/2020 04/09/2020 1,3,5
Tutorial Participation (optional) 10 % * * 1,2,3,6
Mid-semester On-line Exam 30 % * 09/10/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6
Final On-line Examination 60 % * * 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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.


The course includes an optional redeemable participation component as indicated above.


The course includes a final examination. Students should consult the examinations timetable once it has been finalised for the date and time of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 04/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 04/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,5

Optional Online Quiz

Brief Description: The optional quiz is designed to test your knowledge to the legal principles covered in the first 3 weeks of semester.

Nature of Task: Optional.

Weighting: 0%

Release: 5 pm 14 August via Wattle.

Due date: 5 pm 4 September via Wattle. Due to the nature of the task, no late submissions (with or without an extension) will be permitted.

Estimated return date: Immediate

Assessment Criteria: This assessment is not weighted towards your final grade, but the feedback provided will include a mark based on the number of correct responses. The quiz is designed so that you can test your understanding of basic concepts and obtain feedback about misunderstandings without any effect on their final grades.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,6

Tutorial Participation (optional)

Details of the task: The tutorial participation component is optional and will be based on participation in tutorials. The tutorial participation is designed to develop all learning objectives with an emphasis on oral communication, being able to articulate the principles of law you are learning, and responding to the discussion. The participation grade will be based on a student’s contributions throughout the entire program but emphasis will be given to their contribution in a particular tutorial where they have nominated to be ‘on-deck’. Students will sign up to be ‘on-deck’ for a (ie one) particular week of the tutorial program. Enrolment into tutorials and ‘on-deck’ sign-up will be available online on WATTLE from 9am on 20 July, 2020 and close at 5pm on 3 August, 2020. There will be limited places in each tutorial and on-deck places each week. Enrolment into tutorial groups and on-deck places will be on a first come first served basis. Students who are ‘on-deck’ should be in a position to respond to questions from their tutorial leader and to take a leading role in class discussion. However, this contribution is not intended to exclude the participation of others. All students will be encouraged to participate in each tutorial. Those students who sign-up to be on-deck will be assessed on both their general contribution together with their ‘on-deck’ contribution.

Nature of the task: Optional and redeemable. Failure to sign up for tutorial participation will mean that the final exam is worth 70% (rather than 60%).

Weighting: 10% redeemable at the final exam.

Estimated return date: End of examination period, with feedback from tutorial leader provided throughout the semester.

Assessment Criteria: Class participation marks will be awarded according to how well students: 

  • identify the relevance of contributions to themes developed in the weekly readings;
  • are accurate in their contributions;
  • are clear in their expression and make persuasive arguments;
  • contribute to fostering discussion;
  • encourage and respect others’ contributions;
  • make contributions of quality, rather than quantity.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Return of Assessment: 09/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Mid-semester On-line Exam

Brief Description: Compulsory On-line exam designed to test your understanding of the themes and legal issues presented in the first half of the course. Collaboration with other students is not permitted.

Nature of Task: The mid-semester on-line exam is compulsory. If you fail to attempt the examination you will receive a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 30%

Word Limit: 2,000 words inclusive of everything (notes, headings, etc.). Word limits are strictly enforced. The word length must be set out clearly at the end of the final page of your response.

Duration: 120 minutes.

Release: to be confirmed see mid-semester university examinations timetable. The paper will be released via Wattle.

Due date: See mid-semester examinations timetable. The paper will be submitted on Wattle (Turnitin). Late submissions will generally not be accepted. For this reason it would be extremely risky to leave uploading your assignment until the last minute

Estimated return date: Week 9 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: Answers will be marked according to the following criteria:

  • make appropriate and accurate use of the reading materials covered in the weekly plan;
  • structuring responses well and ensuring they are clearly and concisely expressed; 
  • addressing the relevant issues raised in the questions and making persuasive arguments; and 
  • demonstrating understanding of, and critical thinking on, material covered in the weekly plan and the discussion in tutorials during weeks 1-6 of the course. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 60 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Final On-line Examination

Brief Description: Compulsory final exam composed of two parts: (1) a problem solving question (worth 60% of the exam), and (2) essay questions (worth 40% of the exam).

Nature of Task:The final exam is designed not only to test knowledge of Commonwealth constitutional law ’s rules and principles but also to enable students to demonstrate how these rules and principles may be applied to legal problems. The problem question (worth 60% of the total marks available for the exam) will require students to demonstrate sound skills of legal interpretation and reasoning. The exam will also contain two ‘reflective/argumentative questions’ (worth 40% of the total marks available). These questions will be designed to test for deep understanding, for example, by asking: how particular concepts or ideas studied in the course relate one to another, for an explanation or evaluation of conclusions reached in particular cases, or for an explanation or illustration of the importance of a particular concept/principle/case. The focus will not be on the reproduction of information.

Weighting: 60% (or 70% if either a) you have not signed up for seminar participation, or b) 10% seminar participation has been 'redeemed'). Failure to attempt the Exam will mean a 0 for this task.

Timing: During final examination period. Students should consult the examinations timetable once it has been finalised for the date and time of the exam.

Duration: 3 hours writing time.

Word Limit: 3000 words inclusive of everything (notes, headings, etc.). Word limits are strictly enforced. The word length must be set out clearly at the end of the final page of your response.

Return date: With end of semester results via turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: Answers will be marked according to the following criteria:

  • make relevant and persuasive arguments; 
  • make accurate use of relevant legal material; 
  • are well structured and clearly and concisely expressed; 
  • address the issues raised in the problem questions and reason persuasively by reference to relevant legal rules and principles; and 
  • demonstrate understanding of, and critical thinking on, material covered in the course. T

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 on-line assignment and final exam. Please keep a copy of your responses for your records.

Hardcopy Submission

Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

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.

Returning Assignments

Feedback on your assignment responses will be available through turnitin, access ed from the course wattle page.

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

Resubmission will not be available.

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

ANU College of Law Senior Lecturer Daniel Stewart has published and presented papers in a wide variety of public law areas, focusing on the public / private distinction in public law. His work has drawn on varied elements of public and private law in an attempt to understand the role of judicial review in enforcing the legal limits of government regulation. Many of his publications draw together some of the more uncertain and emerging issues confronting administrative and constitutional law.

Daniel is now exploring the use and disclosure of information and its role in public and private governance. He has recently published on the history of FOI and its impact on public policy in Australia. The value of this work was recognised in his appointment as an Independent Reporting Mechanism researcher for the Open Government Partnership. He has also given various papers and presentations on this topic as well as submissions to parliamentary inquiries.

Daniel is the legal advisor to the ACT Legislative Assembly, Justice and Community Safety (Legislative Scrutiny Role) committee, advising on human rights and other legal issues arising in relation to Bills introduced into the Assembly. He is also a consultant to HWL Ebsworth Solicitors in their government law practice. 

Daniel Stewart

By Appointment
By Appointment
Daniel Stewart
+61 2 6125 8370

Research Interests

Daniel Stewart

By Appointment
By Appointment

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