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Search Help for Bills 

The Bills database is a collection of NSW Bills (including Explanatory notes) at all stages of the Parliamentary process (from 1990) and of Consultation drafts of Bills publicly released before introduction (from 1999).

These are static PDF documents and form a permanent archive. Bills in Parliament are organised by current Parliamentary term and then previous years, and Consultation drafts are grouped together.

Select the check box for the category you wish to search. The default search is to "Bills and Explanatory notes > Current Parliament (2015 )". Searches can be made over PDFs of Bills and Explanatory notes or Consultation drafts, or both.

There are two forms of searching, the most commonly used being the Standard search. The two forms of searching operate exclusively and separate search buttons are provided for that reason. (The Advanced search feature is for more specialised searching using Command Control Language. Boolean operators should not be used in the Standard search.)

The Standard search has a range of pre-defined search fields that are listed below and it also enables you to search over the text or title of legislation.

Note. The search will find the documents within which your search query is located, but the search terms/s will not be highlighted in the documents. Users will need to search within the document (for example, by using ctrl+f) to locate the search term/s in the PDF.

These fields enable you to limit your search as follows:

exact phrase

will find only those documents that contain those words as a phrase.

all of the words

will find those documents that contain all of the words that you enter in this field.

any of the words

will find those documents that contain any one of the words that you enter in this field.

without the words

will find those documents that do NOT contain the words that you enter in this field. This field is often used in combination with the other fields, for example to find documents that contain the word "offence" but not the word "imprisonment".

You can enter words into all or some of the fields shown—the search will take them all into account.

The search fields are not case sensitive and do not require quotation marks around words or phrases.

The wildcard characters "?" (any number of characters) and "#" (exactly one character) can be used in all fields except exact phrase - see Advanced search.


Search in

The "text" and "title" selections cause the search to be applied to either the text of documents or to legislation titles.

Note. A "title" search covers the official citations of legislation, not the titles of Chapters, Parts, Schedules etc.

If you want more control over your searching, you can use the Advanced Search field provided. It requires queries to be entered using the Common Command Language (CCL)—an international standard for text queries.

Please note that the Search scope that you have selected with the checkboxes under the "What do you want to search over" field DOES apply to the Advanced Search.

Note also that if you type a query into the Advanced Search field, then no other field will be taken into account, except the search scope, ie the types of legislation you chose to search under the "What do you want to search over" field.

CCL provides features such as:

  • Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT can be used between terms.

    Example jury AND district NOT sheriff

  • Wildcard characters: ? means any number of characters, # means exactly one character.

    Example: fee? would match "fee","feedlots","fees"

    Example: wom#n would match woman or women

  • Phrase queries: If you want to search for a phrase, just enter the terms next to each other:

    Example phrase query: right of appeal

Note. The search will find the documents within which your search query is located, but the search terms/s will not be highlighted in the documents. Users will need to search within the document (for example, by using ctrl+f) to locate the search term/s in the PDF.

To modify or refine your search, go back to the search screen or select search again. Your search criteria will show and can be modified and the search run again. To start a new search, click the clear button at top right on the search screen.