Finding Australian legislation

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

What are regulations?

Delegated legislation such as regulations or statutory rules are subsidiary to particular acts and provide specific detail related to an act. Delegated legislation is made by an executive authority under the powers given to them by the relevant act.

For instance, as an example for Victoria the Road Safety Act broadly outlines requirements for granting of a learner driver permit.  Section 95 of the Act gives authority to the Governor in Council, a body chaired by the Governor of Victoria and including the Premier and Ministers (the Executive Council), to make regulations relating to this Act.

The regulations to the Act are very specific. For instance regulations relating to the learner driver permit include the dimensions and colours of learner plates and the distance they need to be visible.

An example for Commonwealth legislation is the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act which states in section 21

The Governor‑General may make regulations prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.

The regulations to this act are authorised by the Governor General acting 'with advice from the Federal Executive Council'. The Executive Council includes all ministers as per sections 62 and 64 of the Australian Constitution.

 

Victorian regulations

In print

1901 to current

Statutory rules / regulations 1901-current

19th century

The Victorian statutes : the public general statutes of the colony of Victoria

Volume 4 of this item includes regulations up to 1875.

Online

1996 to current available through the Victorian government legislation website. These are also available through the AustlII website.

Regulations are published in the Victoria Government gazette. The gazette is available online on the AustlII website up to 1999. This includes New South Wales Government gazette 1836 to 1851, Port Phillip Government gazette 1843 to 1851 and the Victoria Government gazette 1851 to 1999.

The AustlII search engine is not particularly sophisticated and specific searches will work the best. For instance if you have the title of the regulations you will be able to locate the information fairly easily. However broad keyword searches will return a vast range of irrelevant results as searches appear to be across entire editions of the gazette rather than each notice within a gazette. As you check each result you may need to use the Find function within the browser to locate the terms you have used.

For instance here are the regulations for 'destruction of rats' (1921) under the Health Act 1919

Commonwealth regulations

In print

Statutory rules / regulations / delegated instruments

The Library holds a complete set of these from Federation (1901) to current

Online

Legislative instruments / statutory rules / regulations

These are available online from 1920 via the Federal Register of Legislation website. Use the Filter by title option to search.  The View Series tab lists historic consolidated versions of the regulations where available.

Consolidated regulations, and numbered regulations from 1979 are also available on the AustlII website. See that site for definitions.

State Library Victoria

LIBRARY CLOSURE  

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.