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Commonwealth Hansard

The proceedings of Australia's Commonwealth Parliament are recorded in Hansard, which is available online through the Parliamentary Library's ParlInfo database. This repository includes Jupyter notebooks to harvest and explore XML formatted versions of Hansard.

ARDC Binder Binder

You can access a harvest of the XML files for both houses from 1901 to 1980 and 1998 to 2005 from this repository. No XML files are currently available for 1981 to 1997. Open Australia provides access to Hansard XML files from 2006 onwards.

The XML files are made available on the Australian Parliament website under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

Tools, tips, and examples

Convert a year's worth of Historic Hansard into a dataframe for analysis

This notebook analyses Commonwealth Hansard XML files. Give it a year (between 1901 and 1980), and a house (either 'hofreps' or 'senate'), and it will download all the proceedings of that year and house, extract some basic data about debates and speeches, and provide the results as a dataframe for exploration.

Harvesting Commonwealth Hansard

Results in ParlInfo are generated from well-structured XML files which can be downloaded individually from the web interface – one XML file for each sitting day. This notebook shows you how to download all the XML files for large scale analysis. It's an updated version of the code I used to harvest Hansard in 2016.


List of sitting days, 1901 to 2005

The harvesting process documented in the notebook above, extracts a list of sitting days and XML files from searches in ParlInfo. This CSV file combines this data for all years and both houses. It contains the following fields:

  • date – date of sitting day in YYYY-MM-DD format
  • url – url for XML file (where available)
  • year
  • house – 'hofreps' or 'senate'


Cite as

Sherratt, Tim. (2019, November 17). GLAM-Workbench/australian-commonwealth-hansard (Version v0.1.0). Zenodo.