Aboriginal people and the law

Legislation, regulations, gazettes, committee reports, law

Parliamentary debates - Hansard

Hansard records the parliamentary debates relating to a bill tabled in parliament.  There are three "reading speeches".  Explanatory memoranda are tabled at the first reading speech, to provide background and reasoning behind a piece of legislation. Before this, the second reading speech served a similar function.

Newspapers of the day can provide information on matters before parliament - before Hansard was printed in New South Wales for example - parliamentary debates were only reported in the papers. They can also show some of the range of opinions surrounding an issue.


The Library holds all Victorian Hansards from the first parliament in 1856 - now all available online through the Parliament of Victoria website.

New South Wales

Early parliamentary debates were not recorded until 1838 when they were reported in the newspapers of the day. The Australian and Sydney morning herald can both be searched online for legislative council and legislative assembly debates. Hansard was not published separately until 1879.

There are general newspaper indexes available for this early period as well as for the debates:

In addition, the New South Wales Parliament has undertaken significant digitising projects for early parliamentary records:


 The fulltext of Commonwealth hansard is available online through Parlinfo:

Great Britain

Hansard 1803-2005

Searchable with some indexing by person, the debates surrounding the select committee that reported into the condition of Aborigines in British colonies can be read here.

The following reports are available online inside the Library, and off site to Victorian registered users through Proquest UK Parliamentary Papers.