Credit points


Campus offering

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LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research ; LAWS107 Introduction to Australian Public Law

Teaching organisation

4 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit enables students to understand, explain and apply the laws which govern the collection and dissemination of information by the media. Students will read and interpret media case law, legislation, regulations and codes and apply them to factual scenarios. Students will be exposed to and will write about and discuss important topics related to the role of the media in contemporary Australian society, such as freedom of speech, national security, the administration of justice, and the protection of citizens from offensive material.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Explain the principles and history of media law in Australia;
LO2Locate the sources of state and federal law, and case law related to control of the media and apply the law to different fact scenarios
LO3Critique media law
LO4Develop and communicate reasoned opinions about the effects of different media laws on society and the individual.


Topics will include:  

  • the media and the courts (suppression orders, contempt of court, journalists and their sources) 
  • the media and parliament (contempt of Parliament, parliamentary broadcasts)  
  • the media and national security (sedition, official secrets, reporting terrorism etc)  
  • the media and offensive publications (blasphemy, obscenity, the classification system, racial and religious vilification) 
  • breach of confidence and the emerging law relating to privacy 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.  


Duration: 3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent. Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 


This level three compulsory Law unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law to meet the requirements of accreditation.  


Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply fundamental legal knowledge, skills and understandings to address legal problems.  


The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online mode. We have taken a multimodal learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student-focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising Canvas.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law required for accreditation.  


The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Communication and engagement: Students are required to participate in tutorials, in recognition that the development of skills in referencing and analysing research materials is assisted by participation in weekly tutorials. A rubric will be utilised to assess students.


LO3, LO4

Assignment: Students are required to research and write an assignment on a given topic. This assignment recognises the need for developing skills in locating, referencing, analysing research materials and training in legal writing skills. A rubric will be utilised for this assessment.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Final Examination: Students are required to be present to sit and write the final examination. This assessment recognises the need for developing skills to work through and provide a legal solution  

to a given legal problem within the time frame of the examination period. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Des Butler and Sharon Rodrick Australian Media Law (5th edition) Thomson Reuters (2015) 

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