Updated Instructions for Research Essay

Weight: 50%

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline.

Submissions made by the due date and time are final. Students are not permitted to re-submit after the due date.


This task requires students to engage in in-depth research and reading from a wide range of sources, from which they are required to develop well-supported arguments in essay form on the topic.  In writing the essay, students should demonstrate their ability to critically analyze the core issues raised by the topic, as well as an understanding of the context, relevant case law, and the broader public policy issues involved.

The research paper must be all your own work.  You are expected to comply with the Macquarie University Academic Honesty Policy.



  1. The growth of new technologies gives rise to the potential for discriminatory treatment to occur in new and varied ways. One of the challenges this presents is whether anti-discrimination laws are appropriated framed to address these forms of discrimination.  Examine the way in which artificial intelligence and emerging technologies can contribute to forms of discriminatory treatment and consider whether the way federal anti-discrimination laws operate on the basis of individual complaints about certain types of conduct in specific areas and in relation to specific attributes is the best model for address the discriminatory treatment.
  2. The scope of Australian anti-discrimination laws is qualified by the existence of permanent exemptions (sometimes called exceptions) written into the legislation.   Should permanent exemptions/ exceptions remain part of federal anti-discrimination laws or should there be a different approach with a general justification clause requiring a case by case determination?
  3. Should section 42 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) be reframed to better cater for the situation of transgender athletes?
  4. Remedies under anti-discrimination laws have been criticized as undervaluing the harm that victims experience as a consequence of discrimination, harassment and vilification, as well as failing to promote systemic change.  Assess the role that the awarding of non-compensatory damages, such as aggravated or exemplary damages could make to the efficacy of Australian anti-discrimination laws.
  5. Choice of own topic: If you do not want to do a topic from the above list, you may select your own topic. You are encouraged to pursue your own interests in selecting a topic, as long as it relates to the subject matter of this unit. If you choose your own topic you must send a proposal outlining your research topic to the unit convener through iLearn.  Please note that you should have done some reading in advance of choosing your own topic, so as to be able to define and refine the particular area of research.  The proposal for a research topic should be in the form of a short descriptive outline of your research topic and the scope of your topic( for eg two or three paragraphs).   In addition, you need to include the bibliographic details of 3 sources that you have consulted in formulating your topic.    Deadline for submitting your own research topic: no later than 2pm 17 April 2020. 



There are specific formatting requirements for this assessment task.

  • It is to be no more than 2000 words.  Any words beyond this limit will not be read by the markers.
  • It must include a bibliography.
  • Footnotes and the bibliography are not included in the word count.
  •  It is to be fully referenced in accordance with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
  • The use of headings is permitted and encouraged.


Marking Rubric

Criteria Fail Pass Credit Distinction High Distinction
Identified and analyzed core issues raised by the question Identified issues with limited relevance to the question Identified some issues but either missed some important issues or provided little analysis. Identified and analyzed some of the issues. Identified and analyzed most of the issues. Comprehensively identified and analyzed the central issues.
Demonstrated knowledge of applicable law and policy Little demonstrated knowledge of relevant law and policy. Limited demonstrated knowledge of relevant law and policy. Identified and applied relevant law and policy. Clearly identified and accurately applied relevant law and policy. Insightful and highly accurate in synthesizing and applying relevant law and policy.
Engaged in critical analysis and presented considered legal arguments Largely descriptive, with no analysis or developed arguments. Limited analysis, with little or under-developed arguments. Good analysis, providing sound support for your arguments. Thorough analysis and well developed arguments. Outstanding analysis and sophisticated arguments.
Evidence of in-depth research Used materials from sources that were only tangentially related to the issues. Located and collated partially relevant research materials. Located some relevant research materials from a range of sources. Located and evaluated highly relevant research materials. Evaluated and synthesized an extensive range of highly relevant sources.
Written expression, spelling, and grammar Poor, with many errors.  Did not adequately proof read work. Satisfactory, but with errors. Clear, with some errors. Excellent, with few errors. Outstanding and without errors.
Organization and structure Poor structure & organization Sound structure & organization, with some weaknesses. Solid structure & organization. Well structured & clearly organized. Very logically structured and very clearly organized throughout.
Adherence to referencing and formatting requirements Poor Adequate, but with errors. Reasonable, but with some errors. Good compliance with requirements. Excellent compliance with requirements and no errors.


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