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Primary sources of law

This guide will assist you in identifying and searching primary sources of law.

Bills and extrinsic material

Definitions

Bill: A legislative document in the form of a proposed Act of Parliament that has not yet been passed by parliament or received royal assent.

Extrinsic material: Material that does not form part of an Act but that may assist in the interpretation of that Act. Such material includes explanatory memoranda, reports of law reform commissions and parliamentary committees, and second reading speeches.

- LexisNexis, Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary

Accessing Bills and extrinsic material

Use the tabs to access Bills, Hansard and explanatory memoranda from the government sources.

Bills, second reading speeches and explanatory memoranda for all jurisdictions can also be searched through Lawlex and Lexis Advance. Both these databases link to the official government sources for these, and can provide a quicker, more streamlined way to research and access.

 

Bills, Second reading speeches (NT only), and some EMs can also be found in AustLII.

Commonwealth (Cth)

Queensland (Qld)

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Northern Territory (NT)

South Australia (SA)

Tasmania (Tas)

Victoria (Vic)

Western Australia (WA)

Second reading speeches can be found in the parliamentary debates, or 'Hansard'.

Commonwealth (Cth)

Queensland (Qld)

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Northern Territory (NT)

South Australia (SA)

Tasmania (Tas)

Victoria (Vic)

Western Australia (WA)

Explanatory memoranda (EMs) are also called 'explanatory notes' or 'explanatory statements', depending on the jurisdiction.

Commonwealth (Cth)

Queensland (Qld)

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Northern Territory (NT)

South Australia (SA)

South Australia doesn't have separately issued EMs but the second reading speech gives a clause-by-clause explanation of the Bill.

Tasmania (Tas)

Tasmania doesn't have EMs but has Fact Sheets and Clause Notes that contain similar information. These are found in the Bill's record

Victoria (Vic)

Western Australia (WA)

Other helpful resources for locating extrinsic material