The National Archives annual release of Cabinet records occurs on 1 January each year.
Few Commonwealth records cover such a broad sweep of Australian history or touch the lives of so many Australians as those of the federal Cabinet. For example you can find Cabinet decisions about:
- the first Anzac Day public holiday in 1916
- Western Australia’s movement to secede from the Commonwealth
- confirmation or commutation of death sentences
- expeditions to Antarctica
- the arrest and deportation of Bolsheviks
- the end of conscription in 1972
- the resettlement of refugees from Vietnam
- construction of the new and permanent Parliament House in Canberra.
Access to Cabinet records
Cabinet records and Cabinet notebooks are accessible through the National Archives.
Under changes to the public access provisions of the Archives Act 1983 approved by Parliament in May 2010, the open access period for most Australian Government records (including Cabinet records) will commence after 20 years instead of 30 years. The change will be phased in over the next 10 years with the closed period reducing by two years on 1 January each year until 2020. In 2016 Cabinet records up to and including 1991 are in the open access period.
The open access period for Cabinet notebooks has also changed. Cabinet notebooks, which had previously been available after 50 years, will now be released after 30 years. This change will also be phased in over 10 years with the closed period reducing by three years on 1 January each year. In 2016 Cabinet notebooks up to and including 1977 are in the open access period.
Explore Cabinet further
- About Cabinet records – includes information about submissions, memoranda, decisions and Cabinet Office files.
- Topics covered in Cabinet records.
- Cabinet notebooks – notes recorded during Cabinet meetings.
- By year – explore digitised Cabinet records 1965 to 1991 and Cabinet notebooks 1950 to 1954.
- Out of the Cabinet – by Ian Warden.
- Have your say – let us know which Cabinet records you'd like to see online.