This section covers:

Did you know? The most common types of legislation are Acts, Bills and delegated legislation, including Ordinances and Regulations.

Acts are the form of legislation made by the Australian Parliament.

Bills are preliminary drafts of Acts that must pass through both houses of the parliament and receive royal assent before they can become law.

Delegated legislation (also referred to as subordinate legislation or legislative instruments) is law made by the executive government – by ministers and other executive office holders – without parliamentary enactment. Such laws include Ordinances, Regulations, rules, bylaws, determinations, directives and guidelines.

Use an initial capital for the words Act, Ordinance, Bill (and their plurals) and Regulation/Regulations, both when referring to a specific piece of legislation and when used generically:

The Act requires importers to …     The three new Bills were all passed     The Regulations enforce [specific uses]

The reason Acts are important is ….     The title of a Bill does not take italics …. [generic uses]

Caution! Cite the titles of pieces of legislation exactly. Do not change the spelling or capitalisation to suit the reference style used in the document they are cited in. However, it is acceptable to change dashes (eg from a hyphen to an en dash).

The Federal Register of Legislation is the authoritative source for the correct names of all Australian legislation.


Use italics with maximal capitalisation for the full title of an Act, including the year:

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994

Family Law Amendment (Family Violence & Other Measures) Act 2018

Australian Sports Drug Agency Act 1990

After the first mention of the full title in the text, a shortened form can be used. Use maximal capitalisation but not italics for this shortened form:

Agvet Code     Family Violence Act     Sports Drug Act

The unit of legislation within an Act is called a section. Refer to sections of Acts as follows:

Section 25 of the Australian Sports Drug Agency Act 1990 (Cwlth) [at the beginning of a sentence]

Australian Sports Drug Agency Act 1990 (Cwlth), s 25 [singular]

Australian Sports Drug Agency Act 1990 (Cwlth), ss 25–30 [plural]

It is unusual to spell out section within a sentence but, if doing so, use a lower-case s.

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Use initial capitals but not italics for titles of Bills:

Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill
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Delegated legislation


The full title of an Ordinance, including the year, is given in italics with maximal capitals:

Fire-Ant Control Ordinance 2004

The unit of legislation within an Ordinance is called a section, which takes a lower-case s when spelled out in a sentence.


Use initial capitals but not italics for titles of Regulations:

Gene Technology Regulations 2001

The unit within Regulations is called a regulation. The same style rules apply as for sections of Acts:

Regulation 26 … [at the start of a sentence]

r 26 [singular]    

rr 26–33 [plural]

It is unusual to spell out regulation within a sentence but, if doing so, use a lower-case r.

Other forms of delegated legislation

Other forms of delegated legislation, including rules, bylaws, determinations, navigation and aviation orders, plans of management (eg for fisheries), declarations (eg health legislation declarations), directives (eg airworthiness directives) and guidelines (eg aged care and childcare guidelines) all take maximal capitals but not italics:

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code 

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Standard 2.5.6 – Ice Cream 

Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery Management Plan 2006

Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery Fishing Year Determination 2013

Marine Order 25, issue 7

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