Many documents are presented to Parliament each year: some are required to be presented by law, others may just be presented for the general information of Members. Documents presented include the annual reports of all government agencies, reports of royal commissions and other government inquiries, parliamentary committee reports, and a wide variety of other material.
Of all the documents presented to Parliament each year, only documents of a substantial nature are included in the Parliamentary Papers series (PPS).
Documents are either ordered to be included in the PPS at the time they are tabled in Parliament, or they are considered later by the Publications Committees and a recommendation for inclusion in the PPS is made to the relevant House, which usually accepts the Committee's recommendation.
Organisations, such as State, publicly funded university and parliamentary libraries receive the PPS free of charge. In this way, the more significant tabled documents dating from federation are available throughout Australia for use by students, researchers and other sections of the public.
The series is therefore a major reference source for information on the role and activities of the Australian Parliament and Government.