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Law

Extrinsic materials are documents which do not form part of an Act but can be used in court to assist in the interpretation of that Act. The Interpretation Act in each jurisdiction specifically defines what can be considered as extrinsic material in that jurisdiction.  See: Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) s. 15AB, or Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW) s. 34, or Interpretation Act 1984 (WA) s.19.


Items usually included in this definition are:
 

Bills:

Amendments made to Bills before they are passed may shed light upon the interpretation of the Act.
 

Explanatory memoranda (EMs):

EMs are written in plain English with the purpose assisting parliamentarians understand the bill they are about to debate. They include statements of intent about how the bill will operate when enacted and are a crucial tool in the exercise of statutory interpretation.
 

Parliamentary Committee Reports:

Advisory reports or reports from review committees also are essential in statutory interpretation and may be used in the court under the provisions of the extrinsic materials section within the Interpretation Act.
 

Second Reading Speeches:

When a bill is presented to parliament the responsible Minister is expected to review the policy upon which the legislation, the issues and problems it is addressing and states how it will achieve those objectives. This is the second reading speech.  This speech is essential for understanding the intention, purpose or object of the legislation. Second reading speeches can be found in Hansard.
 

Law Reform Reports:

Law Reform Commissions are statutory bodies charged with reviewing and making recommendations for reforming the law within their jurisdiction. Reference to relevant reports which may include the source of the bill are useful in interpreting the application of the legislation.

Commonwealth

Western Australia

New South Wales

LawLex Gateway (multi-jurisdictional)

LawLex is a gateway to legislation (from the authorised or best source) and to related bills, explanatory memoranda (EM) and Hansard when available.

Commonwealth

New South Wales

Western Australia

Australasia

Other jurisdictions

A gazette is an official publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of the government. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) publish official gazettes.


Commonwealth

Western Australia

New South Wales