Key internet links on Australian Law


The most comprehensive site for legislation is the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII). It also has a reasonably friendly user interface. However, it does not cover all legislation and does not always provide current information. It is therefore necessary to check with the various Commonwealth, State and Territory sites (listed below) for legislation not found on AustLII.

ComLaw is the authorised site for federal legislation.LAWLEX provides a Subject Index of Legislation from all jurisdictions.

Bills and Explanatory Memoranda

Bills – on the Parliament site. Mainly from 1997 onwards with a few back to the 1970s. Note that current bills are in a separate file from old bills. Texts of bills, with links to related documents (Explanatory Memoranda, Bills Digests, second reading speeches; Proposed Amendments). Regulation Impact Statements (when made) are contained within Explanatory Memoranda. Second reading speeches from digitised Hansards back to 1901 are available on the House of Representatives and Senate Hansard websites.

ComLaw (1996+). Select "EM/Supp Material" under the name of each Bill to see the EM. Content supplied by Parliament House.

AustLII. Bills (1981+) -- EMs (1980+). Content supplied by Parliament House.

Australian Taxation Office Legal Database: Extrinsic Materials
Explanatory Memoranda and second reading speeches for tax bills from 1936+.

Index to Explanatory Memoranda 1901-1982
A list compiled by the Parliamentary Library showing which bills were accompanied by an EM, with links to selected EMs. Not all bills had EMs before 1982. Also has text of some EMs after 1982 not available elsewhere.

Senate Tabled Papers Database (Bills and Explanatory Memoranda)
A database of items tabled in the Senate. It contains all explanatory memoranda tabled in the Senate since 1901, and some bills. Select "Bill" and its subdivisions in the "Description" pull down box. Note that the database is not very user friendly and you should read the "Tips on Searching" before starting.

Bills Lists 1981-1995
These contain information about every bill introduced into Parliament. 1981--1982--1983--1984-- 1984 (p11-12)--1985--1986--1987 (June)--1987 (December)--1988--1989--1990--1991--1992--1993--1994--1995.
Lists for 1996 onwards may be found on the Parliament House website via Parlinfo.


ComLaw 1973+
The most current and comprehensive site for Commonwealth Acts. If the Act you want is not here, try browsing the numbered Acts (ie Acts as originally passed)

AustLII 1973+

Historical numbered acts 1901+

These are available on HeinOnline

Documenting a Democracy. This National Archives site has the text of a small number of key Acts as they were originally passed: Pacific Islands Labourers Act 1901; Immigration Restriction Act 1901; Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, Judiciary Act 1903; Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909; Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924; Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942; Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948; Flags Act 1953; Royal Style and Titles Act 1953

Other acts: Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902 ; Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

Federal Statutes Annotations
All principal Acts for the Commonwealth are listed with: assent and reprint information; the current state of the Act, such as repeal or change of name; amending Acts with relevant commencement information; related Acts; regulations made under the Act; and relevant books and articles [through LexisNexis AU and available by subscription to Parliament only].

ComLaw Legislation Tables
Contains: Acts Table 1901+ (an alphabetical and chronological consolidated list of all Acts passed and how affected by later legislation. Very useful for historical research); annual Acts Tables 1993+; Repealed Acts Tables 1988+.

Commencement Dates for Acts
Each Act usually provides for how it will come into force (eg the day after Royal Assent). If the date of commencement is to be done by Proclamation this is notified as a Legislative Instrument on ComLaw (see below) or before 2005 notified in the Government Gazette. From 2005 each Act as passed on ComLaw provides details of any commencement proclamations (usually in section 2), while each compilation of an Act provides commencement information for the principal and amending acts in a table in the Notes to the Act. Commencement information may also be available in the Federal Statutes Annotations and the ComLaw legislation tables mentioned above. The Legislation Index of the Supreme Court of Victoria Library provides commencement information for Commonwealth Acts since 1991. The Office of Parliamentary Counsel provides background to commencement provisions in its Drafting Direction no. 1.3.

