Government Legislation & Publications: Australian Government (Federal)

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Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Hansard (Parliamentary debates)

Commonwealth Hansard (Parliamentary debates)

Hansard is the name given to the edited transcripts of debates in the Senate, House of Representatives, Federation Chamber and Parliamentary committees.

They are published shortly after the chamber or committee proceedings have concluded.



Amendment: Change or alteration to existing legislation or acts.

Bills: A draft of a new Act or a draft of an amendment to alter an existing Act. Statutes or Acts of Parliament, start life as a Bill. A Bill must pass through a process of 2 readings in both upper and lower houses of Parliament before it becomes law.

Commencement: An act comes into force 28 days after it is assent to, or on a day or days to be appointed by proclamation. A clause, stating whether the act comes into force by assent or proclamation, usually appears at the beginning of each bill.

Explanatory Memorandum: A paper which explains the purpose and details of bills or regulations, usually in a simple and non-technical way.

Hansard: Hansard is the official record of the proceedings of the Parliament.

House of Representatives: One of the two houses of the federal Parliament of Australia. Also referred to as the Lower House of Parliament.

Royal Assent: The signing of a bill by the Governor-General, which is the last step in making a bill into an Act of Parliament, or law.

Second Reading Speech: The second stage of a Bills progress through each house of Parliament. It contains the majority of the debate about a proposed law.

Senate: One of the two houses of the federal Parliament of Australia. Also referred to as the Upper House of Parliament

About parliamentary procedure

Search the State Library catalogue to find information about parliamentary procedure:

Second Reading Speeches

Learn about "the purpose, general principles and effect" of a bill in the Second Reading as the First Reading only introduces the title of the bill.

Bills are generally introduced in the House of Representatives so you will find more information in the House Hansard than in the Senate Hansard.

Infosheet 7 - Making laws (accessed 25 September 2013)

Finding second reading speeches

Online (1981+)

Find a second reading speech using the Parliamentary Library's ParlInfo site, 'Second reading speeches for a bill'. Type in the name of the Bill or keyword. Enter a date range to limit your search.

In print (1901+)

You will need the name of the Bill or amending Bill and the year passed

Identify the volume of Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) you need.

Use either Index to subjects or Index to speeches in the relevant volume

- Index to subjects, Bills are listed alphabetically by title
- Index to speeches, Speeches are listed alphabetically by name of Member of Parliament

First reading, second reading, third reading speeches are listed with page number for that volume. 


Learn more about the House of Representatives using the Infosheets that have been created by the Parliament of Australia.