Looking for government gazettes? See our Government gazettes research guide.


GovPubs : the Australian Government Publications Guide is a key resource for locating selected types of Australian government publications. These include:

  • Acts/Ordinances/Statutes
  • Bills
  • Budget Papers
  • Explanatory Memoranda
  • Gazettes
  • Government Directories
  • Notice Papers
  • Parliamentary Debates (Hansard)
  • Parliamentary Handbooks
  • Parliamentary Papers
  • Standing Orders
  • Subordinate Legislation/Regulations
  • Votes and Proceedings/Journals

GovPubs is no longer maintained, but contains useful explanations for each publication. Holdings information will help you to locate resources in the National Library, State libraries or online.


A dictionary of Australian politics by Robert Corcoran and Jackie Dickenson (2010), defines a range of Australian political terms and expressions, and includes international terms which are essential to political discussion.


Parliament of Australia : official website of Australian parliament, with information on parliamentary departments, links to committee reports, full text of bills, speeches, biographical information, parliamentary publications, and more. See also the Parliamentary Library.

National Archives of Australia : includes fact sheets and research guides on subjects such as Parliamentary Papers and several Prime Ministers.

Federal Register of Legislation : a register of Commonwealth legislation and related documents.


Government in Australia is three-tiered: Commonwealth (or Federal), State and Local. You can find information about how government works in Australia through a number of official websites, including

What you can find in the Library

  • Books: including biographies, histories and general works
  • Parliamentary papers: documents presented to Parliament and ordered to be printed
  • Manuscripts: including papers of ministers and documents relating to political parties
  • Oral histories: including speeches and interviews
  • Pictures: including portraits, photographs and political cartoons
  • Ephemera: including election advertising
  • Newspapers: including biographical cuttings files (articles from Australian newspapers from the early 20th century to 2000).

Government publications are deposited with the National Library of Australia under the Library Deposit Scheme (LDS). Previously, the National Library actively collected publications by way of various government administrative directives. You can find print publications and links to online sources through the Catalogue.

Using the Catalogue

Quick search

Use a quick key word search in the Catalogue to find titles, authors or subjects.

  • If you get too many results, click in to the catalogue full results and use the Limit Your Results options (at the right of the search results page) to display only the items of interest, e.g. manuscripts or oral histories
  • If you need to widen your search, try searching subject headings. You can search by subject directly in the Catalogue (selecting 'subject' in the drop down), or by opening an item’s Catalogue record and clicking on the subject headings to find other material related to that subject.


You can’t browse the Library’s shelves in person, but you can use the Catalogue to search the collection by title, author or subject.

To search for general works about Australian politics, try searching by subject. Some examples are:

To find information on Australian political parties, search subject headings such as:

Items related to special interest groups in Australian society are found using subject searches such as:

Selected print resources:

Parliamentary government in Australia by Alan J. Ward (2014), combines constitutional history and political science to compare all nine of Australia's political systems, federal, state and territory, from colonial times to the present.

Australian political institutions by Singleton, Aitkin, Jinks and Warhurst (2013), introduces students to the structure and organisation of the institutions and functions of government in Australia, with reference to contemporary issues and debates.

Australian journal of political science includes articles on a wide range of political topics. Also available online from 1997 to the present, through the link in the Catalogue record.

Student texts:
Government and politics in Australia edited by Alan Fenna, Jane Robbins, John Summers (2014)

Politics in Australia by Martin Drum and John William Tate (2012); a source-based approach

Parliament House


Helicopter fly past, Queen in extreme bottom right, Canberra, 1988,  Andrew Campbell, (Photographer).


Part of Opening of new Parliament House, Capital Hill, Canberra, on the 9th of May, 1988 [picture].


British Royal Family : official website of the British royal family, including information on Australia's head of state - the King.

Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia : information on the role of the Governor-General, speeches, previous Governors-General, the Australian Honours Secretariat and links to the websites of the State Governors.

Prime Minister of Australia : official website of the Prime Minister. Includes speeches, media releases, links to the ministry, and general information on Australia.


Australia's Diplomatic and Consular Missions includes a listing of all Australian Embassies and Consulates, arranged alphabetically by country.

The Commonwealth provides information on the association of 56 independent sovereign states known as “The Commonwealth”.  The site includes historical detail, facts and figures on each of the member nations including Australia, current news, press releases, publications, events and initiatives.

Not sure where to start?