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Search help

The search page enables you to search the various collections of legislation. There are three types of search provided—basic, advanced and menu-assisted. The first step is to select the collections you would like to search using the check boxes provided.

The following options can be used with all search types to refine your search query—

Search in

Select one of these drop-down options to restrict your search to a particular part of a document—

  • All content—searches with the full text of the document
  • Title—searches only within the title of the document
  • All headings—searches only within all headings in the document (does not search within the title)
  • Part/Division headings—searches only within the part or division headings in the document
  • Schedule headings—searches only within the schedule headings of the document
  • Defined terms—searches only within the text of the defined terms (does not search within the full text of the related definitions)
  • Historical title—searches for titles that have had a short title change.
Search using

Select a drop-down option to limit your search as follows—

  • 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.
  • The exact phrase—will find only those documents that contain the words entered as a phrase.
  • 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".

Advanced search

The advanced search page can be used to combine multiple queries using the boolean operators AND, OR, NOT. Combine as many queries as required by using the rows provided to enter the search terms. If more rows are required, these can be added using the add new row button. Clicking on the clear button will reset the form to the default values and default three rows.


Menu-assisted search

If you want more control over your searching, you can use the Menu-Assisted Search page provided. This requires the query to be entered using the Common Command Language (CCL)—an international standard for text queries. 

The menu-assisted search interface provides guidance to assist with constructing a valid CCL query. To construct a query using the interface follow these steps—

  1. Select one or more collections using the check boxes provided.
  2. Select an option from the search in dropdown list to limit your search to a specific section of the document.
  3. Enter the query term in the field provided.
  4. To combine multiple queries, select an operator by clicking on an item from the list.
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 5 as required to construct your query.
  6. If you need to limit your search by year or number, enter these in the fields provided at the bottom (optional).

The query text will be displayed in the query builder output and can be edited manually if required. Once your query has been constructed, click on the search button to submit.

Once you become more familiar with CCL you can simply type the query into the query builder output field and click on search to submit. CCL provides some of the following features—

Boolean operators

AND, OR, NOT can be used between terms. For example: jury AND district NOT sheriff.

Fielded searches

Using the syntax "FIELD=word", the search can be restricted to individual fields. Useful fields in this database are those listed under the search using section earlier on this page. An example of a fielded search is Heading=certified AND Content=appeal.

Wildcard characters

? means any number of characters and # means exactly one character. 

For example, fee? would match "fee","feedlots","fees" and wom#n would match "woman" or "women".

Proximity queries

If you want to search for two words near each other then the "%" character can be used to indicate the number of words you will allow between the two terms, whatever the order of the words.

If you want to search for words near each other, in a particular order, then the "!" character can be used to indicate the number of words you will allow between the two terms. For example, to find terms within 3 words of each other, whatever the order of the words, use the syntax: right %3 appeal.

And to find terms within 3 words of each other, in a particular order, use this syntax: right !3 appeal where "right" occurs before "appeal".

Grouping searches

Parentheses can be used to group search terms. For example, to find expressions such as the Corporations Act, Companies Act, Corporations Regulation or Companies Regulation use the following syntax: (corporations OR companies) %3 (regulation OR act).

Similarly, you can combine proximity and grouping searches by using this syntax. For example, building %3 (code OR regulation) OR building !3 (code OR regulation) would find "code" or "regulation" where occurring after "building".


Last updated 13 March 2018 at 20:17