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Australian Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Law

Australian Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Law

3rd edition

By Neil Rees, Simon Rice and Dominique Allen


This new edition of Australia’s most comprehensive book on anti-discrimination law has been fully revised and updated, re-written and reformatted to enhance its accessibility. It continues to offer both a substantial text for a specialist audience, and a powerful critique of anti-discrimination law in Australia. The authors support their analysis and explanation of legislation and case law with carefully selected extracts from a broad range of decisions, law reform reports, and academic writers and commentators.

"[T]his encyclopaedic work is simply indispensable. The authors are acknowledged experts and seasoned campaigners, and their lucid exposition is enriched by extensive quotation from the work of other expert commentators.
             The coverage is breathtaking in its scope and depth, the attention to detail astonishing. To identify the differences between State, Territory and Commonwealth provisions, topic by topic, is a work of herculean proportions, requiring meticulous care." – The Hon Justice Chris Maxwell AC (from the foreword)

Key Features of the New Edition

  • Revised introduction to and overview of Australian anti-discrimination law.
  • New standalone chapters for Protected Attributes: Race Discrimination, Sex Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Age Discrimination, Carers’ Responsibilities and Other Protected Attributes.
  • Detailed account of legislative reform and developments in case law, in all nine jurisdictions, up to late 2017.
  • An account of changed complaints procedures under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act, and of the case law and public debate that triggered the changes.
  • Comprehensive analysis of the operation of special measures provisions in all of the anti-discrimination statutes.
  • Integrated discussion of the exceptions to the prohibition of discrimination for each attribute and in each area.


Foreword to the Third Edition by The Hon Justice Chris Maxwell AC, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal
Preface to the Third Edition
Legislation Websites
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

1.  Background to Australian Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Law

2.  Overview of Australian Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Law

3.  Direct and Indirect Discrimination 

4.  Positive Approaches to Non-Discrimination

5.  Race Discrimination 

6.  Sex Discrimination  

7.  Disability Discrimination

8.  Age Discrimination

9.  Carers' Responsibility Discrimination    

10. Other Protected Attributes

11. Areas of Unlawful Discrimination

12. Harassment

13. Vilification

14. Victimisation

15. Procedure

16. Remedies

17. Discrimination in the Fair Work Act



Reviews of previous editions:

This text is a thoughtful and insightful analysis, and critique, of current anti-discrimination law in Australia.
              This text is a substantial work, weighty enough for an audience of specialist lawyers, tribunal members and judges. … It is also a powerful critique. Read full review...

Rebecca Crawford, Law Letter, Law Society of Tasmania, Winter/Spring 2014

[T]he real strength of this book is in the perceptive and insightful commentary bringing together the cases and materials extracted in it...the book is primarily devised as a teaching tool as it appears from the questions posed at the end of each chapter. The questions are designed in such a way as to challenge the reader to think about the contents of the substantive part of the book and service to highlight the complexity of anti-discrimination law that protect many classes, some of whose interest may not merge.

Human Rights Law Review, 2009

Every day, governments, private companies and individuals must navigate the shoals of discrimination law. They must grapple with issues for which there is no clear answer and disputes in which both sides are understandable; often institutions and individuals will have little or no idea of their positive or negative obligations to others. For lawyers too this area is a minefield. The law, which is borne of a plethora of statutes, themselves often children of international treaties, is constantly evolving and adapting. Australian Anti-Discrimination Law is the answer to the prayers of the discrimination law practitioner for a complete case and materials textbook on the subject. The book contains extracts from cases (state, federal and international), statutes and statutory instruments, and academic materials where they assist our understanding. The authors are eminently qualified by their practical and academic experience. The book deals thoroughly with the subject from procedure and remedies through philosophical and political underpinnings to thorny issues of constitutional, international and comparative law. It covers both state and federal discrimination law.

Law Institute Journal of Victoria, July 2009

This book, which honours the best traditions of its genre, provides, within an appropriate conceptual framework, careful selection of extracts from cases and other pertinent materials and, importantly, incisive textual analysis. Whilst providing a cogent critique of the current law, the authors have kept their feet firmly on the ground. The result is an authoritative analysis based on the very considerable practical and academic experience of its authors. Under the leadership of Professor Neil Rees, and subsequently Simon Rice, Kingsford Legal Centre developed in the early 1980s a specialist practice in anti-discrimination law, providing the skill and experience to mount many of the early groundbreaking cases. Professor Rees continued his work in the area after moving to the University of Newcastle, where he collaborated with Katherine Lindsay. Together, they have established an immensely valuable resource covering the full spectrum of anti-discrimination law in Australia.

From the Foreword of the 1st edition by The Hon Justice John Basten

As my esteemed appellate colleague, John Basten, pointed out in his foreword to the first edition, two of the three authors — Neil Rees and Simon Rice — developed in the early 1980s a specialist practice in anti-discrimination law, providing the skill and experience to mount many of the early ground-breaking cases. Thirty years later, their commitment is as strong, and their expertise as precious, as ever.
             Their new co-author — Dr Dominique Allen — represents the next generation. She is one of the leading experts in the field. ...
             The completion of this second edition, six years after the first, is itself an act of leadership. The importance of this area of the law, at a practical level for so many people, makes it essential to have a clear and comprehensive account both of the statutory schemes and of judicial decisions. More than this, the book provides an intellectual framework within which to understand the philosophical origins, and legal and social objectives, of the anti-discrimination law framework. … We as lawyers have an obligation to keep things as simple as possible. … This book is essential equipment for the task at hand.

From the Foreword of the 2nd edition by The Hon Justice Chris Maxwell


Published 27 February 2018
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781760021559
Australian RRP $130.00
International Price $119.00
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Law - Human Rights
Law - Industrial & Employment

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