• 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
  • Work Integrated Learning Simulation/Virtual
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.

In the past twenty years Australia has enacted an extraordinary number of new laws relating to national security, and the rate of new legislation in this field does not appear to be slowing. People who work in national security policy roles play an essential part in the development and review of these laws.  To do this work well policy makers need a good understanding of Australia’s legal framework and the role of legislation in both granting powers and protecting rights to ensure that the State’s power over citizens in the name of national security is exercised consistently with Australia’s character as a liberal democratic society.

This course is designed for students of national security policy – including serving and prospective policymakers. It will also be of interest to those who work (or want to work) in the field of security and intelligence as it provides insight into the ways that laws affect the work of security and intelligence agencies.  After setting out some foundations and basic legal architecture, this course will focus on specific areas where the law has been used as a mechanism for implementing national security policy.  These includes examination of surveillance and interception powers, laws designed to manage national security risks from foreign influence and laws intended to protect critical infrastructure. 

This course has a practical focus.  The classes are highly interactive and students will learn and apply skills that will enable them to navigate and read legislation, propose law reform and prepare submissions for Parliamentary Committees.  The program also features guest lectures from a broad range of practitioners as well as academics in the area of national security.  

A key theme running through this course is to question when the law can (or should) be used as a national security tool.  Students will gain understanding of the process by which Australian national security law is made, and how the use of this body of law is overseen. 

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.

Work Integrated Learning


The WIL component in this course allows you to practice decision making an an individual and in teams, with practitioner input, in a virtual environment through an extended online scenario 'game'.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Weekly quizzes & seminar activities (200-400 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  2. Policy proposal (1500 -1800 words) (30) [LO 2,3,4,5]
  3. Mock submission and hearing (20-30 mins) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.

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

There are no prescribed texts.  However, students with no background in law may find the following text helpful in understanding legal concepts and frameworks

·      CREYKE, R., HAMER, D., O'MARA, P., SMITH, B. & TAYLOR, T. S. 2021. Laying down the law, Chatswood, NSW, LexisNexis.

Preliminary Reading

Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community (Executive Summary, Vol 1 p32-55)

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

Assumed Knowledge

Students with no background in the field are encouraged to take this course after 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.

Students are not expected to have studied law – this course provides foundational legal skills needed by policy practitioners.  Law graduates are welcome to enrol and will find that the course provides practical skills and national security specific legal studies which will add to their skills; however some parts of the initial weeks may serve as ‘revision’ to prior law studies.  


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
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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