Be first to read Cabinet records

Nicholas Brown at the Cabinet release 2014
Nicholas Brown speaking about the background to the 1988 and 1989 Cabinet papers, National Archives of Australia, Canberra, 3 December 2014

On 1 January each year, the National Archives releases the Cabinet records as they reach the open period.

Media briefing

A special briefing in early December is provided to the media on the Cabinet records due for release. At the briefing, to help place the records in context, a consultant historian gives journalists an overview of the major issues that affected Australia at the time. We encourage journalists to prepare for the briefing by researching, perhaps through their own media outlets, the events and issues that were making the news at that time.

As part of the briefing, we issue a media kit to journalists that includes copies of key Cabinet papers to be released. In previous years, former prime ministers and Cabinet Office officials have been on hand to give their personal perspective on the issues and events highlighted in the Cabinet records.

During the remainder of December, the Archives allows the media access to the records in our Canberra reading room to help them prepare in-depth articles for publication on 1 January. Access to the records is provided on the conditions that the:

  • embargo of midnight on 31 December is observed
  • National Archives is acknowledged as the source in all published and broadcast news

Public access to Cabinet records

To date we have released Cabinet records from 1965 to 1997, including:

  • a historical overview of the major issues for each year
  • lists of Cabinet members and key political figures
  • details of the submissions, decisions and related records.

Many of the records have been wholly digitised, so you can view them online in our collection database, RecordSearch. We also hold hardcopy indexes to the Cabinet records in the Canberra reading room.

In 2019 Cabinet notebooks created in 1984, 1985, 1986 fall into the open access period. With this new release, Cabinet notebooks from 1950 to 1986 are available for public access.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019