Commonwealth government publications

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


Royal Commissions are defined by the Attorney-General's Department as follows:

'The Royal Commissions Act 1902 provides for the commissioning of inquiries from time to time into matters of public importance identified by the Australian Government and specified in letters patent issued by the Governor-General. The letters patent are in effect the terms of reference which guide the conduct of the inquiry. The Royal Commissions Act is administered by the Prime Minister and his department.'

For further background on Royal Commissions you could try the issues paper Making enquiries: a new statutory framework, prepared by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2009 reviewing the Royal Commissions Act. The document contains an outline of the history, as well as consideration of the future of the Act.



You can check the catalogue for separate bound copies of Royal Commissions (and related papers), using the term 'royal commission' and other terms that describe a specific royal commission. 

For example you could search specifically for Australia Royal Commission on espionage. This is colloquially known as the Petrov Royal Commission. If you wanted to broaden your research you could simply use the term Petrov and then narrow your results using the facets on the left hand side of the results screen.  

If you are unsure of the title of the Royal Commission check the link in the above section Online to confirm the exact title and date.

Many royal commissions and reports from inquiries are not published separately but will be included in the relevant Parliamentary papers. The following indexes will help you identify which paper your report of interest appeared in.