The Federal Register of Legislation (the Legislation Register) is the authorised whole-of-government website for Commonwealth legislation and related documents. It contains the full text and details of the lifecycle of individual laws and the relationships between them.
The Legislation Register is managed by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in accordance with the Legislation Act 2003.
The Federal Register of Legislation in its initial form consists of the following:
(a) the contents of the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments established under this Act, when this Act was known as the Legislative Instruments Act 2003;
(b) the contents of the Acts database under the Acts Publication Act 1905 (which was repealed when this section commenced);
(c) other legislative material published on the whole‑of‑government legislation website known as ComLaw.
The Register must contain the following:
(a) Acts as made that are registered under this Part;
(b) legislative instruments and notifiable instruments as made that are registered under this Part;
(c) compilations, registered under this Part, of Acts, legislative instruments and notifiable instruments;
(d) explanatory statements, registered under this Part, for legislative instruments;
(e) other documents registered under this Part.
(3) The Register may contain additional documents if the First Parliamentary Counsel considers that the documents are likely to be useful to users of the Register, including the following (without limitation):
(a) Acts as made (other than Acts registered under this Part);
(b) instruments as made (other than legislative instruments or notifiable instruments registered under this Part);
(c) Gazette notices;
(d) compilations of Acts or instruments (other than compilations registered under this Part);
(e) documents that may be considered under section 15AB of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (and that section as applied by section 13 of this Act) in working out the meaning of an Act, legislative instrument or notifiable instrument, for example, an explanatory memorandum for an Act.
Registration of Acts
The First Parliamentary Counsel must register an Act as soon as practicable after the Act is assented to.
A legislative instrument is not enforceable by or against any person (including the Commonwealth) unless the instrument is registered as a legislative instrument.
Authorised electronic versions
(1) An electronic copy of a registered law or explanatory statement is an authorised version of the registered law or explanatory statement if:
(a) the electronic copy is accessed at, or downloaded from, an approved website in a format prescribed by the rules; and
(i) the website indicates, in a way prescribed by the rules, that such a copy is an authorised version; or
(ii) the electronic copy indicates, in a way prescribed by the rules, that it is an authorised version.
Example: For paragraph (a), a locked pdf file may be a format prescribed by the rules.
In proceedings in a court or tribunal, proof is not required if a copy of a registered law or explanatory statement is an authorised version of the registered law or explanatory statement.
Legislation Act 2003
The object of this Act is to provide a comprehensive regime for the management of Acts and instruments by:
(a) establishing the Federal Register of Legislation as a permanent repository of versions (including authorised versions) of Acts, legislative instruments, notifiable instruments and compilations, together with associated documents and information; and
(aa) enabling the First Parliamentary Counsel to make editorial changes and some other changes in preparing compilations of Acts, legislative instruments and notifiable instruments, if those changes do not change the effect of the Acts or instruments; and
(b) encouraging rule‑makers to undertake appropriate consultation before making legislative instruments; and
(c) encouraging high standards in the drafting of legislative instruments and notifiable instruments to promote their legal effectiveness, their clarity and their intelligibility to anticipated users; and
(d) improving public access to Acts and instruments; and
(e) establishing improved mechanisms for Parliamentary scrutiny of legislative instruments; and
(ea) automatically repealing spent legislative instruments and notifiable instruments (or provisions of those instruments) that merely provide for the amendment, repeal or commencement of Acts or other instruments; and
(f) establishing mechanisms to ensure that legislative instruments are periodically reviewed and, if they no longer have a continuing purpose, repealed; and
(g) enabling regulations to be made under this Act amending or repealing legislative instruments and notifiable instruments in some circumstances.