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There are two search types:
Most of the time you'll want to search for speeches so that you can get into the content quickly. But the debate search is useful if, for example, you want to track the passage of particular bills through Parliament.
By default the search index assumes you want an 'OR' between all your keywords. So if you search Hansard speeches for
chinese women you'll get back speeches that contain either 'chinese' or 'women'. You can control this by using boolean operators, for example:
chinese +womento search for speeches that contain both words
chinese +-questionto search for debate titles that include 'chinese' but not 'question'
(allowance pension) +motherto search for either 'allowance' or 'pension' plus 'mother'
There's a certain amount of fuzziness built-in to match things like plurals and alternate spellings. If you want to search for an exact phrase, or a particular form of a word, use double quotes:
"women's rights"to find the exact phrase
"woman" +rightsto find 'woman' (but not women) and 'rights'
For a bit of extra fuzziness you can use wildcard characters:
chin*to match any word beginning with 'chin', including 'China', 'Chinese', and 'Chinamen'
For more precision you can use proximity searches to set a maximum distance between your keywords:
"chinese naturalisation"~5to find the words 'chinese' and 'naturalisation' withing five words of each other
You can filter results by:
You can also use House, Parliament, or Speaker without supplying any keywords. For example you could search for all speeches by Alfred Deakin during the first parliament.
You can download the results of your search as a CSV formatted file for further analysis. You should be able to open this file in any spreadsheet program.