Australia Law workbook – What is the Australian Constitution?

Revision questions

  • What is the Australian Constitution?
  • Where do I find a copy?
  • What part or section sets out the respective powers of the Commonwealth and States?
  • How does the Australian Constitution determine the respective powers of States and Commonwealth?
  • What is the role of the Governor-General?
  • Explain the political and legal relationship between the Governor-General and the Prime Minister?
  • Does Western Australia have a Constitution?
  • What are the historical origins of the word ‘terrorism’?
  • Does Australian law define ‘terrorism’ and an ‘act of terror’? Where? What does this word and phrase mean?
  • Does the use of language play any role in combating threats to national security? Explain?
  • How do politicians use language to advance political motives? Give an example?
  • What reasons are commonly advanced by governments when security related legislation winds back traditional rights and freedoms? Are these reasons valid?
  • List any international treaties and conventions concerned with combating terrorism?
  • What role has the United Nations played in combating worldwide terrorism?
  • What traditional common law rights and privileges are affected and/or removed by legislation enacted by Australia in response to the events of 11 September 2001?
  • List the major changes to Australian national security law since September 11? What has driven these changes? Are these changes effective in reducing terrorist threats?
  • What powers do security licences give licence holders?
  • Is a gun license the same as a private security license?
  • How important is a persons criminal record on getting a private security license?
  • Is there an internationally recognised security licence?
  • List Western Australia’s private security laws?
  • How does an individual become a private security agent?
  • Who issues domestic security licences?
  • What was Blackwater? What did it do?
  • Identify one recent legal case involving former members of Blackwater and briefly explain why they were in court proceedings and the outcome of those proceedings?
  • List three current international security companies, where they are located and what services they provide?
  • What are mercenaries?
  • Is there an international treaty about mercenaries? What was its purpose?
  • What is the relationship between private security agents and ASIO agents?
  • Do the Australia armed forces have a greater role in any domestic response to a terrorist attack on Australian soil following 11 September 2001? Explain?
  • Which internationally recognized terrorist organization most affects Australia’s interests? Why?
  • What is ‘home grown terrorism? Why is it considered significant?
  • Identify one home-grown terrorism case and explain what happened?
  • What are the general rules Australia takes into account in extradition proceedings?
  • What are the requirements in Australia for treating foreign nationals accused of security (terrorist) offences?
  • What powers, if any, does Australia have when Australian citizens are detained by foreign States on suspicion of national security offences?
  • How have the procedures for entering the USA changed as a result of the ‘war on terror’?
  • How have the procedures for entering Australia changed as a result of the ‘war on terror’?
  • Why has it been necessary to review the activities of Australia’s security organizations?
  • What role has technology played in enhancing national security?
  • Do private security agents use technology? Explain how and why?
  • Should there be further changes to Australia’s national security legislation? Why?
  • Have there been any effective changes to aircraft security within Australia since 2001?
  1. Do private security organisations have a role in the Australian National Counter-Terrorism Plan?










Practice problems

  1. 1. Discuss the role and scope of private security agents in the protection of people and property?


  1. Explain the role of Australia’s National Security Framework in protecting Australia’s security environment?


  1. What is the difference between national and private security law in Australia?


  1. Compare and contrast two prominent security/terrorism trials in Australia?


  1. Explain the relationship between the Western Australian Police and private security firms?


  1. What is the legal and political position of a terrorist suspect and an enemy non-combatant in the Australian legal system?


  1. Do the changes to Australia’ national security laws since September 11 adequately protect Australians from terrorist attacks?


  1. What powers do private security agents have in detaining individuals? Are these powers sufficient? Elaborate.


  1. National security suspects should have no legal protections.



  1. As part of its arsenal in the fight against security threats Australia should introduce national legislation requiring fingerprinting and the taking of DNA samples from all its citizens.



  1. Discuss the arrest and subsequent detention of Dr Mohamed Haneef? What if anything did these events say about the effectiveness of Australia’s anti-terrorist legislation?


  1. The Australian Federal Police play a minor and ineffective role in domestic security? Discuss.


  1. John is employed as a private security guard at the Perth Convention Centre. Whilst on duty during the ‘Home Show’ his boss points out two adults and three children who seem to be a family and whom the boss believes have stolen an exhibit. John is asked to stop and detain them while the police are called. Explain, referring to relevant legislation and case law, how John should go about this task?


  1. Explain, using examples from the media and case law, how federal and state law apply to private security matters?


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