Delegated Legislation (Legislative Instruments, Statutory Rules, Regulations, determinations, directives, orders, proclamations, etc)

Consolidated (or reprinted) legislative instruments on ComLaw
The most current and comprehensive site for Commonwealth delegated legislation. If the instrument you want is not here, try browsing instruments 'as made' (selected from 1920+) (ie instruments as originally passed).

Explanatory Statements to Legislative Instruments on Comlaw
1920+. These are equivalent to Explanatory Memorandums to Bills. Select "Explanatory Statement" under the name of each instrument to see the ES.


Other delegated legislation not required to be registered on ComLaw is sometimes notified in the Commonwealth of Australia gazette. Some government departments also publish their delegated legislation on their web sites. The Administrative Arrangements Order can be checked to determine the legislation administered by each department.

Senate Tabled Papers Database Instruments and Explanatory Statements tabled in the Senate
A database of items tabled in the Senate. It covers regulations and instruments tabled in the Senate since 1901. Select "Instrument" and its subdivisions or "Legislative Instrument" in the "Description" pull down box. Note: the databse is tricky to use and you should read the "Tips on Searching" before starting.

ComLaw Legislation Tables
Contains: Tables of Select Legislative Instruments 2005+; Statutory Rules Table 1903-2012 (an alphabetical list of all Rules in force as at 2012); annual Statutory Rules Tables 1992+.

Letters Patent

A small number of regulations and ordinances is made under Letters Patent. They are published in the Commonwealth of Australia gazette and occasionally on ComLaw. For further information on this type of legislation see the Library's Research Note no. 11, 2003-04, 18 September 2003, A rare form of law making: legislation made outside Parliament by Roy Jordan.

Model Laws published by the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) - model laws of Defamation, Evidence, Legal Profession, Criminal Law and others.


State and Territory Legislation

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Legislation Register
Launched in September 2001, the Register aims to provide access to the full text of Bills, Acts as passed, consolidated Acts and Subordinate Legislation

ACT Legislation – from AustLII

New South Wales

NSW Bills and Explanatory Notes (New South Wales Parliament site)

NSW Legislation (Parliamentary Counsel's Office)
The most comprehensive site for NSW legislation. Has texts of all legislation in force as well as numbered acts since 1990 and recently repealed legislation. There is also a historical set of Explanatory Notes back to 1990 (under "Browse A-Z as made")

NSW Legislation – via AustLII

NSW Parliamentary Counsel's Office
Texts of some model national uniform legislation

NSW Statutes Annotations -  through LexisNexis AU and available by subscription to Parliament only

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Legislation
from the Legislative Assembly. Note that Acts and Bills are available under the link "Register of Legislation"

Northern Territory Legislation – from AustLII


Queensland Legislation
via Queensland Office of Parliamentary Counsel. Includes Bills and Explanatory Notes. The most comprehensive site for Queensland legislation

Queensland Legislation – via AustLII

Queensland Historical Legal Collection
Includes 1936 reprint of acts and table of acts 1824-1936, & other historical legislation

Queensland Legislation Case Annotations - through LexisNexis AU and available by subscription to Parliament only

South Australia

Bills 2005+ (Office of Parliamentary Counsel)

2002+ (AustLII)

Acts and Regulations

1837-2002 (Flinders University)

2003+ (Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The most comprehensive site for current South Australian legislation).

Subject Index to South Australian Legislation
compiled by the Australian Law Librarians' Association (South Australian Division).

South Australian Legislation 2003+ – via AustLII.


Bills (September 2002+). On AustLII.

Bills (2002+). On Tasmanian Parliament site.

Tasmanian Legislation – via Tasmanian Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The most comprehensive site for Tasmanian legislation.

Tasmanian Acts – via AustLII.

Tasmanian Legislation indexes, commencement dates etc
via Tasmanian Office of Parliamentary Counsel. Includes tables of acts from 1826.

Tasmanian Administrative Arrangements – A list of Acts and their administering departments.


