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Australian Legislation


There are three types of Acts used in legislative research:



When you are looking for up to date Acts, you may come across the following terms:

  • Consolidated Act: incorporates amendments made by other legislation since the original legislation was made. A consolidated Act refers to the combination of a number of Acts of Parliament (the principal act and amending acts) into one codifying statute.
  • Act Compilation: current versions of an Act incorporating all amendments to date since the Act was first passed. The text of any amendments that are not in force on the date when the compilation is prepared can be found in the Notes section which is located at the end of the compilation. A compilation is a ‘cut and paste’ version of a law that shows you the text of the law as amended.  Note: a compilation may not contain all the amendments you expect - check the notes for details of unincorporated amendments.
Point in Time

Point in time legislative research means establishing the content of an Act at a specific point in time.

Point in time Act is used interchangeably with the term historical Act.

If your research topic is focused on a specific year or date (for example, 2010), you will need to locate a copy of the Act as it existed during this time.

As Made

Passed by parliament, also referred to as sessional Acts or Acts as passed.

Acts are commonly referred to as statutes, legislation or law. There are two types of Acts:

  • A principal Act refers to an Act of Parliament that deals with a given area of law
  • ‚ÄčAn amending Act refers to an Act that alters the operation of a Principal Act, by substituting, inserting, omitting or repealing words or provisions in the Principal Act. When a Principal Act is amended by an Amending Act, the two Acts are to be regarded as one connected and combined of the will of Parliament. 

Commencement Information

There are 3 methods employed for commencing an Act or bringing an Act into operation:

  • The Act may be silent—in which case the Act will come into operation on the day on which it is assented to (see section 7(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915).
  • The Act may contain a commencement provision setting out a specified day or time when the Act (or part of the Act) comes into operation. Section 14D of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915 provides that when an Act, or part of an Act, comes into operation on a particular day, it will be taken to have come into operation as from 12 o'clock midnight of the preceding day.
  • The Act may contain a commencement provision stating that the Act (or part of the Act) will come into operation on a day to be fixed by proclamation. Section 7(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915 enables the proclamation to:
    • Fix different days or times for different provisions of the Act to come into operation
    • suspend the operation of specified provisions of the Act until a day or time or days or times to be fixed by subsequent proclamation or proclamation. 

The date fixed by proclamation may be delayed by further proclamation. Under section 7(5) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1915, if a proclamation is not made before the second anniversary of the date on which an Act enacted after 16 April 1992 was assented to, the Act will come into operation on that anniversary.

Commencement provisions often combine the above approaches.

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