© 2020

Committees of Influence

Parliamentary Rights Scrutiny and Counter-Terrorism Lawmaking in Australia


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Parliamentary Committees and Rights Protection in Australia

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Sarah Moulds
      Pages 3-29
    3. Sarah Moulds
      Pages 31-39
  3. Applying the Assessment Framework

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 89-89
    2. Sarah Moulds
      Pages 91-119
    3. Sarah Moulds
      Pages 121-183
    4. Sarah Moulds
      Pages 185-210
    5. Sarah Moulds
      Pages 211-226
  4. Improving the Rights-Protecting Capacity of the Parliamentary Committee System

About this book


This book includes original and ground breaking research into parliamentary law making and legislative responses to counter-terrorism in Australia. This book introduces new, holistic and evidenced-based methods of evaluating how parliaments deliberate on complex policy issues, and how they weigh up competing rights and interests. Although this book is focused on the Australian experience, it has relevance across all parliamentary democracies grappling with the challenges posed by ensuring robust rights protection whilst responding to the threat of terrorism. This book will be of relevance and interest to law makers, government administrators and public servants, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, political and legal scholars, law students and members of the legal profession.

This book is designed to provide a unique, evidence-based perspective on Australia's parliamentary model of rights protection and on the experience of counter-terrorism law making in Australia since 2011. By focusing on the role and impact of the federal parliamentary committee system, this book offers a fresh perspective on the contemporary legal and political debate on the best legal mechanism for rights protection in Australia. By using counter-terrorism laws as a detailed case study, this book also contributes in a timely, authoritative way to the debate on balancing individual liberties with national security.  

Using a contemporary case study of Australia's counter-terrorism, this book employs a unique, three tiered methodology to explore the impact of the system of parliamentary committees system on federal laws. The findings in this book give rise to practical recommendations for reform and provide a fresh new perspectives on Australia's parliamentary model of rights protection. This book has broad implications for rights scholars and rights advocates contemplating new models of rights protection in Australia. This book offers important practical insights to other jurisdictions grappling with the challenges posed by ensuring robust rights protection whilst responding to the threat of terrorism.


Parliamentary committees Parliamentary rights Political Influence Legislative council Counterterrorism law Counter-terrorism Australia counter-terrorism Parliamentary committees system Parliamentary committees law reform Federal law Parliamentary model of rights protection Human rights Rights protection Australian parliament Administrative Law Constitutional Law Criminal Law Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Justice and SocietyUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

About the authors

Dr Sarah Moulds is a recognised leader in the area of law reform and parliamentary law making. For 15 years she has been committed to engaging with and improving Australia's parliamentary model of rights protection, and has observed the system in action from a number of unique perspectives.  

Dr Moulds has been undertaking research in the area of parliamentary scrutiny and deliberative law making for 15 years, including in the form of a PhD Thesis entitled The Rights-Protecting Role and Impact of Commonwealth Parliamentary Committees: The Case of Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Laws which was awarded a University Medal for Doctoral Research by the University of Adelaide in 2018. Dr Moulds has also published in a number of national and international law journals on the topic of parliamentary law making and rights protection, with a particular focus on the role of parliamentary committees.  She recently presented at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s Asia Seminar held in Myanmar in June 2019, and was invited to present at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom’s workshop on Parliamentary Engagement in April 2020, and has reflected on the significance of parliamentary law making from a range of local and international perspectives.

Before undertaking her PhD, Dr Moulds had an extensive career in law reform and legal policy, including seven years as a Director of Human Rights and Criminal Law Policy at the Law Council of Australia. Dr Moulds has also worked as a Senior Policy Officer at the South Australian Law Reform Institute and undertaken legal policy roles at the South Australian Attorney-General's Department and within the Commonwealth public service. Dr Moulds is currently lecturing at the University of South Australia, including in the area of public law, constitutional law and legislation, and is a member of the Law Society of South Australia's Administrative Law and Human Rights Committees.

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