Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Great frustration with Australian official sites - help wanted

I was going to write my post on John Button's funeral tonight, but I wanted to check some facts first.

My initial needs were simple enough. I wanted to check precise details of Barry Jones career and especially the first date he became Minister Assisting John Button. I knew it was 1984, but I needed to be precise. I also wanted to check his exact title.

I could not find the details I wanted. Now there used to be a site, the Australian Parliamentary site, where you could access a lot of biographical data on past members. Another site, I thought that it was Australian Archives, had precise ministerial dates.

I have searched and searched for well over an hour now on these sites and others. Not only have I run out of time, but I am also very frustrated and therefore unenthusiastic about going on.

Precise details are important in some of the material I write.

In this case I finally thought to search on Administrative Arrangements Orders. These showed that the Department of Industry and Commerce became the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce on 13 December 1984, absorbing the technology functions from Barry's Department. So it was probably from this date that I started dealing with Barry as Minister Assisting. It was also from this time that I picked people and activities previously connected with DST.

Now this must all sound very arcane, but sometimes if you are writing on influences in public policy, you have to be very precise on dates to avoid making gross errors.

My request for help. If you know sites that contain precise details of the type of things that I am interested in, please let me know.


Anonymous said...

The APH website's lists of each ministry and its term of office confirms it was 13 December 1984, the first day of the second Hawke ministry.

Jim Belshaw said...

Grateful thanks, David. I must have been very tired; I absolutely missed this. I will bookmark

Anonymous said...

You may also be interested in items published by John Button in "The Monthly".