Find Commonwealth, Victorian and state Acts, bills and explanatory memoranda.
Current and recent legislation (acts and regulations) is freely available online through two major websites:
Older Australian legislation (acts and regulations) is also available in print. It can be found at the Library, as can most officially published current legislation.
The Library holds a complete set of the Acts of the Parliament, Commonwealth of Australia.
A consolidation occurs when all current legislation and statutory instruments:
This makes the newly printed set of the legislation much easier to read and understand.
The consolidations also include schedules (list of all changes made to the legislation since it was introduced). This makes them very useful when tracing the history of a pre-1973 act.
This is a large undertaking, so consolidations do not occur often.
Commonwealth acts were consolidated in 1973. Acts are consolidated when the government has run all current acts and amendments back through parliament to produce a clean, unified act. Previous consolidations of Commonwealth acts were in 1950, 1935 and 1911.
Reprinted acts will incorporate all amendments to an act at the point of reprinting. These are available online through the ComLaw website (see above) as far back as 1973. Not all acts have versions going back that far.
The law that applies when something happens is the 'law as it is at that time'. You will need to track changes to the law and find the right historical version of the law at the time relevant to the issue you are researching.
As an example, a legal issue from five years ago needs to be researched using the legislation as it was five years ago, not the legislation as it is today as this may have been amended.
To locate the most recent version of the act prior to the date you are researching:
Once you have located the most relevant version of the act, you will then need to take into account any subsequent amendments prior to the date you are researching:
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.
In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.
We will advise when there is any update to this situation.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.