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Australian Legislation

Types of Legislation

Many documents are produced during the development of legislation.

The table below outlines the stage of the legislative process, and the documents produced at each stage.

These documents, or extrinsic material, that are produced alongside Acts are useful for understanding the context and intended purpose of the Act.

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 Royal Assent given by the Governor-General Royal 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 legislative 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.

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