A guide to accessing Tasmanian government publications at our library and online.
Before 1979 there were no official reports of Tasmanian parliamentary proceedings but there were reports in the newspaper. Since then Hansard has been the official record, including edited verbatim transcriptions of debates in both Houses and evidence before parliamentary committees. The Legislative Council Hansard began on 6 June 1979 and the House of Assembly Hansard on 12 June 1979.
Tasmanian Hansard was published in weekly versions from 1979 to 1995. Since 1996 Tasmanian Hansard has been available online, with material from 1992 accessible. In June 2015, the historical Hansard archive (12 years from 1979-1991) was digitised and made available online. Today transcriptions of parliamentary proceedings are usually available online within several days.
Between 1920 and 1978 reports in the newspaper, The Mercury, were printed at the Parliament's expense and distributed to Members of Parliament and government departments. For reports of debates up to 1954 use Trove to search for debates in The Mercury. From 1954 until 1978, you can access The Mercury on microfilm.
There are no indexes specifically to what was said in debates. However, other records can be used to identity the date of a debate, which in turn can help you find a relevant report in the newspaper, if available – refer to below section about identifying dates of debates.
There is a search facility on the Parliament of Tasmania's website which will deliver the full text of Hansard from 1992 onwards. In the advanced search you can limit your search by year, House of Parliament, or a specific sitting day.
The historical Hansard archive (1979-1991) is searched separately through the same webpage, simply select the relevant House of Parliament from the drop-down menu beside 'advanced search'. Note that these records have been digitised from the printed versions and processed using OCR which may effect searching. Links for searching each collection individually below:
Tasmanian Hansard is no longer produced in printed form. The weekly publication ceased in 1995, although the State Library of Tasmania have some paper copies for 1996 to 1999. The Online version is available from 1992 onwards.
Selected reports of the parliamentary debates in the Hobart Mercury were reprinted and bound into volumes. State Library Victoria does not hold any of these volumes. Both the National Library of Australia and State Library of Tasmania have some volumes but neither has a complete set and they do not have a complete set when put together. Also see newspaper reports below.
See newspaper reports below.
Between 1920 and 1978 reports in the newspaper, The Mercury, were printed at the Parliament's expense and distributed to Members of Parliament and government departments. Recorded by journalists the earlier records contained almost verbatim reports, over time these changed to edited newspaper versions of proceedings. There are also reports in newspapers prior to 1920, these were often quite extensive but not funded by the Parliament.
For newspaper reports of debates up to 1954 use Trove. Identity the relevant newspaper (see below), then the results can then be narrowed by date, or you can search for debates on specific legislation or issues.
The Mercury (Hobart), digitised versions available in Trove up until 1954. For post-1954, The Mercury on microfilm can be requested from Library's onsite storage. From 1979 onwards, Hansard is available.
Only Legislative Council, prior to establishment of Tasmanian Parliament in 1856. Use Hobart newspapers such as Hobart Town courier and Hobart Town courier and Van Diemen's Land gazette. Digitised versions available in Trove.
There are no indexes specific to the content of debates. Where Hansard is not available it can be necessary to identify the date of a debate in order to locate any newspaper reports, particularly if you are using microfilm.
The Parliamentary votes and proceedings (Journals) are the minutes of the chambers, recording what was done rather than what was said. These can be used to determine the date on which debate on a particular bill would have occurred.
You can also use newspaper indexes such as the Tasmanian Index. 1966-1994 / [Tasmanian Library] to help you identify relevant articles in Tasmanian newspapers. Other newspaper indexes and resources are also available through Libraries Tasmania.