For the


For the Record #HansART is an all-ages project that shines a light on the records of Hansard. Bring out your sense of creativity and curiosity as you rearrange, remix and reframe the written word to craft your own record.

What is Hansard?

Find out on the Museum of Australian Democracy blog.

How to get involved


Explore each of the six themes


Choose the theme that is most important to you


Create an artwork in response to the theme


Share your #HansART creation

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Explore and choose

We've trawled through over 100 years of parliamentary records to collect excerpts relating to six key themes. These six themes are recurring throughout Hansard and continue to be discussed in parliament today.

Which theme is most important to you?

An iconic building

On a crisp May morning in 1927, Prince Albert, Duke of York inserted a golden key into the front door, officially opening Australia’s Parliament House.

‘Within these portals will be framed those laws which will mould the destiny of a people.’

Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1927

With its verandahs and colonnades, strong horizontal lines and bright natural light, the building is one of the nation’s greatest architectural treasures.

Ninety years on, Old Parliament House is beloved as both a national icon and the building in which Australia’s robust democracy was shaped. Politicians may have moved away, but the achievements and the architectural significance remain.

Sport and culture

Politicians have been known to nail their sporting colours to the mast in both political chambers. Just as often, a member or senator will litter their speech with references to Harry Potter or Star Wars. These moments are the great leveller in political life and offer glimpses of genuine bipartisanship and good humour.

‘… the Maroons are going to win.’

Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, 2010

Whether barracking for a sporting team or referencing a popular film, sport and culture are as important to political leaders as they are to their voters.

Women’s rights

In 1902, Australian women were amongst the first in the world to be extended the right to vote in federal elections, although indigenous women had to wait another 60 years. In 1943, Dame Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney were the first two women in the federal parliament. Despite the increase in number of female parliamentarians, women are still underrepresented in our political system.

‘Sexism should always be unacceptable.’

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, 2012

In the decades since, the rights of Australian women have been debated, won and lost in the federal parliament. Issues recorded in Hansard include childcare, abortion, sex discrimination, affirmative action, sex work, pornography, and the perceived misogyny of political opponents.

The environment

The environment as a mainstream issue has emerged as one of the most significant of the modern era. A defining moment in 1983 saw the federal government intervene to stop the building of the Gordon below Franklin Dam in Tasmania. Other issues debated have included animal rights, the protection of endangered species, whaling, water pollution and mining.

‘Responding to climate change will be the great challenge for this generation.’

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, 2009

Today climate change is at the forefront of many environmental debates in parliament. It continues to be a potent and divisive issue with polls showing that many Australians see it as a key issue for the nation.

Indigenous rights

In 1971, Neville Bonner became the first federal Indigenous parliamentarian. When Linda Burney spoke Wiradjuri in her first speech, it was as the second Indigenous member of the House of Representatives, and the first Indigenous woman.

‘The first decade of my life was spent as a non-citizen.’

Hon Linda Burney MP, 2016

Indigenous Australians were excluded from the census and from most aspects of Australian life until well into the 1960s. In 1967, after a national referendum, the Commonwealth was able to enact laws with respect to Aboriginal people. Previously, the states had made these laws.

Today, Indigenous issues continue to be a major topic for discussion in Parliament. Linda Burney is one of only four Indigenous voices that contribute to those debates.

Immigration and refugees

One of the first bills debated by the new Commonwealth Parliament in 1901 was the ‘White Australia Policy’. Over time, the policy was dismantled, but migration and multiculturalism remain as major issues.

‘The less constructively a society responds to its own diversity, the less capable it becomes of doing so.’

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, 1981

Australia is often described as a country of migrants. More than a quarter of Australians were born overseas. Another 20% have at least one parent born overseas, and more than half have at least one grandparent who migrated to Australia. In spite of this, immigration and refugees are hotly debated issues. Balancing humanitarian and national interests is a regular topic in both chambers of parliament. In particular, mandatory detention for asylum seekers generates heated debate.


Now you've chosen a theme, use the Hansard excerpts and graphics to create an artwork.

It might be a physical artwork using print-outs of the material, or a digital artwork using graphics software on your computer.

Rearrange, remix and reframe the written word to craft your own record.

Download additional graphics (3.9 MB PDF)

Looking for inspiration? Check out some of the #HansART creations our community has shared.


Once your artwork is complete, take a photo of it and share it with us by using the hashtag #HansART, tagging us, then sharing on social media.

Before you share, read our online house rules and guidelines .


Check out some of the #HansART creations our community has shared …

    Further reading

    Parliament makes laws, authorises the Government to spend public money, scrutinises government activities, and is a forum for debate on national issues.

    Debates in the Australian parliament from 1901 to 1980, presented in an easily readable form for lovers of political speech.

    What work of Australian political history contains almost 500 million words contributed by over a thousand different authors?

    Here you can explore interjections documented in Hansard, the official record of Australia’s parliamentary proceedings, between 1901 and 1980. The words, speakers, and dates are real. The Twitter handles, activity stats, and times are invented.