Victorian Legislation – via Dept of the Premier and Cabinet.  This is the most comprehensive site for Victorian legislation. Includes Bills from 1996 and Explanatory Memoranda from Autumn 2001 (select "Archive" on the Parliamentary Documents page for old Bills and EMs).

Victorian Legislation – via AustLII

Indexes to Victorian legislation - from the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Department of Premier and Cabinet

Victorian Statutes Annotations - through LexisNexis AU and available by subscription to Parliament only

Western Australia

Western Australian Bills, 1997+. For Explanatory Memoranda, select the title of the Bill.

Western Australian legislation – from the State Law Publisher. The most comprehensive site for Western Australian legislation.

Western Australian legislation – from AustLII


Other Territories

Non self-governing territories legislation is available on ComLaw. Select Legislative Instruments Compilations>Ordinances (or Regulations) [Name of Territory]

Norfolk Island
Select "Legislation" for reprinted and numbered Acts and Regulations as well as legislation tables

Court and Tribunal decisions, law reports, awards, etc

Many current Commonwealth, State and Territory court and tribunal decisions are published on AustLII. Courts which publish their own decisions or summaries of cases pending are listed at the Law and Justice Foundation Judgments and Courts page. Note that decisions available from these sources are usually drafts and are subject to revision before being published, along with a summary and arguments of counsel, in commercially published law reports eg Commonwealth Law Reports

Australian Law Reports, Australian Capital Territory Reports, Northern Territory Reports
Full text of all volumes from volume 1 (1973)+. [Through LexisNexisAU and available by subscription to Parliament only]. Includes Casebase, an index of cases and annotations

Commonwealth Law Reports, Federal Court Reports, Federal Law Reports, Firstpoint (Australian Digest, Australian Case Citator)
Full text of all volumes from volume 1 (1903)+. [Through Thomson Reuters Legal Online and available by subscription to Parliament only]

Free site of court decisions, with citator facility. Intends to provide access to vols 1-100 of the Commonwealth Law reports

Unreported decisions from several jurisdictions
Full text of decisions from the 1960s (each jurisdiction varies). [Through LexisNexis AU and available by subscription to Parliament only]

Monash University National Centre for Coronial Information
Provides registered access to coroners' reports from various jurisdictions

Key National Bodies

Attorney-General's Department 

Links to Australian Government Law Sites

Australian Academy of Law
Promotes high standards of learning and conduct and collegiality across the legal profession

Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society

Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association

Australian Federal Police

Australian Government Solicitor

Australian Law Reform Commission

Australasian Legal Information Institute. Provides access to Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation, court decisions and other legal materials, including links to other Australian and overseas law sites

Butterworths Publishers (see LexisNexis)

CCH law and tax publishers

Australian Guide to Legal Citation 2nd ed.
A guide to citing legal materials written by the University of Melbourne School of Law

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)

Federal Court of Australia

Federal Magistrates Court

Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History

High Court of Australia

International Legal Services Advisory Council
A part-time advisory council to the government with the function of improving Australia's international performance in the legal and related areas

Law Book Co (see Thomson Reuters)

Law Council of Australia
The national organisation representing the legal profession. Includes texts of its media releases on current legal issues and its newsletter Australian lawyer. Provides links to State and Territory law societies

Law Journals (via AustLII)
Full text of mainly academic law reviews

The Law Report
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National. Transcripts and summaries of a weekly programme devoted to current legal issues

LexisNexis (Law publisher, formerly Butterworths)
Includes Halsburys laws of Australia, etc. the full text of which is available through the Parliamentary Library's LexisNexis.AU online service. Parliamentary staff should click on : "Log In to LexisNexis AU " under 'Useful Links' in order to access subscription services

Ministerial Council on the Administration of Justice

Rule of Law Association of Australia
An advocacy group supporting the rule of law when laws are being developed and reviewed

Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG)
The Ministerial Council of Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand attorneys-general. SCAG meets regularly to discuss legal matters of national interest and uniformity of laws

