Finding Australian legislation

Find Commonwealth, Victorian and state Acts, bills and explanatory memoranda.


What is a bill?

A bill is a proposed law, or legislation in draft form, that is introduced into parliament but has not yet been passed. If passed and given Royal Assent, it becomes an act. Bills can be introduced into either house of parliament. The first reading is when it is tabled; the second reading when its purpose is outlined by the responsible member and its merits debated, and the third reading when a vote is taken. If passed it is then referred to the other house of parliament.

Bills online

All recent Victorian and Commonwealth bills are now available electronically.

Bills in print

As a rule, most of the above websites are excellent for recent bills and legislation but older material is usually only available in print.  The State Library has a very good, but incomplete collection of older bills in print and, if any bills are missing, we can often locate copies in other libraries. Please keep in mind that Private Members Bills were never sent to the State Library.

Commonwealth bills in print at this Library and not available online (prior to 1996):

Victorian state bills in print at this Library and not available online (prior to 1996): 

Explanatory memoranda (EMs)

Check our page on explanatory memoranda for advice on accessing current and historic EMs.

Lapsed bills

Bills may lapse when parliament is dissolved or prorogued. This normally occurs when an election is called. However it can happen in other circumstances (though rarely). 

Bills can be reintroduced when the parliament reconvenes. However some bills lapse and are not reintroduced. (This can happen when there is a change of government).  To track these lapsed bills for the Commonwealth Parliament try this source:

Bills not passed into law and bills which originally lapsed but subsequently passed, sessions 1901-02 to 1983-84

Viewing printed bills at the Library

If you wish to order copies of printed bills to be retrieved from the Library collection you will need to be a registered user. When ordering ensure that you include the name of the bill, and the year it was tabled in parliament. Retrievals usually take 30 minutes.


Staff at the State Library of Victoria do not offer legal advice. Every effort is made to provide up to date, accurate and relevant legal information but this is not intended to replace qualified legal advice.