Sometimes you will need more than just the text of an Act: you need to understand what it was meant to achieve; or what issue it was meant to address.
One way of doing this is to read the explanatory materials that usually accompany a Bill when it is introduced into parliament. All jurisdictions except South Australia use explanatory materials.
Explanatory materials are also known as:
They outline exactly what each clause of the Bill is meant to achieve, and what its effect would be if enacted.
Explanatory materials can be found with the relevant Bills in the official legislation websites, which are listed on our Searching Australian legislation page.
You'll also find them in the LawOne database when you look up an Act and select the Key Info button.
Another useful source is the Second Reading Speech, and any Parliamentary Debates relating to the Bill.
The second reading speech is given by the Member of Parliament who introduces the Bill, and it outlines why the proposed law is important and necessary: what positive things will result, or what negative things will be prevented. Most Bills are introduced by the government, so second reading speeches normally give the government’s viewpoint.
The ensuing debates give the viewpoint of the opposition and cross-bench members. Amendments to a Bill can be proposed and are sometimes accepted. All this discussion is helpful for understanding what a piece of legislation is supposed to do, and what potential flaws it might have.
Second reading speeches (as well as explanatory materials) can be found in:
In LawOne, the Key Info button provides a comprehensive legislative picture, showing the entire legislative path from Bill to the latest version of the Act, along with explanatory materials, second reading speeches, and cases where the provisions of the Act have been considered.
Lexis Advance Pacific provides an individual login, allowing you to easily save content for later and organise your research.
It also offers strong links to Case Law and Secondary materials using the Legislation Citator, allowing you to see the whole picture with only a few clicks.
Also provides links to Second Reading Speeches.
AustLII is a freely available legal database. The NoteUp References feature provides links to related cases and journal articles.