Newly available archival documents give insight into the Hawke Government (1983-1991) political and consultative processes, which resulted in the Australia’s Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Act 1987 (Cth). The recently unpacked private papers from 1984 of Dr Craig Emerson (a Ministerial economic advisor at the time of petroleum tax reform) provide a unique perspective into the consultative process via hand-written files, draft reports with annotations, and personal observations. Further, relevant files from the National Archives of Australia reveal the government’s petroleum tax reform discussion papers, media statements, industry responses to the tax, comparative tax modelling and the records of consultative meetings from 1984. This paper draws on these new files to provide a brief narrative and identify the dominant stakeholders in the route to petroleum tax reform for a later more detailed enquiry by the author into the roles of key persons in the progression of resource policy to legislation. This paper is the result of preliminary research into government archival files, which have just been released, at the request of the author. Thus the archival files, as well as the Emerson files, have been accessed for the first time.