Fact Sheet C2

Fact Sheet C2: Tracking Legislation on the Internet

 

Summary: The Victorian Parliament's website can help you find out what laws the Parliament is proposing and track the progress of bills (proposed laws). This means tracking what stage a bill is at within Parliament and what members say about a bill.

Navigating Parliament's website Summary of minutes - Assembly Abridged
Which bills will the Assembly debate? Find out when an Act commences
Viewing bills and amendments Finding original version of an Act online
Status report: track progresss of a bill Finding the latest version of an Act online
Bills status list for all bills at end of sitting day Documents from previous sitting periods
Minutes of sitting days Record of members' speeches


 

Navigating Parliament's website

Parliament's website address is www.parliament.vic.gov.au.

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The homepage includes links to both Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council information. You can see when Parliament will be sitting. The Quick Links section allows easy access to bills, committee reports and fact sheets. On sitting days, we regularly update information to reflect events in each Chamber.

To access Assembly content, click on the Legislative Assembly link at the top of the homepage. This gives you general information about the Assembly, as well as regular updates on debates and other events in the Chamber.

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Which bills will the Assembly debate?

Government business program

Each sitting week the government specifies a number of bills to be completed for the week. This is called the government business program. The time set to complete the bills is usually 4.00 pm Thursday. At the completion time, if any bills have not been voted on, members vote immediately whether to pass them.

The government business program for each sitting week is usually released on a Tuesday afternoon. This is on the Legislative Assembly webpage on sitting days.

Notice papers: the agenda

The business agendas for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council are called notice papers.

The order of business items is not necessarily the order in which members will debate them. The order often changes at short notice during the day. Click here to see notice papers.

Content of notice paper

For government bills and other matters ministers plan to debate, see headings 'Government Business' and 'Orders of the Day'.

For business other members wish to debate, see the heading 'General Business'.

For bills not to be considered immediately, see heading 'Business Listed for Future Days' near the back of the notice paper.

Extract of a notice paper

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

ORDERS OF THE DAY

 

1 EDUCATION AND TRAINING AMENDMENT BILL 2008Second reading.

2 ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AMENDMENT (LANDFILL LEVIES) BILL 2008 — Second reading — Resumption of debate (Ms Green).

3 LAND (REVOCATION OF RESERVATIONS) BILL 2008 — Second reading — Resumption of debate (Mr Langdon).


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Viewing bills and amendments

A bill becomes public when the minister in charge of it makes a second reading speech. Each bill has an explanatory memorandum that explains the clauses in the bill. Both the bill and the explantory memorandum are available from our website. Choose your bill from the alphabetical list, then click on the link to download either the bill or explanatory memorandum.

If amendments are made to the bill before it is sent to the second House, a separate amended print version is created (see image below).

 

Status report: track progress of a bill

If you are interested in tracking a particular bill, use the status report for that bill. Choose your bill from the alphabetical list, and scroll down to see its progress.

We now explain the information you can find about each stage of a bill.


 

Introduction and first reading

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The start of the report above, shows which House dealt with the bill first, and the date of its first reading. You can see the name of the minister responsible and a link to the statement of compatibility with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.


 

Second reading

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In this part of the status report, you can click to the minister's second reading speech. You can see when a bill was placed on the government business program, the completion time, when proposed amendments were made public, and links to the amendments.


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Consideration in detail

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At this stage, members debate a bill and proposed amendments clause by clause. Only a small percentage of bills is considered in detail, as the stage can be skipped if there are no amendments and all members agree. The report shows whether the bill was amended.

Third reading

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The third reading is the last stage of a bill in the Legislative Assembly. In this part of the status report, you will find when a bill has been passed by a special or absolute majority of members. Finally, a message goes to the Legislative Council, asking them to agree to the bill.

For a detailed explanation of the stages of a bill, see Fact Sheet C1: How a Bill becomes Law. To find out when absolute and special majorities are needed, see Fact Sheet D4: Altering Victoria's Constitution.

Bills status list: for all bills at end of sitting day

The bills status list shows you the names and status of all bills at the end of each sitting day. It includes all bills for the current year.

Extract from a Bills Status List

Bill

Status in Assembly

Status in Council

Assent Date

Act No

Accident Compensation Amendment Bill 2009

passed with amendments 4/2/10

passed 11/3/10

23/3/10

9/10

Child Employment Amendment Bill 2010

2nd reading moved 10/3/10

     

 

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Minutes of sitting days

In the Legislative Assembly, these are called Votes and Proceedings and, in the Legislative Council, Minutes of the Proceedings.

Find out more: Fact Sheet F3: Votes and Proceedings.

Summary of minutes - Assembly Abridged

Assembly Abridged is a summary of each sitting day in the Legislative Assembly, listing key decisions, documents, progress on bills and debate. Use them to quickly find a list of new bills or bills which passed on a particular day:

 

Find out when an Act commences

When the Governor gives royal assent to a bill, it becomes an Act. The date the Act commences depends on its provisions. Often, an Act will come into effect in stages.

Commencement information is provided by the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (the lawyers who draft legislation).

If you want to monitor proclamations by the Governor you can track these through the Victorian Government Gazette.

Finding original version of an Act online

After royal assent, the Act is available in the Victorian Statute Book. The Statute Book contains, by year, the original versions of Acts and regulations. Acts and statutory rules are listed by year.

 

Finding the latest version of an Act online

Acts are amended frequently. To ensure you are using the latest version, use Victorian Law Today. Acts and statutory rules are listed alphabetically. Choose ‘Acts' or ‘Statutory Rules' then click the relevant letter to find your legislation. Or, you may wish to use their online Search function. See below.

Victorian Law Today
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Documents from previous sitting periods

You can find bills and parliamentary documents from sitting periods back to 1996 using the parliamentary documents archive. Choose the date, then type of document until you find what you're looking for.

 

Record of members' speeches

Hansard is the official printed report of the debates in each House. It is not an exact word for word account of everything that was said, but it is a valuable record of members' speeches.

Hansard produces two versions of the debates:
• daily Hansard, a proof version, is available online about four hours after the Legislative Assembly adjourns
• weekly Hansard, made up of the revised dailies for the week, is available three working days after the end of the sitting week.

You can search the full text of Hansard records from 1991.

Hansard advanced search screen
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