Government Legislation & Publications: New South Wales

Finding Second Reading Speeches

About second reading speeches

When a bill is introduced to Parliament it needs to go through several stages befor becoming law. One of the stages is the second reading.

In the second reading, the member who introduced the bill will 'outline the principles of the bill' followed by a debate of the bill. The bill will then be put to vote; if the House votes in favour of the bill, it will proceed to the next stage or otherwise the bill will be defeated.

You can find the second reading in the Hansard. For further information about this process see Legislative process explained.

Finding second reading speeches Online 1997 to present

  1. Find the bill (1997+) in the bills list. Click on the name of the bill you need. If available, click on the second reading speeches. If it's not available, check the date of the second reading speech, listed under Progress.  
  2. Once you have the date, search Hansard by date

Finding second reading speeches Online 1879 to 1996

  1. You will need to know the name of the Bill or amending Bill and the year passed.
  2. Search the online Hansard Printed Index for the appropriate year in the Comprehensive index to all parliamentary documents available online to find the page numbers.
  3. Work through the Hansard by Date to find the corresponding page numbers.

Finding Second reading speeches in Print 1879 to present

  1. You will need the name of Bill or amending Bill and the year passed.
  2. Locate the required year volume of Parliamentary Debates NSW in our collection. [Please note: All bills 1997+ are online at the NSW Parliament website].
  3. Go to the 'Index to speeches' of the Parliamentary Debates in the required year/volume. The Bills for that year are listed in alphabetical order.
  4. Find your Bill and take down the corresponding page number. First Reading speeches are denoted by 1R and Second Reading speeches by 2R.
  5. Use the page numbers to find the required volume that contains the Second Reading speech in the Parliamentary Debates. [Please note: There are multiple volumes of Parliamentary Debates each year. The page number allows you to locate the corresponding volume.]

Why are second reading speeches important?

Explanatory notes and second reading speeches are often referred to by legal practitioners when they need further clarification of a piece of legislation.

Debates prior to 1879

Prior to 1879 debates were published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Extracts from the Sydney Morning Herald debates are available via the Hansard and House Papers by Date page or you can search for them on Trove.

Legislative process explained