The power to make laws is shared between the Commonwealth Parliament and each state parliament. In Victoria, laws come from several sources: the Australian Constitution, federal legislation, Victorian legislation and common law. Common law is developed by judges as they decide cases and refer to previous decisions for guidance on how the law is applied.
What is law?
Australian Constitution : outlines the purpose and history of Australia’s Constitution, which defines how laws are shared between the Federal Parliament and Victorian Parliament
Australian Legislation : contains details of all Australian legislation
Victorian Legislation : contains details of all Victorian acts and statutory rules
Victoria’s Constitution (Parliament of Victoria) : outlines the purpose and history of Victoria’s constitution and explains how it functions within our state parliament. A copy of the Constitution Act 1975 is available at legislation.vic.gov.au
Who makes the law?
About the Parliament of Australia : describes the elements that make up Australia’s Parliamentary system and the separation of powers between them
Parliamentary Education Office : explains how the Parliament of Australia functions
The Victorian Parliamentary System : describes the role of Victoria’s parliamentary system
Inside the Parliament of Victoria : downloadable booklet that describes all aspects of the Victorian Parliament
Elections (Parliamentary Education Office) : outlines the electoral process for the House of Representatives and the Senate
Elections and voting (Parliament of Victoria) : explains the Victorian election process, the voting system and the counting of votes
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) : the AEC is responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums and maintaining the Commonwealth electoral roll
How are laws made?
Bills and Laws (Parliamentary Education Office) : information about Parliament and how laws are made
How Laws are Made (Parliament of Victoria) : video describing how a bill becomes a law
People in Parliament : defines the specific roles of key people in the Parliament of Victoria
Victorian Legislation and Bills : contains links to current and past legislation and bills
What types of law are there?
Law can be criminal or civil. Criminal law regulates conduct in society to protect the community and sanction those who commit crimes. Civil law regulates the rights and responsibilities of individuals, groups and organisations in their interactions. If legal rights are abused, legal action can be taken through the court system, a tribunal or through alternative dispute resolution methods.
Civil Matters (Magistrates' Court) : provides information relating to the Civil Jurisdiction of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria, which hears and determines disputes arising from claims for damages, debt or other monetary demands and for equitable relief
How are laws reviewed and changed?
Criminal Law Policy and Operations: policy development at the department
Australian Law Reform Commission : federal agency that reviews Australia’s laws and provides recommendations to Parliament and the Government to implement changes
Victorian Law Reform Commission : independent, government-funded organisation that develops, monitors and coordinates law reform in Victoria
Sentencing Advisory Council : set up to bridge the gaps between the community, the courts and government by informing, educating and advising on sentencing issues
Engage Victoria : Victorian Government website that seeks feedback and contributions from the public on a wide range of policies and programs under consideration or review