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Business Law


What is Legislation?

Legislation is law made by Parliament.  It consists of:

  • Acts (also known as statutes)
  • Subordinate and delegated legislation (this refers to rules, regulations, by-laws and orders, legislative instruments created pursuant to an Act of Law)
  • Bills (a proposal for a new law, or change to an existing law).

Legislation and associated documents, (extrinsic materials) are published in hard-copy and also available online.

Extrinsic materials are extremely useful in the legal research process. These materials are not included in Acts, but derived from external sources and can help clarify the meaning intended by Parliament.  It may be in the form of explanatory memoranda, parliamentary speeches or law reform commission reports. This information can help you understand, define or interpret the meaning and intent of the law.

Researching Legislation

Online versions of legislation are freely accessible via the official Government websites. Click on the appropriate links under States and Territories on this page. Websites are updated regularly, though you should always check the currency of the version you have.

To begin your search for legislation you will need to identify the following:

  • Which jurisdiction is the legislation enacted? Is it federal or state legislation?
  • What is the form of legislation? It is a Bill, an Act or a regulation?
  • What is the name of the legislation?

For example, to look up the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 on the Australian Government Legislation website:

  • Locate the Australian Government Federation Register of Legislation
  • Select "Acts"
  • Choose type (Acts)
  • Show results (Sort by Title)
  • Select Pe (for “Personally Controlled…..”)
  • Download the authoritative version of the Act

Once you have located the Act, select “View Series” to view Extrinsic Materials such as the items that amend the Principal, the Rules and Regulations the Act enables, and related Bills, such as the originating Bill.