Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I select more than one MP, speaker or date from the search box?
    Hold down the Ctrl key as you make your selections.

  2. How do I find out more about a bill and what it is intended to do?
    Go to Advanced Search. If you know the exact title of the bill, type it into the Title text box. Otherwise, type in the keywords you know into the all words text box. Select "Second reading" from the Activity drop-down box. Check the earliest date for the particular bill and read the minister's second-reading speech, where the intentions and reasons for the bill are outlined. The minister will introduce the bill by saying, "I move, that this bill be now read a second time."

  3. Where can I find further information about the bills and legislation debated in Parliament?
    Please visit the Legislation and Bills page for comprehensive information including the status and full text of bills and acts. 

  4. How do I search for MPs with the same surname (e.g. Smith)?
    Go to Advanced Search. Select the MP's surname from the list of current or past members. In the all words text box, type in the name of the seat or electorate which that MP represents. To check which seat a current MP holds, use the Members Search database. To check which seat a former MP held, use the biographical database called Re-Member.

  5. Where can I find Daily or Weekly Hansard if it is not available on the Search Hansard site?
    Check the PDF versions of Hansard for the particular date on the Download Hansard page. 

  6. How do I cite Hansard in a bibliography?
    Victorian Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly/Council, vol. no. (if available), day/month/year, page no.

  7. What if I want to search for an earlier Hansard which is not on the Search Hansard site?
    The Hansard Search database currently indexes debates from 1991 onwards. Victorian Hansard goes back to 1856 and we have volumes from 1856-1999 available in digitised PDF format. 

  8. Where can I find other Australian Hansards?
    Here are the links:

    Commonwealth Parliament
    Australian Capital Territory
    New South Wales
    Northern Territory
    South Australia
    Western Australia
  9. How do I find an member's inaugural speech?

    Go to Advanced Search and select the MP's name from the list of members. In the results, open their earliest speech in Parliament. Check to see if they refer to this as being their first speech. Note: some MPs entered Parliament prior to 1991, so their inaugural speech will not appear on the Hansard Search database.

  10. How do I find speeches about an MP and other dignitaries who have died?
    Go to Advanced Search and select "Condolences" from the activity box. Type in the name of the person in the all words or title text boxes. If you are not sure of the person's name, simply do not type anything in the debate text box, but select the year and look through the search results for the name you are looking for.

  11. Where can I find out about the types of activities as listed on the Advanced Search screen?
    Please visit the Activities Help page for more information. 

  12. How do I find if a report has been tabled in Parliament?
    Go to Advanced Search and select "Papers" from the activity box and type in the name of the report (usually a parliamentary paper or annual report) in the debate text box. You may want to limit your results by selecting a specific year. Alternatively, you can search the tabled documents databases for the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

  13. How do I find if a petition has been tabled in Parliament?
    Go to Advanced Search and select "Petitions" from the activity box and type some keywords relating to the petition into the all words text box. If you want to view a list of all petitions tabled in Parliament, just select a year and don't type anything in the text boxes.

  14. How do I read what happens in question time?
    Question time is often the most interesting part of parliamentary proceedings. Go to Advanced Search and select  "Questions without notice" from the activity box and select a particular date. If you want to see what questions have been asked on particular topics, type your keywords in the all words text box.

  15. What's the difference between "questions without notice" and "questions on notice"?
    "Questions without notice" are questions asked by opposition and government members directly to ministers (or their representatives) in Parliament. This is an opportunity for the opposition to scrutinise the government on important issues of the day.

    "Questions on notice" are pre-prepared written questions which are not verbally asked in the chamber. These questions are posed to a minister and usually responded to after the minister's department has prepared an official response which can often take weeks or months (which is when both the question and answer are incorporated into Hansard). These written answers are often incorporated with detailed tables, so they may not appear in Hansard Search exactly as they did in the official printed Hansard. Please refer to the the PDF links (  ) attached to individual search results to see the original presentation. Questions on notice extracts from each weekly Hansard are also available in PDF format from the Download Hansard page.