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Legislation: Legislative history

Key points

Statutes annotations and indexes are tools which enable us to trace the legislative history of an Act, but more specifically how to:

  • ascertain how an Act has been amended since its enactment
  • determine if the Act has been repealed
  • find the Bill, explanatory memorandum and second reading speech
  • find other legislative instruments (eg. gazettals, assent and commencement dates)

Commonwealth legislative history

Federal Statutes Annotations is a listing of current Commonwealth legislation with details on legislative history of the Act, amending legislation, and case annotations. It is available in print (Stack 44 Lower Ground Floor).

Commonwealth Statutory Annotations is another multi-volume work which lists current Commonwealth legislation with details on the legislative history of the Act, amending legislation, and case annotations. It is available in print (Stack 44 Lower Ground Floor).

South Australian legislative history

This is one of the first resources you refer to when researching SA legislation. Here you will find:

  • Act title, sessional Act number, date of operation and gazettal reference
  • amending legislation
  • regulations and gazettal notices

For example: if we look at the entry for the Civil Liability Act 1936 (formerly the Wrongs Act 1936). Under "Principal Act and amendments" the first Act listed is the original sessional Act.

 

Gazettes, both federal and State, provide the authority for executive decisions and notices. Therefore, references to the Gazette can be important, and it is useful to be aware of the role of gazettal notices. For example, the SA Statutes Index tells us that the responsible minister overseeing the Civil Liability Act 1936 is the Attorney-General. We can check the authority for this in the SA Government Gazette of 14.12.1993 at page 2965.