Australia: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Manifestos, speeches, pamphlets, leaflets, letters, newsletters, journals, posters, stickers, badges and miscellaneous election material at federal, state and youth levels issued by the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Christian Party, the Australian Democrats, the Australian Family Movement, the Aboriginal Independent Party, the Australian Labor Party, the Adelaide Revolutionary Marxists, the Australia Party, the Call for Australia Citizen's Movement, the Country Liberal Party, the Australian Conservative Party, the Country Party, the Communist Party of Australia, the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist), the Democratic Labor Party, the Environmental Independents, the Henry George League, the Immigration Party, the Liberal Party of Australia, the Libertarian Movement of Australia, the Libertarian Party of Australia, the National Socialist Party of Australia, the National Centre Party, the Nuclear Disarmament Party, the National Party, the Progress Party, the People's World Commonwealth Party, the Republican Party of Australia, the Spartacist League of Australia and New Zealand, the Socialist Labor Party, the World Socialist Party, the Socialist Party of Australia (Anti-Communist), the Socialist Party of Australia, the Trades and Labor Council, the United Australia Party, the United Christian Party, the United Tasmania Group, and the Workers Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1901 the previously self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania came together to form the Commonwealth of Australia, and the struggle for authority between these states (and the later admitted Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory) and the federal centre has remained an issue ever since. Other issues that have dominated the post-war political scene include debates over republicanism, the perennial emergence of third party forces to challenge the hegemony of the ALP and the Liberal-National Party coalition and the fear of the other, most often evoked by immigration but also by the perceived threat of communism pre-1989. Possibly the most controversial episode of the recent political past was the 1975 Whitlam dismissal crisis, which provoked still unresolved arguments over the constitution and the relationship between the House of Representatives and the Senate. All of these issues are raised, referred to and discussed within the materials here held.


Alphabetically by party, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies


The Political Archives Project was a 2.5 year project to catalogue political archive material held in the libraries of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas to the University and present it as a cohesive virtual collection. The project was successfully completed in July 2005. Descriptions of all the documents may be found by searching the library catalogue at, or via the Political Archives website:

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The ICS political parties collection was begun in 1960-1961, with special emphasis being placed on primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos. Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Australia: Trades Unions Material (TU.AT) and Australia: Pressure Groups Material (PG.AT), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Groups Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.