A range of federal and state legislation has implications for universities in providing equitable treatment for people with disability. Of primary importance is the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which imposes legal obligations not to discriminate against people with disability. There is complementary anti-discrimination legislation in each state and territory.
The DDA protects individuals in Australia from direct and indirect discrimination based on disability. It covers many parts of public life, such as employment, education and building access. It also promotes the development of disability standards such as the Disability Standards for Education and the development of Disability Action Plans.
Disability discrimination occurs when people with disability are treated less fairly than people without a disability, or when people are treated less fairly because they are relatives, friends, carers, co-workers or associates of a person with a disability. The Act also makes harassment on the basis of disability against the law.
If a student meets the essential entry requirements, then educators must make "reasonable adjustments" to the course design or delivery to enable the student to have a fair chance of participating unless this would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the university.