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Search tips

Contents

Starting your search—search options


Search box

The ACT legislation register can be searched using a standard or advanced search. The standard search box appears in the top left hand corner of every page and searches the full text of all current legislation on the register.

For more control of your search results, the advanced search can be accessed from the Advanced link next to the standard search box.

 

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Advanced search—constructing your search

Scope of search

The advanced search allows the scope of your search to be refined by three different groups: legislation version, legislation category and search in the full-text or title only.  You may also further refine your search term with Boolean operators.

Note The Territory Plan is not searchable through the standard or advanced search.  To search the Territory Plan you must search each document separately.

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Legislation version

You can limit your search to the following version types or groups of legislation:

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Current

A current search searches for your search term in:

  • Legislation that is in force
  • This means the whole piece of legislation is in force in the Territory at the time of your search; and
  • Legislation that has partly commenced
  • Legislation that has partly commenced has some but not all of its provisions in force.  For more information about when uncommenced provisions will be in force check the legislation item page on the register; and
  • Legislation that has been notified but has not commenced.
Note In the ACT, amending legislation is automatically repealed by the Legislation Act 2001 s 89 (1) the day after all the amendments made by the amending legislation have commenced. For Acts and subordinate laws these amendments are incorporated into the principal law to form a new republication of that law. Therefore, a "current" search may not find amending legislation that has fully commenced. To find the effect of a recent amendment you can search for the current republication of the principal law with those amendments incorporated or search for the amending legislation in the "repealed", "as notified" or "all" categories. There will also be a link to the relevant amending legislation next to the republication version in the "Notes" column.

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Repealed

A repealed search searches for your term in legislation that is no longer in force.  This includes:

  • principal legislation that has been explicitly repealed;
  • amending legislation that has been automatically repealed the day after all the amendments have commenced by the Legislation Act 2001 s 89 (1); and
  • legislation that has expired, lapsed or is spent.

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Point-in-time

A point-in-time search searches for your term in legislation that was current on a particular day.  When you select a point-in-time search a "date" field will appear on the search form.  Insert the day that you would like to find results for legislation that was current on that day.  The date field accepts dates in the following formats:

  • 1 January 2010
  • 1/1/10
  • 1/1/2010
  • 1-1-10
  • 1-1-2010
  • 1.1.10
  • 1.1.2010
  • 1 1 10
  • 1 1 2010

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As notified

An as notified search searches for your term in legislation that was notified in a particular year or range of years.  When you select an as notified search a "From" and "To" date field appears for you to insert a year range for your search.   For example:

Search example 1

Searches for your term in legislation notified from 2000 until 2005 inclusive

Search example 2

Searches for your term in legislation notified in or after 2000

Search example 3

Searches for your term in legislation notified before the end of 2005

Search example 4

Searches for your term in legislation notified in 2003

Search example 5

Searches for you term for all notified legislation

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All

An all search searches for your term in all versions of legislation.  An all search is useful when you don't have enough information to refine your search further.  However, as the legislation register is a large database, it will be slower to retrieve your results than a narrower search.

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Legislation version

You can limit your search to different categories of legislation.  By default, "Acts and ordinances" is selected but you can select or deselect all categories.  You may select multiple categories at the same time.

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Search in

You can choose to search for your term in either:

  • the full-text of legislation—this includes the title and full content of the legislation; or
  • the title of the legislation.

For a point-in-time search only a full-text search is possible so the "Search in" option is not available.

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Search by Minister

You can choose to search the register based on the Minister that presented the legislation, this option will only be available when the "current" legislation version option is selected.

search by Minister

Legislation version

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Search by Directorate

Searches can also be conducted by specifying the administering directorate. This search option also requires the "current" legislation version option to be selected. This search option can assist in limiting the number of search results.

Search by Directorate

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Refining your search term

Enter your search term in the large text box at the bottom of the advanced search page.

Search term

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Search for a word or phrase

All terms are considered for a word or phrase search.   For example, commonly used words such as "an", "from", "in" and "this" will be searched and get results.

Note For phrases there is no need to add quotation marks around the phrase. The search engine will do this automatically after you press "search".

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Boolean searches

To build a Boolean search, use the buttons to the right of the text box.  You cannot type Boolean operators into the search term box directly as the Boolean operators will be considered part of a phrase.

Boolean operator

Results

AND also contains

The documents retrieved must have both the words or phrases in your search term

OR contains

The documents retrieved must have at least one of the words or phrases in your search term

But does NOT contain

The documents retrieved must contain the first term but not the second term

NEAR

The documents retrieved must have each of the search terms within 100 words of each other

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Punctuation

Only the dollar sign ($) and percentage symbol (%) are indexed and searchable on the register.  All other punctuation and symbols will be ignored.  For example, a search of "post-graduate" will also find "post graduate" as the hyphen (-) is ignored in the search term.

Note When searching for dollar figures you must put in the dollar sign.  A search for "1 000" will NOT find any instances of "$1 000".

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Numbers

Numbers are indexed and searchable on the register.

Note In the ACT, it is our drafting and publishing practice to put a space in between every 3 digits.  For example, if you would like to search for "1 000 penalty units",  you need to put a space in between the 1 and 0.

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Special symbols

The following special symbols can be used in search phrases to help refine or expand a query.

Symbol

Function

asterix (*)

This is a wildcard symbol.  The asterix (*) can be used at the beginning, middle or end of words to search for any number of significant characters.

For example:

a search of "notif*" will find documents including the terms "notifies", "notifed", "notify" and "notification"

a search of "d*ing" will find documents including the terms "dying", "dividing" etc

question mark (?)

This is a single-character wildcard symbol.

For example:

a search of "h?t" will find documents including "hat" and "hut" etc but not "heat"

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Searching within a title—legislation item search

It is also possible to search for a term across some or all versions of a legislation title.  Each republished legislation title has a "search this title" button on the item homepage.

Legislation item search example

Click on this button to take you to a search for the legislation title.  Enter your search term in the large text box and then select the versions you would like to search across.

Legislation item search example 2

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Search results

A summary of your search and the options selected is displayed at the top of your search results.

Search reulsts example

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Relevance

The results table lists the matches from your search in order of relevance.  Relevance is worked out by the search engine using a combination of hit density, hit clustering, cluster proximity and other factors compared to the other documents in your search results.  Relevance ranges from zero to 100, with 100 as the most relevant.

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Home page link

Clicking on the home page link will take you to the register item page for the matched result.

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Document link

You may access the document in either pdf or rtf format.  Once you have opened the document you will need to search for your term in the document again using the "find" function.

Note In Microsoft Word and Acrobat Reader, Ctrl F will quickly bring up the find function.

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Hit highlighting

Some versions of Acrobat Reader support hit highlighting so your search term is easy to find in the document. To turn PDF hit highlighting on in Acrobat Reader 9, go to Edit>Preferences>Search, and select "Enable search highlights from external highlight server"

Unfortunately, this option is not available in the latest version of Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Reader X.

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Sorting your search results

Search results example 3

The results in the table can be sorted by the different categories by clicking on the column headers.   For example, to change the table sort from relevance to an alphabetical sort of the home page link, click on the column header.  Clicking on the effective column header will sort the results in date order.

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