The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


This course examines the philosophical and legal concepts of equality and discrimination and considers the effectiveness and limitations of law as tool for changing behaviour and promoting equality. It examines the historical development and operation of anti-discrimination laws in Australia and where relevant, contrasts Australian law with other approaches. Recognising the complexities and tensions inherent in using law as an instrument of social change, the course critically analyses the effectiveness of anti-discrimination law.

Topics include the theoretical framework and historical development of equal opportunity protection in Australia, constitutional considerations and the difficulties associated with operating within a federal system, an overview of the Australian equal opportunity scheme, proving direct and indirect discrimination, sexual, racial, disability and age discrimination, equal opportunity procedure and remedies and alternative approaches to combating inequality.

This LAWS elective course is offered on a rotating basis and subject to student demand.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the theories of equality and the legal and practical challenges associated with changing behaviour and equality.

2. Demonstrate the capacity to analyise and research complex situations and apply the legislation and theories to them.

3. Demonstrate the capacity to read analytically and understand complex cases focusing on statutory interpretation.

4. Demonstrate a highly developed capacity to identify legal issues, adduce relevant legal principles and rules and apply these to hypothetical problems based on federal and state equal opportunity law.

5. Demonstrate the capacity to prepare and present cogent and nuanced arguments, both orally and in writing.


The course deals with the concepts, institutions, legal principles, practice and jurisprudence of Australian federal and state equal opportunity law.Topics covered in this course will be - 

  1. Theoretical framework and historical development of equal opportunity protection in Australia
  2. How Australia's anti-discrimination legislation compares with that of other relevant countries.
  3. Constitutional considerations
  4. Proving direct and indirect unlawful discrimination
  5. Sex discrimination
  6. Racial discrimination
  7. Disability discrimination
  8. Age discrimination
  9. Unlawful Sexual Harassment
  10. Unlawful Vilification
  11. Alternative approaches


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, LAWS3041, and LAWS4011.

Assessment items

Presentation: Group Presentation

Written Assignment: Essay

In Term Test: Take Home Examination

Participation: Participation

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term