What is 'Hansard'?
"A full, substantially verbatim report of parliamentary debates and speeches made by members of the houses of Parliament."
LexisNexis Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (5th ed, 2011) 'hansard'.
Hansard is the name given to the edited transcripts of debates in the Senate, House of Representatives, Main Committee and parliamentary committees. They are published shortly after the chamber or committee proceedings have concluded.
Hansard is where you will find Second Reading Speeches for Bills and discussion around the progress of Bills. While generally not a verbatim report of what has been said in Parliament, it is an accurate representation of speeches and statements that have been made by the relevant Minister in parliament outlining the policy underlying a proposed law (a Bill) during the second reading.
Second Reading Speeches are particularly useful in determining the historical intent of new and amending legislation. As an aid to statutory interpretation, second reading speeches may be used to discern the underlying purpose or object of a statute.
Online availability of Hansard for each jurisdiction will vary.
Commonwealth of Australia Hansard 1901 -
Australian Capital Territory Hansard 1989 -
New South Wales Hansard 1824 -
Northern Territory Hansard 1974 -
Queensland Hansard 1981-
South Australia Hansard 1993 -
Tasmania Hansard 1993-
Victoria Hansard 1999 -
Western Australia Hansard 1996 -
Navigating Hansard sites for some jurisdictions can be difficult. Lawlex provides links to second reading speeches for the initiating house for Acts from the mid-1990s onwards.
Go to the Core Document Homepage for the Act:
The print availability of Hansard exists for each session of Parliament.
Parliamentary debates (Hansard) / Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly. 1959 - 1982 Catalogue record
Parliamentary debates (Hansard) / Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Council. 1982 - Catalogue record
Parliamentary debates, Senate, official Hansard. Catalogue record
Parliamentary debates, House of Representatives, official Hansard. Catalogue record