UTS Library

57192 - Defamation, Drones and Ethics: Media Accountability: Finding legislation

In this guide:

Finding legislation

Free resources:


Great for most legislations acorss all states. It does not feature everything though, like second reading speeches (we'll get to that in a second)

  • If you are just looking for legislation, it's best to select the "Advanced search" option and then select the "All legislation database". If you know the state where the relevant legislation is from, you can refine to just that states legisaltion lower down in the table.
  • The search a keyword (e.g. defamation, copyright, intellectual property) and you will get a list of legislation. 
  • If you then select a legisaltion, you will be able to read the whole thing. You can also get the various Bills that went through parliament relating to the act. 
Second Read Speeches
As stated before, although it gives you the whole legislation, it does not give the second reading speech (speeches where the relevant minister gives an explanation for the legislation). These can be useful in understanding the reasons behind new or changes to existing legislation. For those you can use LawOne  (a paid database which you can use while enrolled at UTS) or you can get them freely through the Hansard (transcripts of parliamentary proceedings). The tricky part is that each state has a different Hansard. To add to the difficulty, you'll have to hunt for the speech.
For NSW:
  • For NSW it is somewhat easy. Go to the Advanced Search page of the NSW Hansard. 
  • Put in the name of the Bill (e.g. Defamation--do not put Act as it is stll a bill at this stage), and then in the "Select date range" box add then select the relevant parliament (i.e. the one that passed it. For the Defamation Act 2005 it would be the Fifty-Third Parliament, First Session (53-1) (29 April 2003 - 19 May 2006)). The click search. 
  • On the right hand side of the search results, will be a Sub-proceeding category, and under that will be the Second Reading option. 

New South Wales Legislation (NSW Legislation only)

  • There's a lot here. Click on Search "In Force and Repealed" (can also browse, but this is better if you know the name of the legislation)
  • In Force Acts and Regs, etc. will be ticked. It is best to only select these and the results will be huge and largely not relevant if you search repealed (useful for historical context, but not general use). EPIs (Environmental planning instruments) are not selected, and generally don't need to be (unless, of course, that's what you're after).
  • Use the search options you would in a database like Factiva or Google Advanced search
  • Test legislation: Defamation Act 2005 (NSW)

Federal Register of Legislation (Federal Legislation)

  • There's a lot here, but what you'll be most interested in are the "Acts-In Force" and the "Legislative Instruments" (another word for Regulations–which is what they are called with NSW legislation)
  • Test legislation: Privacy Act 1998 (Cth).

Want more information?

For more information searching for legislation, the Law Librarians have put together and entire study guide that goes into much more detail including using other Library Subscription databases like LawOne and Lexis Advance Pacific. 
They also have one that covers things like the Hansard and finding Second Reading Speeches