• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Security Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course is available for in-person and remote (online) learning.

The interactions between Australia’s legal frameworks and institutions and national security issues are complex, controversial and fascinating. The enactment of multiple laws granting new powers to police and national security agencies to deal with specific national security threats is a visible way law is used as a national security tool. On the other hand, Australia’s legal institutions and systems play an important role in ensuring that the State’s powers over citizens in the name of national security are exercised consistently with Australia’s character as a liberal democratic society.


This course is designed specifically for students of national security policy – including serving and prospective policymakers. It will examine the intersections between Australian laws and legal systems and national security issues. After setting out the foundations and basic legal architecture of Australia’s national security institutions and agencies, this course will focus on specific areas where the law has been used as a key mechanism for implementing national security policy. These include in-depth examination of the laws designed to manage national security risks from foreign influence to pandemics, and which empower agencies to gather intelligence. These sessions aim to integrate perspectives from academics with those of national security practitioners. The seminar/tutorial activities will enable students to translate these insights into the skills of security policy makers, for example identifying when specialist legal advice is required, or how to develop, and publicly justify, a proposal for legislative reform. A final key theme running through this course is to question when the law can (or should) be used as a national security tool. Students will thus gain in-depth understanding of the process by which Australian national security law is made, and how (and why) the use of this body of law is oversighted.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain and reflect on the main features of the way Australian legal and constitutional frameworks determine how Australian national security institutions are organised, and in particular the legal basis on which they operate;
  2. Interpret and reflect on key features of Australian national security law frameworks and how they currently operate.
  3. Understand and critically analyse the processes by which Australia’s national security law frameworks are developed, oversighted and reformed. In particular, students should be able to identify when specialist legal advice would assist with this process.
  4. Develop policy documents/responses, supported by appropriate research that explain and justify the use of or reform off of particular law(s) as a national security policy response.
  5. Communicate ideas, knowledge and arguments related to Australian national security law, in particular for professional audiences.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short answer reflections on the operation of legal frameworks in theory and practice (2 x 200- 250 word responses) (25) [LO 1,2]
  2. Written Analytical Review (35) [LO 2,4,5]
  3. Verbal Policy analysis/defence (40) [LO 1,3,4,5]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


3 contact hours per week. In addition the expectation of a further independent study combining to a total of approx 130 over the duration of the semester.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are unable to enrol in this course if you have previously taken any of the below courses. LAWS4285 Australian National Security Law LAWS8485 Australian National Security Law LAWS8328 Australian Legal Responses to National Security and Counter-Terrorism

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Richard Bolto, ‘Accountability and secrecy in the Australian Intelligence Community: the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’ (2019) 85(1) International Review of Administrative Sciences 137

Dominique Dalla-Pozza, ‘Refining the Australian Counter-Terrorism Law Framework: How Deliberative Has Parliament Been’ (2016) 27 Public Law Review 271

M L’Estrange, S Merchant and I Lobban, 2017 Independent Intelligence Review  (2017) https://pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/2017-Independent-Intelligence-Review.pdf

David Letts and Rob McLaughlin, ‘Call Out Powers for the Defence Force in an Age of Terrorism’ ( 2016 No 85) AIAL Forum 63

Assumed Knowledge

Students are encouraged to take this course after or concurrently with at least one of the NSC core courses (Concepts and Methods, and National Security Policymaking) to provide them some foundational knowledge and understanding of national security.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
On Campus
4376 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person View
4549 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 Online View

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