• Class Number 4180
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Clement Chen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

In this course we will explore, critique and apply issues relating to how the law regulates the collection, processing and usage of information by government and the private sector. In doing so, we will ask the following questions: how much control do we, as individuals, have over information that relates to us?  What are the limits to providing access to government-held information? On what grounds can information be shared, released, withheld and stored?

Throughout this course, we will explore how information is regulated in Australia by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (‘FOIA’) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and we will interrogate contemporary issues regarding government information management in the Australian regulatory framework. We will examine the role of confidentiality and legislative secrecy provisions, the requirements relating to personal information and other elements of privacy protection, and the operation of FOIA.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, analyse and reflect on the circumstances in which information developed or held by government should be protected against disclosure
  2. Identify and apply the principles relating to the procedure for making a FOI request, the FOI decision making process and the application of exemptions from disclose of government held information
  3. Explain, distinguish and apply the key concepts of the Privacy framework applicable to government.
  4. Identify and critically examine (in written and/or oral form) a range of perspectives and values that are relevant to access to government information, including the future direction of FOI and privacy law in Australia
  5. Investigate and critically discuss whether Australia’s regulatory module is equipped to respond to contemporary issues in information management, data protection and privacy

Required Resources

Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) 

Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments on assignments, or in quiz auto-feedback
  • feedback to the whole class, to tutorial groups, and to individuals upon seeking an appointment

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

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

Word length and excess word penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

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 any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Topic 1A. Freedom of Information: history and philosophical underpinnings – normative foundations of openness of publicly held information
2 Topic 1B. Freedom of Information: history and philosophical underpinnings - genesis of FOIA 1982 (Cth)
3 Topic 2A. Freedom of Information: the law - overview, purposes, principles and structure; request procedure
4 Topic 2B. Freedom of Information: the law - decision-making process
5 Topic 2C. Freedom of Information: the law - exemptions
6 Topic 2D. Freedom of Information: the law - contemporary issues and future direction
7 Topic 3A. Privacy: history and philosophical underpinnings - normative foundations of privacy protection
8 Topic 3B. Privacy: history and philosophical underpinnings - genesis of Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
9 Topic 4A. Privacy: the law - overview, purposes, principles and structure
10 Topic 4B Privacy: the law - key concepts
11 Topic 4C. Privacy: the law - Data Protection Principles
12 Topic 4D. Privacy: the law - remedies, enforcement and other essential mechanisms
13 Guest Lecture: To be confirmed

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
In-class Participation (Discussion Starter and Reflective Journal) 20 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Quiz 10 % 30/03/2023 11/04/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Research Essay 70 % 01/06/2023 29/06/2023 1,2,3,4,5

* 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.


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend. 

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

In-class Participation (Discussion Starter and Reflective Journal)

Details of Task: Each student will prepare and take part in a Group Presentation (as a discussion starter) in accordance with the class roster, available from Week 1 of the semester. Students will present in groups but will each be given an individual grade. A non-attempt will result in a grade of zero for this assessment task. Each group will also submit a Reflection Paper of no more than 600 words on the topic. The Reflection Paper is not graded but is compulsory. Non-submission of the Paper will lead to reduction of 30% of the mark for this assessment.

Each student must complete one presentation/discussion starter, but it is not necessary to pass the task to pass the course. Each group will discuss a topical issue relating to the compulsory readings in the week in which it presents. Each student will need to nominate their topics and weeks for presentation by 28 February 2023. Groups will be allocated within the seminar of Week 2, and group presentations start from Week 3. The number of presentations each week will depend on the enrolment numbers of the course.

The primary purpose of the Reflection Paper is to invite students to suggest questions or issues that they would like to be discussed in class or offer their comments on the readings they particularly want to share with the class. The deadline for Reflection Papers is 24 hours before the seminar in which the group presents.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete will result in a mark of zero for this task.

Weighting: 20%

Word Limit: 600 words. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here.

Submission Requirements: Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due Date: In the assigned week. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.

Estimated Return Date: Within 14 days of the group's presentation.

Assessment Criteria: Participation will be graded according to the following criteria: 

  • understanding and discussion of relevant issues;
  • critical thinking;
  • effective communication and delivery;
  • promotion of audience discussion; and
  • ability to work as group to make cohesive presentation.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 30/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 11/04/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


Details of Task: There will be a online quiz available on Wattle for students to complete. The quiz will be available from 5pm, 24 March to 5pm, 30 March. The quiz contains 15 multiple-choice questions. The quiz must be completed within 1 hour. The questions will cover all parts [the content of the course as covered in the first five weeks]. Apart from the quiz counting towards 10% of the final grade, completing this quiz is intended to provide students feedback on their progress in this course before the first half of this course has been completed.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete will result in a mark of zero for this task.

Weighting: 10%

Release: 5pm, 24 March 2023

Duration: 60 minutes. Once you have commenced your attempt, you will have 60 minutes to complete it. The quiz will finish after 60 minutes and any open attempts will close and be submitted automatically. Please allow for sufficient time to complete your attempt.

Due Date: 5pm, 30 March 2023. Due to the nature of the task, late submission is not permitted.

If you experience extenuating circumstances and cannot attempt the assessment on the due date and time, you should apply for an extension here. The College will give you one final opportunity to complete the assessment, at the same time one week later. If you have already accessed the assessment, you will not be approved an extension and will need to complete the task by the due date. However, you may apply for special consideration for your circumstances to be considered.

Estimated Return Date: 11 April 2023

Assessment Criteria: This assessment is provided to ensure that you engage with critical aspects of the course in a way that incorporates the course objectives. Assignments will be graded according to how well students: 

  • have understood a variety of issues raised in the course;
  • accurately identify the relevant issue(s); and
  • adequately and decisively address the relevant issue(s).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 01/06/2023
Return of Assessment: 29/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Essay

Details of Task: Students will write a research essay answering the question provided for this assessment. Students must submit their essays via Turnitin.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete will result in a mark of zero for this task.

Weighting: 70%

Word Limit: 4500 words. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here.

Submission Requirements: Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due Date: 5pm, 1 June 2023. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. 

Estimated Return Date: Official end-of-semester results release date. 

Assessment Criteria: This assessment is provided to ensure that you engage with critical aspects of the course in a way that incorporates the course objectives. Research essays will be graded according to how well students: 

  • make accurate use of relevant legal material; 
  • structure the essay in a clear manner; 
  • use concise expression; 
  • adequately address the relevant issue(s); 
  • draw appropriately upon independent research; 
  • demonstrate critical, independent and innovative reasoning, and make a persuasive argument; and
  • comply with the current edition of the AGLC.

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 in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). Electronic copies in .pdf file format are not acceptable.

Hardcopy Submission

Hard copy submission is possible where 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

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 tests or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been granted an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time will be provided in writing. Importantly, any revised due date is inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date will be penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the task per 24-hour period.  

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

All marks and feedback will be provided online by the return date listed in the class summary. 

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).

Dr Clement Chen

Research Interests

Law and Technology; Administrative Law

Dr Clement Chen

By Appointment

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