Commonwealth Government publications

Guide to the range of publications, both online and in print, from the Commonwealth Parliament and Government

About gazettes

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This guide lists the Commonwealth of Australia gazette and its various derivatives (described below). It also includes the Australian Federal Police gazette.

The National Archives of Australia have produced an excellent guide to using the gazettes. It answers the following questions:

    • why use the Commonwealth gazette?
    • what is the Commonwealth gazette?
    • using the Commonwealth gazette
    • changes to the Commonwealth gazette


Gazette types and titles

For most of its life, this core publication has had the title Commonwealth of Australia gazette. Between July 1973 and June 1977 it had the title Australian government gazette.

Up to 1973 the gazette was published as a single volume that included the general or weekly gazettes, the periodic gazettes and the special gazettes. From 1974 it was divided into three series, bound separately.

The Weekly gazette was the work horse including public service vacancies and appointments, government notices, notices on legislation, business notices (such as bankruptcies) and government purchasing and disposals.

The Periodic gazettes appeared irregularly, each being devoted to a single subject which required the publication of a large amount of information. These could include lists of unused bank accounts, chemicals approved for use in agriculture, and untraced shareholders in public companies which had been delisted.

The Special gazettes were published as required on an ad hoc basis for government business which was urgent and could not wait for the regular weekly gazette. This often included the gazetting of new regulations or changes to tariff measures.

In 1973 the weekly gazette was split into two separate publications – Public service and General. The first of these carried public service vacancies and appointments and the second, basically, everything else which formerly had appeared in the weekly gazette.

In the late 1980s, two new gazettes were spun off from the public service gazette covering positions in the Australian Postal Commission (Australia Post) and the Australian Telecommunications Commission (now Telstra).

The government purchasing and disposals section of the general gazette was spun off into a separate gazette in 1985 and, in 1987, the general gazette split into two publications – Business and Government notices. In 1992 the business gazette was split into two – Business and Australian Securities Commission.

Numerous titles have also been spun off the original periodic gazettes. These have included separate gazettes on such topics as agricultural and veterinary chemicals, industrial chemicals and food standards.

Some spin-offs from the Periodic gazettes became publications which were no longer gazettes and had their own individual titles.

These were often the publications relating to unclaimed money e.g., the annual periodic gazette which listed unused bank accounts became the publication Do we have any of your money? (1990 to 1999).

Those on life insurance became Life insurance unclaimed money (1995 to 1999) prepared by the Insurance and Superannuation Commission. See the box at right for more information on how to find unclaimed money.

Other gazette series which have appeared over the years include Freedom of information (which ran from 1983 to 1986) and Tariff concessions (1983 to 2004).

In recent years all varieties of the gazette have been made available online and many are now only published online.

A complete list of currently published gazettes with an explanation of each can be found online.


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Unclaimed money

Unclaimed money is the responsibility of the Commonwealth government and comes from three main sources:

  • unused bank, building society and credit union accounts
  • unclaimed life insurance policies
  • payments for shares in companies that have been compulsorily acquired or otherwise ceased to exist.

The three sources of unclaimed money are all the responsibility of the Australian Securities and investments Commission (ASIC). ASIC’s consumer website moneysmart has a simple search facility which can be used to search for all such unclaimed money by name.

Lost contributions to superannuation schemes can be searched through the Australian Taxation Office searching for lost super database.

See the above sites for more information on unclaimed moneys.