What’s the law? Australian law for new arrivals project

What’s the law? Australian law for new arrivals project

About the project

Cover image of What's the law? Australian law for new arrivals education kit

The What’s the law? Australian law for new arrivals education kit addresses common legal issues encountered by new arrivals in their first years of settlement and includes digital stories, activities for students, and information for teachers and workers.

This kit was prompted by an awareness that many legal problems faced by people who are newly arrived to Australia are preventable.

It was designed for use in the Adult Migrant English Program, which is funded by the Department of Home Affairs, and can also be used in community settings. We provide support and training for its delivery in Victoria.

The kit was launched by the former federal Attorney-General, the Hon Nicola Roxon, MP, in June 2012 and has been evaluated.

The legal issues

The kit covers legal issues relating to the following 14 topics:

  • Australia’s legal system
  • buying a car
  • car accident
  • Centrelink
  • child protection
  • consumer issues
  • discrimination
  • employment
  • family law
  • family violence.
  • fines
  • driving
  • police
  • renting.

Five topics from the kit have been adapted for an Australian law in orientation resource, for use in the Humanitarian Settlement Services program in Victoria and for use with newly arrived groups requiring an interpreter or bilingual worker.

Our partners

Footscray Community Legal Centre, now known as WEstJustice, identified the need for targeted information for new arrivals and partnered with AMES to develop a series of digital stories. Victoria Legal Aid then worked with these organisations and the following to develop the kit into a national resource:

  • the Department of Home Affairs
  • the legal aid commissions across Australia
  • National Legal Aid.


The kit was evaluated in a study that investigated the impact of a CLE program for improving English language students’ knowledge and attitudes of the legal issues associated with buying a car. The findings demonstrate how CLE can change participants’ attitudes and knowledge of the law, and have been published in the Journal of Law and Social Policy: Does community legal education work? Educating English language students about consumer contracts

National Legal Aid’s evaluation of the kit shows that 97 per cent of educators using the kit said it was a useful tool to provide information about legal issues. Read the What's the law? evaluation report (doc, 3.76 MB).

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