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Researching Legislation


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.

Hansard online

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 -

Second reading speeches on Lawlex

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:

Hansard in Hardcopy

The print availability of Hansard exists for each session of Parliament.

Victoria Hansard

Parliamentary debates (Hansard) / Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly. 1959 - 1982 Catalogue record

Parliamentary debates (Hansard) / Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Council.  1982 - Catalogue record

Commonwealth Hansard

Parliamentary debates, Senate, official Hansard. Catalogue record

Parliamentary debates, House of Representatives, official Hansard. Catalogue record