• Class Number 4131
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Jake Blight
    • Jake Blight
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

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.

Required Resources

A complete reading list will be made available on the WATTLE course site

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Australia’s National Security Legal Architecture Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
2 Introduction to Statutory Interpretation and Administrative Law Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
3 Overview of the National Security Law-Making Process in Australia Guest presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment Task 2 options released
4 Surveillance and Interception Powers Guest presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
5 Constitutional Issues including Freedom of Political Communication Guest presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
6 Major reviews as a tool for policy and law reform Guest presenter Guest presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment Policy proposal for law reform (task 2) due by the end of the first week of the teaching break. Results released by the end of teaching break. Task 3 options released
7 Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Security Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
8 Exploring the ASIO Act the ISA and the ONI Act Guest Presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
9 The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Guest presenter Guest presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
10 Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Law Framework (including special powers given to ASIO and the AFP) Guest presenter Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
11 Oversight and Integrity Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment
12 Australia’s Espionage , Foreign Interference and Foreign Influence Legal Frameworks Weekly quiz/ engagement assessment Task 3: Mock PJCIS hearings to be held during the exam period. Results for this task will be released with the end of semester results.

Tutorial Registration

Please see the course WATTLE site for further details

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Engagement with key concepts, readings and discussions 20 % * * LO 1,2,3 & 5
Policy proposal for law reform 30 % 10/04/2022 * LO 2,3,4 &5
Mock PJCIS submission 50 % * 30/06/2022 LO, 2, 4 and 5

* 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: LO 1,2,3 & 5

Engagement with key concepts, readings and discussions

Brief Details: Students will be required to engage with key concepts, discussions and readings each week. This task will be assessed through a combination of participation in class and seminar discussions and class/seminar exercises and quizzes. If a student is unable to attend a particular class or seminar they can watch the recording of the class or seminar and compete a short task to demonstrate their engagement with the material (this task may for example be a quiz, responses to 2-3 questions or a short piece of reflective writing).

Nature of the task: Compulsory. Failure to engage with key concepts, readings and discussions will result in a mark of 0 for this task.

Weighting: Overall 20%. Students will be assessed for engagement with lectures/readings and seminars each week over the 12 week course, only the 10 highest grades for each to count (ie the 10 best lecture/readings results and the 10 best seminar results).

Word Limit: For students who are unable to attend a particular class or seminar the alternative means of demonstrating engagement will have an assigned word limit in the range of 200-400 words.

Release/ Due Date: 1 week after each lecture and seminar. For students unable to attend a class/seminar the short task will be due 1 week after the recording and alternative task are released via Wattle/Echo 360.

Late Submission: Permitted in exceptional circumstances

Estimated Return Date: Indicative feedback on engagement marks will be provided by the end of the mid-semester break. Final results will be released with end of semester results.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on their engagement with key concepts, readings and discussions. An assessment rubric for this task will be made available on WATTLE.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 10/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: LO 2,3,4 &5

Policy proposal for law reform

Brief Details: Students will be required to write a 1500-1800 word proposal for law reform based on a current piece of national security law.  Students can select from a number of current provisions and are to develop a proposal which explains the current law, identifies a problem with it and proposes a solution.  Some research will be required to complete this task including looking at credible public sources of information about the operations of security and intelligence agencies such as public reports and reviews and Committee Hansard.  

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

Weighting: 30%

Release: The laws that students can select from will be released on WATTLE by the end of Week 3.

Due date: Students will need to submit their work by 11:59 pm on Sunday 10 April. Submission will be via Turnitin

Late Submission permitted

Estimated Return date: Marked work will be returned to the students by the end of the mid-semester break.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be marked on their ability to reflect on the operation of Australian national security law as well to explain and justifying  law reform.

An assessment rubric for this task will be made available on WATTLE.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: LO, 2, 4 and 5

Mock PJCIS submission

Brief Details: This task is intended to simulate policy-makers’ involvement in a key aspect of the national security law-making process: preparing for and attending Parliamentary Committee hearings.

Students will work in a small group (2-3 students) to prepare and deliver a 5-7 minute ‘opening statement’ suitable for a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) hearing and each student will prepare their own 'briefing pack' for the hearing. At the mock hearing, after delivery of the opening statement the 'committee' will ask questions and each student will need to answer at least 2 substantive questions (plus follow up questions if needed) from the ‘committee’.   There will be a choice of topics, and the task will involve making a compelling and well-researched case for or against a particular proposal from the perspective of an identified stakeholder. A video recording will be made of students oral presentation to assist in the marking process. Some research will be required to complete this task including looking at public reports/ reviews/Hansard and relevant academic literature.  Students will submit the text of their (jointly prepared) opening statement as well as their individual 'hearing briefing pack' and a short reflection.

Nature of the task: Compulsory. Failure to complete the task will result in a 0 for the task

Weighting: 50%

Time Limit: Oral 'hearing' of 20-30 minutes depending on group size.

Release: The topics will be available on WATTLE by the end of week 6

Due Date: This task will be scheduled during the exam period

Estimated Return date: Results for this task (with feedback) will be released with the end of Semester results

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on how effectively they provide members of parliament information they need to conduct their oversight role over an aspect of national security law and how well structured, persuasive and well researched their oral presentation is. Students will also be assessed on the quality of their briefing pack and reflections. An assessment rubric will be made available on WATTLE .

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

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

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. 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.

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).

Jake Blight

Research Interests

Jake has been working in the field of National Security Law for over 20 years. In that time he has worked in a range of roles including in the Australian Government Solicitor, as a General Counsel and as the Deputy and Acting Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.  He has advised extensively on the interpretation of security and intelligence related legislation and been involved in national security litigation. Jake has been involved in some way in most of the major tranches of national security law reform in the last 20 years and has frequently appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The delivery of Australian National Security Law: An introduction for policymakers will draw on Jake’s professional experience as well as a range of guest speakers who have significant experience practicing and/or researching in national security law, or related national security issues.

Jake Blight

By Appointment
By Appointment
Jake Blight

Research Interests

Jake Blight

By Appointment
By Appointment

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