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Government Publications: Finding Government Policy

A brief guide to locating federal and state government publication for Australia, and selected other countries.

Government Department/Agency press releases

Media Releases by portfolio

Press releases provide a current source for government policy in an ever changing political environment  

Parliamentary Sources

To search for the work of parliamentary committees, parliamentary debates/Hansard, bills and legislation, parliamentary publications, parliamentary media releases and the budget papers


Tip: use the ‘Advanced search’ option to limit your results

Annual Reports of Government Agencies

Annual Reports of Government Agencies

Annual Reports are listed on Government Agency websites usually under the About/About us page. The reports will provide a summary of the operations and performance of the Department/agency for the year including activities and expenditure. This will give a clear indication of how the Government implemented it’s policy priorities in practice for the year 

Major Political Parties

Political party policies won't provide official Government Policy in practice, but will reflect the position of the government on many policies

Australian Labor Party

Liberal Party of Australia

The Nationals

The Greens

Finding Australian Government Policy

This page will take you to resources that may assist you in finding Government Policies  and  analysis of  these policies.

APO- Australian Policy Online

Australian Policy Online (APO)

Policy Online is a research database and alert service providing free access to full text research reports and papers, statistics and other resources essential for public policy development and implementation in Australia and New Zealand.  Policy Online includes material from over 2,500 sources and regularly monitors over 500 organisations including academic research centres and institutes, government departments, think tanks, NGOs and other media and information networks, in order to select and catalogue high quality open access research on public interest issues in Australia.

Newspaper Sources

Online News Sources-selection

The Conversation
An independent source of news and analysis that uses content sourced from the academic and research community

The Drum  (ABC)
Analysis and opinion on the issues of the day

The Guardian (Australian edition)

The New Matilda
Independent online news source

The Australian (Policy Section)

The Age (Politics Section)

The Age Politics: The Pulse 
Politics live from the halls of federal parliament, and beyond,

Full text Library Newspaper Databases

Newsbank For  major Australian Newspapers 

Factiva For Australian and thousands of overseas newspapers

Factiva requires a bit of assistance to use effectively - watch this quick online tutorial Basics of searching Factiva

Radio and TV sources

TVNews Searchable database of Australian television news, current affairs and selected documentaries from the free-to-air networks with links to the digitised video content 

Informit EduTV

Journals-Library databases

Databases for  Journal articles on Australian  Public policy


Trove provides integrated access to over 45 million items from a range of the National Library's collaborative services and from elsewhere. Metadata (information about items) is pooled from Australian sources including: The Australian National Bibliographic Database - containing location information from more than 1,200 Australian libraries,


It is possible to search across all databases but this will involve duplication of records which can be frustrating so try using APA-FT which is cross disciplinary and include other selected databases on your topic.

APA-FT - Australian Public Affairs Full Text

Indexing and full text database that provides access to published material on Australian social sciences and humanities. Source documents include periodicals, newspapers, scholarly journals, conference papers, and books. Subject coverage includes business, health, current affairs, economics, humanities, law, literature, politics and social sciences.

See INFORMIT  databases on specific subjects  for Government policy in specific subject areas e.g.

Health & Society - Health & Society Database

FAMILY - Australian Family & Society Abstracts Database

CINCH - Australian Criminology Database

To find these databases

Click on ‘Databases’ on the top right menu bar and select ‘find relevant databases’. Key in your broad topic eg Education, Immigration, Health etc. and select the databases that appear most appropriate by ticking the box next to the database. Click on continue and use the advanced search to do a more detailed search 

Think Tanks

Think Tanks provide critical analysis of  existing Government policy and  use their own research to influence Government policy. Often they have a particular political persuasion that informs their policy analysis

The Australia Institute

The Australia Institute is the country’s most influential progressive think tank. Based in Canberra, it conducts research on a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues in order to inform public debate and bring greater accountability to the democratic process.

Institute of Public Affairs Australia

The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a public policy think tank[1] based in Melbourne, Australia. It advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, trade liberalisation and deregulated workplaces, climate change scepticism (through its environmental subsidiary the Australian Environment Foundation), and the accountability of non-government organisations (NGOs).[citation needed] In its own words, the Institute believes in "the free market of ideas, the free flow of capital, a limited and efficient government, the rule of law, and representative democracy."[2]

Evatt Foundation

The Evatt Foundation was established in 1979 as a memorial to Dr Herbert Vere Evatt with the aim of advancing the ideals of the labour movement, such as equality, participation, social justice and human rights. For more than 30 years, the Foundation has been helping to promote these ideals through research, publications, public discussion and debate.

The Centre for Independent Studies

The CIS supports a market economy and a free civil society under democratic government. We believe that smaller government is the key to unlocking individual responsibility, liberty, choice and enterprise. 

Through public policy research and events, the CIS encourages debate among leading academics, politicians, media and the public. We aim to make sure good policy ideas are heard and seriously considered so that Australia can continue to prosper into the future.

The Grattan Institute

Melbourne-based , non-aligned institute, the Grattan Institute contributes to public policy in Australia as a liberal democracy in a globalised economy. Grattan Institute focuses on six key policy areas: Cities, Energy, Health, Schools Education, Higher Education and Productivity

More Think Tanks here.

Social Policy Research Centres

A selective list:


One of Australia’s leading economic and social policy research institutes

ANU. SPEAR: The Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis & Research Centre

The SPEAR Centre commenced in 2000 as a joint initiative between the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) and the Economics Group in the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU.

University of Sydney Social Policy Research Network (SPRN)

UNSW Social Policy Research Centre

Brotherhood of St Laurence

Australian Institute of Family Studies

The Australian Institute of Criminology

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

Governments and the community use our reports and data in discussing, debating, and making policy decisions on health, housing and community services matters.