Monday, May 09, 2011

All Australian Parliamentary Speeches Online

All 110 years of transcripts of parliamentary proceedings are now available for the Australian Parliament. The Parliamentary Library claims that Hansard for the Senate and House of Representatives has been converted to XML for easy online access under a Creative Commons licence.

While it is good that Hansard is available online, the interface could be improved. What I would like to see is the link to "Latest Hansard" actually link to the latest Hansard. Also it would help if there was a search facility offered and a list in chronological (or reverse cronological order). As it is there is an "Indexes to Hansard bound volumes"in PDF format, which is of no use to someone looking for content in the online edition. As it is now I was unable to find any of the XML versions of Hansard, just the old difficult to read PDF version.

Digital Hansard


Hansard is the name given to transcripts of parliamentary proceedings. The Senate and House of Representatives Hansards are available on the Internet each morning following a sitting day. Hansards of Committee hearings are also available online.

Hansard is now fully online from the first sitting day - 9 May 1901. A digitisation project has resulted in Hansards prior to 1980 now being available in Portable Document Format (PDF) files and as text that can be searched (Extensible Markup Language or XML).

What is available online?

  • Until mid 2010 Hansard was available online only from 1981

  • During 2009-11 over 600,000 pages of Hansard (from 1901 to 1980) were digitised and are available online for full searching.

Digitisation project

The Department of Parliamentary Services funded a digitisation project to ensure all Senate and House of Representatives Hansards were available online to the public.

The conversation was done using an Australian company. Technical details are:

  • High quality scanners were used;

  • Image resolution was 300dpi;

  • challenges included changing styles of recording proceedings, changes in fonts and formating;

  • a 5 step processing occurred for each page to ensure all content is marked as header, tables, graphics, new day and more;

  • f every page of the scanned files was sequencing for accurate conversion;

  • indexes were created automatically; and

  • a new ingest process was developed for the Hansard repository

To find Hansards go to either:

How to search Hansards

ParlInfo Search ( allows the following searching:

  • Simple

  • Advanced

Advanced allows Hansards to be selected.

Hansards can be searched or browsed by many attributes including:

  • Date;

  • Speaker; and

  • Words in a speech.

An online guide and tips sheets can be found under the Help tab in ParlInfo Search.

Using material from hansard

Parliamentary information is published under a Creative Commons license. It uses a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence.

By using this licence, material is free to share — to copy, distribute and transmit under the following conditions:

  • Attribution - Users must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

  • NonCommercial - Users may not use this work for commercial purposes without our permission.

  • No Derivative Works – Users may not alter, transform, or build upon this work without our permission.

Errors in digitised material

If you identify any errors in digitized material please contact to enable corrections to be made.

Significant speeches

Some of the significant speeches now available online include:

  • First substantial speech in the parliament – William Groom, (Protectionist, Darling Downs), 21 May 1901 from page 763.

  • First year of the Great War – speech by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher (Protectionist, Wide Bay) 4 August 1915 from page 5556.

  • First female member of the House of Representatives Dame Enid Lyons (UAP, Darwin (Tasmania)). First speech 29 September 1943, from page 182.

  • First female member of the Senate (Dame) Dorothy Margaret Tangney (ALP, Western Australia). First speech 29 September 1943, from page 30.

  • First Aboriginal member of parliament Sir Neville Bonner (Liberal, Queensland) sworn into the Senate on Tuesday 17 August 1971, first speech, from page 553.

  • World War II. Prime Minister Robert Menzies (UAP, Kooyong) addressed Parliament three days after the announcement of war on 6 September 1939, from page 28.


Department of Parliamentary Services

Parliament House

PO Box 6000



1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

The Australian Parliamentary Library sent me a note to say I should start at the Search Page to access Hansard. From there you can get individual documents as web pages, PDF and XML.