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Nat. Security Law and Human Rights - JURD7495
 Blooming Flowers

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Enrolment Requirements:
Co-requisite: LAWS2150 Federal Constitution.
Excluded: LAWS3195
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This subject aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of Australian anti-terrorism law and situate that in a theoretical and comparative context. Students will acquire specific knowledge about particular aspects of the legislative counter-terrorism framework arrived at by the Commonwealth with the agreement of States and self-governing Territories. In doing so, students will also gain an understanding of how these reflect or are discordant with the theoretical arguments around the securing of the state and the preservation of important civil liberties such as freedom of movement, association and speech. The role of the judiciary and legislature as checks upon executive overreach in responding to the threat of terrorism is also a theme throughout the course.

Recommended Prior Knowledge

This course has a significant relationship to several compulsory and elective courses in the undergraduate and graduate program. It builds upon and requires students to apply knowledge gained in the compulsory courses of JURD 7101, 7111, 7140, 7250, and 7160. Students who have completed electives in human rights, immigration law or international law may also discern clear connections between those courses and the material under consideration here.

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, students will have developed an understanding of:
  • the nature and main features of the Commonwealth's anti-terrorism legislative framework;
  • the process by which Australia's terrorism laws have been enacted and reviewed;
  • the influence of international law and overseas jurisdictions upon the development of specific legislative proposals;
  • the impact of the Australian laws upon fundamental liberties such as movement, association and speech as well as the criminal justice process;
  • the main theoretical arguments as to the relationship between achieving national security and preserving individual rights; the effectiveness of the laws in practice, through consideration of government and independent reviews and also their application by the courts; and
  • the role of the legal profession and community groups in public debate over legal policy in this area.

Main Topics

  • Setting the Scene: The International Community Responds to September 11
  • Security and Rights - Beyond Balance?
  • The Commonwealth's Legislative Power and the Modern Threat of Terrorism
  • Overview of the Four Phases of Terrorism Law-making in Australia
  • Defining 'Terrorism' - The Impossible Challenge?
  • The Power of ASIO to Monitor, Question and Detain - Rights and Processes
  • New Criminal Offences - Part 5.3 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code
  • What is a 'terrorist organisation'? The power of proscription
  • The Terrorism Offences and the Scope of Criminal Responsibility
  • Prosecuting Terrorists - the National Security Information Act and Judicial Process
  • The National Security Information Act and Freedom of Speech
  • Sedition and Other Restrictions on 'Terrorist' Materials
  • The Constitutionality of Speech Restrictions for National Security
  • Preventative Detention - History, Policy and Theory
  • Preventative Detention - Substance and Legality
  • Control Orders - Their United Kingdom Origins
  • Control Orders in Australia - Their Form and Implications
  • The Constitutionality of Control Orders and Preventative Justice in the High Court
  • The Future for Australian Anti-Terrorism Law - Content and Process


Research paper - 70%
Student Presentation - 10%
Class Participation - 20%

Course Texts


  • Andrew Lynch & George Williams, What Price Security? Taking Stock of Australia’s Anti-Terrorism Laws, UNSW Press, Sydney 2006; and
  • Reading Materials available at the UNSW bookshop.


  • David Dyzenhaus, The Constitution of Law – Legality in a Time of Emergency, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006;
  • Mriam Gani and Penelope Mathew (eds), Fresh Perspectives on the ‘War on Terror’ , ANU E-Press, Canberra, 2008;
  • Conor Gearty, Can Human Rights Survive?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006;
  • Benjamin J Goold & Liora Lazarus (eds), Security and Human Rights, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2007;
  • Ian Loader and Neil Walker, Civilizing Security, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007;
  • Andrew Lynch, Edwina MacDonald & George Williams (eds), Law & Liberty in the War on Terror, Federation Press, Sydney, 2007;
  • Victor V Ramraj, Michael YM Hor & Kent Roach, Global Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005;
  • Ben Saul, Defining Terrorism in International Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006;
  • Richard Ashby Wilson (ed), Human Rights in the ‘War on Terror’, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005.


This course does not utilise WebCT but a vast array of quality material, including guides to legislation, is available online about terrorism, law and human rights. You can access many of these via the Terrorism and Law Resources page hosted by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at:

Students seeking to obtain the above or further resources should seek assistance from the UNSW Library:

URL for this page:

© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.