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Administrative Arrangement Orders ontology

This is an OWL2 ontology that models the elements within the Australian Government's Administrative Arrangement Orders (AAOs).

This ontology and instance data have been created for the Longitudinal Spine of Government Functions project which is a Platforms for Open Data-funded project involving CSIRO, the Department of Finance, the National Archives of Australia and other interested agencies.


A sample dataset using this ontology is available.


This ontology is based on the current structure of an AAO instance as listed at the Federal Register of Legislation, e.g. AAO for "2nd Gillard Adminstration" . A comprehensive archive of AAOs is also available from the National Archives of Australia.


AAO ontology Dependencies


The AAO ontology is partitioned into two namespaces, aao: and leg:, and uses elements from the Au Org Ontology in the namespace auorg:.


An AAO is composed of a set of numbered Parts, each relating to a single Department of State which provides a list of the matters dealt with and the legislation administered by the department. Each Matter is expressed as a text phrase. Each item of Legislation is either (i) one dated Act optionally excluding one or more parts, or (ii) one or more parts of an Act. Thus, the ontology includes classes for each of these concepts:

Figure: The AAO ontology's main classes and properties.

Adminstrative Arrangement Order


is an Administrative Arrangements Order. When issued, it replaces the previous AAO. The time interval that it is in force is indicated using dct:temporal and ends when it is replaced. It is subject to amendment by a aao:AAO-Amendment


is an Association Class which

  • links the department to the matters and legislation that it is responsible for while this AAO is in force
  • asserts the existence of a matter specified using the given wording, while this AAO is in force

Legislation and matters

Administered legislation refers to an leg:Act, optionally with excluded parts that are administered by another department.


is the superclass of acts, legislative-, notifiable-, and prerogative-instruments, which are listed in the Federal Register of Legislation.


is an Act of Parliament. The year that it was enacted is indicated by the dct:date. An Act is composed of one or more leg:Act-Part


is a collection which refers to either

  • an leg:Act excluding some leg:Act-Part(s), else to
  • a group of leg:Act-Part excluded from the administrative responsibility of another department.


is an area of responsibility denoted by its rdfs:label which is a descriptive phrase.

A key question is how aao:Matter relates to agrif:Function (which is defined as part of the Commonwealth Record Series system ontology.


The description of each Department of State should be formalized as an auorg:DepartmentOfState using the Au Org Ontology.

Each department is part of a auorg:Portfolio

Ontology representations


Time sequence

Processing the AAOs into a time-sequence with OWL-Time relationships is described in aao-time-processing - results in aao-time.ttl

Responsibility for Functions

Processing the AAOs to get a view of functional responsibility is described in function-responsibility - results in aao-all.ttl



PROV-O provides a standard formalization of the relationships between Entities (e.g. Legislation), Agents (e.g. Departments and Agencies) and Activities.

PROV Ontology

The main classes in the AAO ontology can be aligned to the W3C PROV Ontology as shown in the following diagram:


Figure: provisional alignment of the principal classes from the AAO Ontology with PROV-O.


ORG provides a standard formalization of organizational structures, organizational change events, and the relationships between persons and organizations.

Organization ontology

The main classes in the AAO ontology can be aligned to the W3C Organization Ontology as shown in the following diagram:


Figure: provisional alignment of the principal classes from the AAO Ontology with ORG.


The time interval during which an AAO is in force will be related to other time intervals describing aspects of government, such as

  • parliaments
  • governments
  • ministries

The relationships between these may be described following the relationships defined by Allen:

Allen's interval relations


This ontology and all other content in this repository are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) (local copy of deed: LICENSE).


Ontology author:
Nicholas Car
Senior Experimental Scientist
CSIRO Land & Water, Brisbane, Australia

Simon J D Cox
Research Scientist
CSIRO Land & Water, Melbourne, Australia

Data preparation & modelling:
David Morton
Department of Finance


An ontology for describing the parts of the Australian Government's Administrative Arrangement Orders







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