Thomson Reuters (Law publisher, formerly Law Book Co)

Weblaw: a co-operative web legal indexing project

Key State Bodies

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety

Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly

ACT Supreme Court, Magistrates Court and coronial inquiries
Note that the A.C.T. does not have a middle tier of courts

New South Wales

Law and Justice Foundation of NSW
Has extensive links to NSW legal information

NSW LawLink – (Attorney General's Department). Links to NSW law sites

New South Wales Parliament
Note that Hansard is available online for 1843-1880 & 1984+

New South Wales Supreme Court decisions 1999+
A very comprehensive and current source of decisions

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Northern Territory Supreme Court


Queensland Parliament

Queensland Supreme Court

A collaboration between SE Queensland law libraries to provide access to Queensland legal materials. Also contains texts of historic legal materials

South Australia

South Australian law sites

South Australian Parliament

The Law Handbook Online
Plain English overview of most areas of South Australian law


Tasmania Online – a directory of web sites from the Tasmanian government

Tasmanian Parliament


Legalonline – Victorian legal information on several topics aimed mainly at non-lawyers

Victorian Parliament

Supreme Court unreported judgments

The Law Handbook Online
Plain English overview of most areas of Victorian law

Western Australia

Western Australian Parliament

Supreme Court

Legal Research Tools

A Guide to online research resources for the Australian Federal Legal System with some reference to the State Level (P. Kinder)
An excellent essay providing a structured approach to legal research on the Internet

Halsburys laws of Australia (LexisNexis)
A major law encyclopedia and a good starting point for most legal research. A commercial publication and not available outside Parliament without a subscription

The Laws of Australia (Lawbook Online)
A major law encyclopedia and a good starting point for most legal research. A commercial publication and not available outside Parliament without a subscription

LexisNexis.AU online research publications
Includes Australian Current Law (monthly summaries of new cases and legislation); statutes annotations for the Commonwealth and some States; and legal dictionaries. A commercial publication and not available outside Parliament without a subscription

Legal Online
Research publications from Thomson Reuters (Australian Digest, Australian Legal Monthly Digest, Commonwealth Law Reports, Laws of Australia etc). A commercial publication and not available outside Parliament without a subscription

Legal research guides on the Internet (A WEBLAW research guide)

Maintained by lawyers, Foolkit allows searching of law sites with one interface

AussieLegal (outlines of over 120 different areas of the law - a good starting point for basic legal information. However not all States and Territories are covered)

Abbreviations of legal publications (Monash University Library)
Excellent guide to abbreviations of law reports and law journals

Books on legal research. These provide a more thorough overview of legal research tools. To verify the latest edition see the National Library catalogue.  For Parliamentary Library holdings see the Library catalogue.

Online research only: Law on the internet (C. Banks, H. Douglas); E-law research: your guide to electronic legal research (S. Dayal)

Online and print sources: Concise legal research (R. Watt); Effective legal research (I. Nemes, G.Coss.); Laying down the law (C. Cook et al); Legal research: materials and methods (Campbell, E.); Legal technique (C. Enright); Researching and writing in law (T. Hutchinson)

Law Blogs

These are websites, usually of individual lawyers, providing opinions on current legal issues. They are usually very current, being updated on a very regular basis. Individual blogs sometimes provide links to other blogs.

Deakin University list of law blogs

Blog or you won't be read (James McConvill). The Age, 3 April 2006

Links to Other Australian Sites (Pathfinders, Directories etc)


via Federal Court

Fee Fie Foe Firm Australia
Search facility for law firm sites. Very useful for finding recent analysis of legal issues

via FindLaw Australia

via Foolkit
Maintained by lawyers, Foolkit aims to link to various sites in all jurisdictions which maybe of value to lawyers and the public

via Monash University

GovPubs: the Australian Government Publications Guide (National Library of Australia)
Guide to legal and related materials on the Internet and in printed copies as held in the National Library and State and Territory libraries