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CRIM30005 Crimes of the Powerful: Reports, policy papers and statistics

This guide has been designed to support your research assignments and contains links to library resources relevant to criminology. It also includes examples of different resource types and information on how to evaluate them.


There is no one ultimate source for reports so you will need to search for them on the internet. You must be careful, however, as searching for reports on the open web can be difficult and can result in obtaining outdated, unreliable or dubious publications.

Reputable reports are usually published on government or not-for-profit organisational websites so restrict your searching to .gov or .org domains. 

On Google, go to Settings > Advanced search and type in .gov or .org in the site or domain field to restrict to government or organisational websites.

Reports are usually highly structured and are extensively backed up with statistics, diagrams and sections by government, academic or organisational experts. They usually introduce the funding body and principal researchers in the introduction. They differ to academic journal articles as they usually present facts and findings in an objective manner rather than through academic opinion or argument.

Good examples of reports:

Sources for reports and policy papers

Here is a selection of resources that are useful for searching for reports, policy papers and statistics. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to search on other .gov or .org websites.

Policy papers

Like reports, policy papers will most often be found on government websites.

On Google, go to Settings > Advanced search and type in .gov or .org in the site or domain field to restrict to government or organisational websites.

Policy papers outline a strategy or approach dealing with a particular issue. They are usually directed at a specific organisation or agency, are concise and detail direct actions and strategies that are backed up with strong evidence in support of a particular position. They can be used to provide evidence on a particular body's stance on an issue and highlight key measures that they are pursuing to address it.

Good examples of policy papers:

The Public Policy Subject Research Guide also contains useful links to policy resources.

Online Government document sources

The following list features links to the parliamentary websites of the various Australian states and territories. These websites often include large bodies of official publications such as reports, commission papers and Hansard (which is the official label for Parliamentary debates), which could be useful for tracking particular debates and issues as they unfold.

Commonwealth Australian Parliament ( Search facility.  House of Reps 1996 to current; Senate 1996 to current ; Historical from 1901 to current in pdf format . Also use the Parlinfo advanced search - available in full text from 1901.
Victoria Victorian Parliament ( 1851-1856  Legislative Council debates reported in The Argus; Hansard digitized from 1856 to 1999, and 1999 to current). Searchable from 1991 onwards.
New South Wales NSW Parliament (Hansard digitized from 1824)
Queensland Queensland Parliament. Select from the sitting dates (from 1860 to current).
South Australia S.A. Parliament. Hansard available online from 1993 to current.
Tasmania Tasmanian Parliament.  House of Assembly 1992 to current ;  Legislative Council 1992 to current.
Western Australia  WA Parliament.  1870-1995; Index 1999 to current. Search facility for 1996 to current.
ACT ACT Legislative Assembly. 1991-2012 (pdf only); 1995-current (searchable).
NT NT Legislative Assembly.  Hansard referred to as "Parliamentary Records". 1974-1990; 1990 to current.

Legislation. (Comm & Vic, other states)

Austlii Full text Acts of Australian and State Parliaments.
Comlaw Full text Acts of Australian and State Parliaments.
Capital monitor Database of bills, assented Acts, proclamations.
Victorian legislation and Parliamentary Documents (includes statutes; bills; votes/minutes and proceedings - both houses.

Parliamentary papers. (Comm & Vic)

Parlinfo - use this search to locate Commonwealth parliamentary documents.
Parliamentary papers series (Comm) Also use index to papers
Victorian parliamentary papers search.

Government notices. (Comm & Vic)

Government Notices Gazette (Comm) Current Historical 
Victorian Government Gazette (including archive).

Budget papers. (Comm & Vic)

Budgets site (Comm) Includes previous budgets.
Budgets site (Vic). Includes previous budgets.

Government websites. (Comm & Vic)

Australian Government website.  MyGov. Links to ministries, departments and subordinate authorities. Check each site for publications links. A good source for policy documents; green and white papers, public submissions, etc.
National Archives of Australia
. Search.
  Includes Australian government and government agencies archives. Many catalogued items are available digitally.
Victoria on-line
(Government website). Links to ministries, departments and subordinate authorities.