Commonwealth government publications

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

About parliamentary papers

Parliamentary papers include Royal Commissions reports (see separate tab above), committee reports, annual reports of departments and agencies, budget papers and White Papers (statements of government policy on significant matters).

A useful fact sheet on parliamentary papers is available on the National Archives of Australia website:
Fact sheet 21 – parliamentary papers

Finding parliamentary papers

Parliamentary papers

Parliamentary papers are not available online as a complete series. Some papers and indexes are available online. Others can be accessed in print. See below for more information.

Up until 1966, parliamentary papers were bound in volumes covering a parliamentary session (usually two to three years). Since 1967, they have been bound in annual volumes. Note that bound volumes are prepared by our Library from bundles provided by the Parliament which are often late. The bound set on the shelves is usually one to two years behind.

In addition to the copy bound with parliamentary papers, we also receive second copies of some reports and these second copies are separately catalogued, e.g. annual reports are treated as serials, reports of royal commissions are catalogued as individual books. Search the catalogue using relevant keywords from the title or subject to see if the Library holds separate copies.

If you have difficulties tracking down parliamentary papers please contact Library staff on the Information Desks or phone 8664 7002.

Annual reports

Many government departments and instrumentalities place their annual reports online. Links to most Commonwealth government departments and instrumentalities can be found online.

From the relevant website there is usually a link to publications and, from there, to annual reports.

Some have been catalogued individually. Check the catalogue using the departmental or instrumentality name and annual report as keywords. Note that 'department' is usually abbreviated to 'dept.' in the author field of the catalogue record. Also include 'Australia' in keyword searches to distinguish your search from state government departments with similar names. Usually the detailed record will indicate the previous and subsequent names of a department. See this example for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Parliamentary committees’ reports

Permanent (standing) Committees were introduced in 1970.  However, a small number of Select Committees were created from the earliest days of the Australian Parliament. Papers on Parliament No. 55 gives a detailed history of the Committee system and its development.

Recent reports may be available in full text from a parliamentary committee's website, but coverage varies. 

See Register of committee reports (1901 to date) for a complete list of reports, organised by parliament, subject & committee name.  Most, but not all, have been digitised.  

If not online then check print archives of the parliamentary papers. Printed indexes to Parliamentary Papers are available, see the box Indexes in Print on the top right of this page for more information.

Royal Commissions & Commissions of Inquiry

See Royal Commissions tab above.

Online

Indexes in print

Latest Senate committee reports tabled

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Print

Up until 1966, parliamentary papers were bound in volumes covering a parliamentary session (usually two to three years). Since 1967, they have been bound in annual volumes.