Documents produced in the legislation making process
There are a range of documents that are produced in making of laws. The table below outlines the stage of the legislative process, and the document produced at that stage. The documents that are produced alongside statutes are useful for understanding the context and intended purpose of the statute. Access to these documents is listed in the Legislation by Jurisdiction sections of this guide.
|Stage of the legislation process||Document Produced|
|An inquiry into legislative reform may be established and submissions are called for||Report forming the basis for legislative reform eg. Law Reform Commission Report|
|A Bill is drafted||Exposure draft Bill - may be posted for public scrutiny on Government departments website|
|Bill presented to Parliament||
|A plain language explanation of the bill is produced and tabled in Parliament||
Explanatory Memorandum (EM)
|Bill is debated in Parliament (often in both the House of Representatives and the Senate)||Second Reading Speech in Hansard|
|If changes are required following debate, the Bill is referred to a Parliamentary Committee||Parliamentary Committee report|
|Bill is passed and Assent given by the Governor-General||Assent notice in Government Gazette|
|A principal Act is created and given a number and a year||Sessional (or Numbered) Act|
|The Act commences on a set date or date to be proclaimed||Commencement date/s provided in s 2 of the Act and published in the Government Gazette and legislation databases|
|Amendments to the Principal Act are introduced via an Amending Act which progresses through Parliament in a similar way||Amending Act|
|Amendments are incorporated into the principal Act||
Reprint (published by the government printer)Principal Act compilation (on the Parliamentary website, Federal Register of Legislation)
|Legislation made by government agencies and the Governor-General under authority of Acts of Parliaments, which delegate this power to agencies.||Delegated legislation, subordinate legislation or legislative instruments|
Note: Delegated legislation is not strictly part of the legislative process, however they are produced alongside other legislative documents.
Track the currency of legislation
Checking whether an Act is up to date
The easiest way to know if your Act is up to date with the latest legislative activity is to use a reliable source for legislation. We recommend using the legislation website for each jurisdiction. Locate your Act and ensure it's the latest version. Check the Notes at the end of the Act to see the amendments included in the version.
Warning! You may wish to check the current Bills Activity to find any Bills that have recently passed or may soon pass and affect your Act. Bills for the current parliament are available on parliament websites.
Tracking legislative history, commencement and future changes
Legislation is dynamic and it is important to know how your legislation, and if relevant, provisions have changed over the years by tracking the legislative history. It is also important to check the currency of the legislation you are using, specifically whether the Act or provisions have been incorporated and come into effect.
Tracking legislative history
Tracking legislation commencement
Tracking potential legislative changes
Monitoring the progress of a Bill
Bills are debated in parliament and amended accordingly. A bill can undergo many amendments and because of this, it is important to monitor the progress of a bill through parliament. The below tools will assist you in monitoring the progress of a bill.
Finding relevant legislation on a topic
LawLex - select the 'browse legislation', deselect all the jurisdictions and then select the jurisdiction you are researching. Then select the category and if necessary a sub category.
TimeBase LawOne - use the search option from the top menu, enter the search terms and refine by jurisdiction or subject.
Secondary sources - use books, legal encyclopaedia and journal articles to identify legislation relevant to a topic.
Discussion of legislative provisions in journal articles
Journals are useful in finding discussion of legislation.
Use AGIS to browse legislation discussed in journals. The index feature allows you to search using indexed terms legislation and jurisdiction. AGIS contains indexed articles from 1970 and full text articles from 1995.
Lexis Advance includes journals that cover a range of legislative areas. You can search all journals sources or select one and search using phrases, article title, author and/or article citation.
Westlaw AU subscribes to journals that cover legislative areas such as building and construction, environment and planning, family law, local government and public law. Useful search features include 'legislation cited' and 'jurisdiction' search fields.