The Professor Maureen Brunt AO Essay Prize is an annual initiative of Consumer Policy Research Centre, which asks Honours, Masters and PhD students to explore a key current challenge for consumer policy development.

The prize honours Professor Brunt, whose work had a profound and lasting impact on consumer and competition law in Australia. She was the first female Chair of Economics in Australia and produced pioneering studies on the industrial organisation of the Australian economy, with her early research uncovering a high degree of concentrated market power and urgent need for the establishment of consumer law.

We are proud to continue Professor Brunt’s legacy with this initiative – encouraging a new wave of students to apply their bright thinking and to the new emerging challenges in consumer policy design and market governance.

After some delays due to COVID-19 and the rapid reorientation of our research program, we’re now so pleased to announce the inaugural winner and runner up of this new initiative.

Message from the family

During her later years, Maureen Brunt talked to us often about ways in which she could facilitate the support of young, promising students in their higher studies in economics and law, reflecting the support that facilitated her PhD studies at Harvard during the early 1950s.


I was therefore very pleased to support the establishment of the Prof Maureen Brunt AO Essay Prize, particularly as it is so well aligned with her wishes.


More recently, I was delighted to be advised of the results of the inaugural competition and to see the two winning essays, reflecting such important contemporary issues in consumer and competition law.


Please pass on my sincere congratulations to the inaugural winners, Priyanka and Samantha; I sincerely hope that these prizes will assist them in their ongoing studies and that the essays themselves will help to facilitate discussion of these important issues.


-John Dulfer, nephew to the late Prof. Maureen Brunt AO


Paying for privacy: An exploration of the trade of personal information and privacy in the digital age. Human right? Property right? Input to production?

Prize Money

First Prize $7,500.00

Runner Up $2,500.00

Judging Criteria

  • Understanding and explanation of why the topic is a significant issue impacting both policymakers and consumers alike.
  • Consideration of a broad range of arguments on the subject matter.
  • Drawing on international literature and schools of thought, consideration of the cultural dimensions that may influence differing approaches.
  • Credible evidence to support arguments made, referenced using Chicago documentary-note style.
  • Either: A persuasive and clearly articulated point of view on a preferred approach (for a persuasive essay), OR sufficient exploration of commonalities and divergence of different schools of thought (for compare and contrast essays).
  • Insightful, engaging and coherent writing style.

Meet the Winners

Priyanka Banerjee


Priyanka is currently a Law Graduate at Allens in Melbourne, in the Disputes & Investigations practice. She has previously worked as a research assistant in areas of superannuation, tax reform and pharmaceutical pricing policy at the Grattan Institute, as well as in consumer protection, financial regulation, and public law at Melbourne Law School. She was also an Editor of the Melbourne University Law Review.

Priyanka holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne.

She is particularly interested in empirical legal research, and the intersection of economics and law, specifically how economic frameworks can be adapted and applied to legal problems.


Since the late 20th century, with the advent of the Internet and digital technologies, a multi-billion-dollar information economy has developed and flourished. Companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon own… Read more

Samantha Floreani

Runner Up

Samantha Floreani works at the intersection of human rights, feminism, and technology. At the time of writing this essay, she was the Victorian State Director of Code Like a Girl, a tech-education social enterprise creating pathways into technology for women. Samantha has since taken a position at Salinger Privacy as a Privacy and Technology Specialist, where she has a particular focus on assessing privacy risks of algorithmic systems, as well as Campaigns Officer with Digital Rights Watch, where she advocates for human rights in the digital age. Samantha holds a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Politics and International Studies and is completing a Graduate Diploma in Data Science. Samantha’s approach to her work is firmly grounded in feminism, and she considers upholding privacy to be an essential tool to examine and resist imbalances of power.


Since the late 20th century, with the advent of the Internet and digital technologies, a multi-billion-dollar information economy has developed and flourished. Companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon own… Read more