Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 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.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2020.

Learning outcomes

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

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

2. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to analyse and research complex situations and apply the legislation and theories to them.

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

4. Demonstrate an advanced 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 an advance capacity to prepare and present cogent and nuanced arguments, both orally and in writing.


The topics in this course include the following:

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


Students must be active in the M Human Resources and Law (40140) and have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in LEGL6004 OR be in the Juris Doc/G Dip Legal Practice (12334) OR be in a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) combined program.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

Assessment items

Presentation: Group Presentation and Participation

Written Assignment: Essay

In Term Test: Take Home Examination

Participation: Participation

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.