Legal Materials: For information about Australian legal materials, see Researching Australian Law by Nicholas Pengelley and Sue Milne, A Guide to Online Research Resources for the Australian Federal Legal System with some Reference to the State Level by Petal Kinder and/or the Legal Research Guide: Australia by the Library of Congress.
For a summary of Australian law, Halsbury's Laws of Australia (LexisNexis/Butterworths) is a 35+ volume legal encyclopedia.
The Australian Legal Information Institute posts all Australian "Acts, Regulations, and Cases" on its Internet site. Bills, Legislative Instruments and other legislative materials are available through the Australian Parliament's Bills & Legislation page. Hansard (debate transcripts) and other legislative Documents are available through the Parliament home page, and Committee Reports are available through the Committees page.
The Commonwealth Court Portal provides information about "cases initiated in the Federal Court of Australia and in the federal law jurisdiction of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia."
Lexis has databases for Australian case law, law journals (AUST;AUJNLS) and news. Westlaw has databases for Australian Acts and Regulations back to 1901 (CTH-ACTS and CTH-REGS, or combined in CTH-LEG), as well as several caselaw databases (the broadest being AU-ALLCASES) and a few treatises.
Subscription Services: The Foreign Law Guide by Reynolds and Flores discusses the country's primary legal materials and lists the treatises available in major legal subject areas. RIA's World Wide Tax Law Service on Checkpoint has corporate, commercial, tax and other business-related laws. The Digital Session Laws Collection on HeinOnline has Australian session laws back to 1901.
Finding People: Try the Australian White Pages online www.whitepages.com.au/wp/busSearch.jhtml.
Company Information: You can retrieve the information corporations file to get their Australian Business Numbers through the government's ABN Lookup. For public companies, you can retrieve information on the Web sites of the Australian Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Partnerships and other unincorporated entities are generally required to register their business name with each state where they do business; I believe you can look up records of business name registrations using ASIC's National Names Index.
For a fee, you can look up Australian companies in the D&B Worldbase / Duns International Market Identifier database on Lexis (D&B;DMIP), Westlaw (DIMI) or Dialog (File 518). You can buy credit reports from CreditRiskMonitor.
Profiles of selected Australian companies are available in the Australian Companies database on Lexis (AUST;AUSCO), the FBR-ASIACO database on Westlaw, the Kompas Asia/Pacific database on Dialog (File 592), Hoover's Online, SkyMinder and the Mergent Manual for International companies. Extensive financial information is available on the largest Australian companies in the Extel Financial Cards database on Dialog (File 500) and Westlaw (EIFC). Also, credit and company information is available in D&B Business Information reports, although foreign reports are expensive.
You get a list of documents filed by a company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) when you look up the company on the ASIC Web site. The ASIC site then refers you to designated "information brokers" who will sell you copies of the filings. I heard a good report about Australian Business Research Pyt Ltd.; they will scan & email filings. Note: Call from the U.S. in the later evening to reach the Broker in the morning.
You might also want to get analyst reports on a public companies (see "Analyst Reports").
News: Australian Financial Review is the Australian equivalent to the Wall Street Journal. The Australian and The Age are good general circulation newspapers.