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Primary sources of law

This guide will assist you in locating the two most common primary sources of law - case law and legislation.

Accessing 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, Hansard and EMs

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

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

Jurisdiction Bills Hansard/Second reading speech Explanatory Memoranda/Notes/Statements
Commonwealth

Federal Register of Legislation

Parliament of Australia

AustLII

Parliament of Australia

Federal Register of Legislation (found in the Bill's record)

Parliament of Australia

AustLII

Queensland

Queensland Legislation

Queensland Parliament

AustLII

Queensland Parliament

Queensland Legislation (found in the Bill's record)

AustLII

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Legislation Register

AustLII

ACT Legislative Assembly

ACT Legislation Register

AustLII

New South Wales

Parliament of New South Wales

AustLII

Parliament of New South Wales

Parliament of New South Wales (found in the Bill's record)

AustLII

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Legislation

AustLII

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

AustLII

Northern Territory Legislation (found in the Bill's record)

AustLII

South Australia

South Australian Legislation

AustLII

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

Parliament of Tasmania

AustLII

Parliament of Tasmania Tasmania doesn't have EMs but have Fact Sheets and Clause Notes that contain similar information.
Victoria

Parliament of Victoria

Victorian legislation and parliamentary documents

AustLII

Parliament of Victoria

Victorian legislation and parliamentary documents (found in the Bill's record)

AustLII

Western Australia

Parliament of Western Australia

AustLII

Parliament of Western Australia

Parliament of Western Australia (found in the Bill's record)

AustLII

Other helpful resources for locating extrinsic material