Government in Australia is three-tiered: Commonwealth (or Federal), State and Local. You can find information about how government works in Australia through a number of official websites, including

What you can find in the Library

  • Books: including biographies, histories and general works
  • Parliamentary papers: documents presented to Parliament and ordered to be printed
  • Manuscripts: including papers of ministers and documents relating to political parties
  • Oral histories: including speeches and interviews
  • Pictures: including portraits, photographs and political cartoons
  • Ephemera: including election advertising
  • Newspapers: including biographical cuttings files (articles from Australian newspapers from the early 20th century to 2000).

Government publications are deposited with the National Library of Australia under the Library Deposit Scheme (LDS). Previously, the National Library actively collected publications by way of various government administrative directives. You can find print publications and links to online sources through the Catalogue.

Using the Catalogue

Quick search

Use the Catalogue standard search to find titles, authors or subjects.

  • If you get too many results, use the Narrow search options (at the right of the results page) to display only the items of interest, e.g. manuscripts or oral histories
  • If you need to widen your search, click on subject headings in an item’s Catalogue record to find other material related to that subject


You can’t browse the Library’s shelves in person, but you can use the Catalogue to browse by title, author, subject or Dewey number.

To search for general works about Australian politics, select the Browse alphabetically tab, then subjects. Some examples are:

To find information on Australian political parties, use Browse subjects options such as:

Items related to special interest groups in Australian society are found using Browse subjects searches such as:

Selected print resources:

Parliamentary government in Australia by Alan J. Ward (2014), combines constitutional history and political science to compare all nine of Australia's political systems, federal, state and territory, from colonial times to the present.

Australian political institutions by Singleton, Aitkin, Jinks and Warhurst (2013), introduces students to the structure and organisation of the institutions and functions of government in Australia, with reference to contemporary issues and debates.

Australian journal of political science includes articles on a wide range of political topics. Also available online from 1997 to the present, through the link in the Catalogue record.

Student texts:
Politics in Australia edited by Rodney Smith (1997); a comprehensive introduction
Politics in Australia by Martin Drum and John William Tate (2012); a source-based approach