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Personal profile


Carolyn is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie Law School where she teaches and researches in the area of public law, with a focus on human rights and open government. Carolyn regularly provides expert advice on privacy and the handling of personal information to government and non-government organisations. She is currently engaged in a major project examining the ethics, law and policy of sharing personal information in the records of general practioners for research. 

As well as a significant track record in interdisciplinary legal research, Carolyn brings to her teaching and research a practical perspective, drawing on two decades of providing high level legal and policy advice to state and federal governments, including NSW Cabinet Office and the federal Attorney-General's Department. Immediately prior to joining Macquarie University, she worked with the Australian Law Reform Commission on the following inquiries: Essentially Yours: The Protection of Genetic Information in Australia (ALRC Report 96) 2003; Same Crime, Same Time: Sentencing of Federal Offenders (ALRC Report 103) 2006; For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (ALRC Report 108) 2008; and Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia (ALRC Report 112) 2009.

Research interests

  • Public law and open government
  • Freedom of information
  • Secrecy laws and culture
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Privacy and the use of personal information
  • Privacy legislation and regulation
  • Data linkage, including for research
  • Human rights law
  • International human rights law and institutions
  • National human rights institutions
  • Bills of rights

Research student supervision

I am happy to supervise PhD, MPhil and Masters of Research (MRes) students on topics that align with my reserearch interests, as indicated above. I would be particularly interested in supervising projects on the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the health sector; and the ethics, law and policy of new technologies in the health sector, for example, the increasing use of data linkage for research and the provision of health care. If you have a proposed research project that aligns with my research interests I would be happy to assist you to develop your application and research proposal. 

Past students

  • MRes: Joanna Mitchell, The Right to be Heard: Children and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (2022)
  • PhD: Dr Danielle MoonInstrument, Culture and Myth: Disclosure of 'Thinking Process Material' under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (2020)
  • MRes: Paul Maluga, Let Me and My Metadata Alone: Australia's Compliance with Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (2017)
  • PhD: Dr Holly Doel-Mackaway, 'Just Ask Us. Come and See Us': The Participation of Aboriginal Children and Young People in Law and Policy Development (2016)
  • MRes: Danielle Moon, A Matter of Balance: Freedom of Information and Deliberative Documents (2015)

Research engagement

Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee (Human Sciences & Humanities) legal member 2014 to present

Macquarie Law School HDR Committee member 2014 to 2018


Education/Academic qualification

Law, Doctor of Philosophy, Access to Government Data Collections of Personal Information for Health Research: Better Decision Making, Macquarie University

21 Mar 201127 Sept 2022

Award Date: 27 Oct 2022

Law, Bachelor of Laws, Australian National University

Award Date: 14 May 1986

Asian Studies, Bachelor of Arts, Australian National University

Award Date: 7 Sept 1984


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