Graduate Program FAQs

How long has the graduate program been running?

The Parliament of Australia Graduate Program (the Program) was established by the Department of the House of Representatives in 2004.  In 2009, the Department of the Senate joined the Program and in 2014 the Parliamentary Budget Office will join the Program.

Which Parliamentary Departments will be offering placements in 2013?

The Department of the House of Representatives, the Department of the Senate and the Parliamentary Budget Office will be offering placements on the 2014 Program.

Do I need to be taking part in an Australian Government graduate program to be eligible?

Yes.  The purpose of the Program is to provide graduates working in other Australian Public Service departments and agencies with exposure to how their home department or agency interacts with the parliamentary departments in their support of the Parliament.

Which graduates are eligible to apply?

We will accept applications from graduates who are participating in 2013 or 2014 graduate programs. 2013 graduates can participate in the Program at the end of their graduate placement, 2014 graduates can participate during their graduate placement.

Do I need to get permission before applying from my department or agency?

Yes.  You will need to get the endorsement of your department or agency before you submit an application.  Applications which do not have the home departments' or agencies' endorsement will not be further considered.

What type of endorsement is required?

It is expected that you will have discussed your intention to apply for the Program with your graduate coordinator and have sought approval from the relevant person in your department or agency. You will be asked to confirm that you have your department's or agency's endorsement when submitting your online application. No written endorsement is required.

Are interstate graduates eligible?

Yes, interstate graduates are eligible to apply however they will need to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation.

How many graduates are you taking?

It is expected that six graduates will be selected for the Department of the House of Representatives, two graduates for the Department of the Senate and three graduates for the Parliamentary Budget Office for the 2014 Program.

How many applications will you accept from each department or agency?

There is no limit on the number of applications from each department or agency, selection is merit-based.

When does the program commence?

The dates of each placement are negotiated with the successful graduate's home department or agency.  Placements can occur at any time throughout the year, however, operational requirements will be considered when agreeing to commencement dates.

What is the duration of the program?

Placements with the Department of the House of Representatives and the Parliamentary Budget Office are for three months. Placements with the Department of the Senate are for six months.

Where will I be working?

All graduate placements are at Parliament House in Canberra.

What placements are available?

Where possible, graduate placements will be in areas which complement placements in a graduate's home department or agency.  Placements may involve:
  • work with a Committee Secretariat providing research and administrative support to Parliamentary Committees;
  • work with offices providing support to the House of Representatives or Senate Chambers;
  • work with the International and Community Relations Office, promoting the community’s understanding of, and interaction with, the work of the Houses and the Commonwealth Parliament or supporting the work of international parliamentary relations; or
  • work in the Fiscal Policy, Revenue Analysis and Program Analysis branches of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

What happens if an election is called during a placement?

If the placement has not yet commenced, the parliamentary departments may negotiate with your home department or agency a different placement commencement date.  If the placement has commenced, it may be necessary to provide a variety of other relevant tasks to complete.

What will my salary be?

Your salary continues to be administered by your home department or agency so it will not change.  At the completion of the placement salary, including associated costs will be reimbursed by the participating parliamentary department upon receipt of a tax invoice from your home department or agency.

What classification levels are acceptable?

Graduates up to the APS6 classification (or equivalent) will be accepted.

What will be my terms of employment?

The terms of employment during your placement will be those of your home department or agency.  However, you will be expected to comply with the Parliamentary Service Values and Code of Conduct.  If any dispute relating to your employment occurs while you are participating in the program, you will be taken to be an officer of the relevant parliamentary department and that parliamentary department's dispute resolution processes will be applied as far as possible.

What training is available to graduates?

Graduates will have access to parliamentary specific training during their placement.

Where can I find out about past participants' experiences in the program?

Testimonials of past graduates can be found at the Testimonials page.

When do applications open and close?

 Applications for the 2014 Parliament of Australia Graduate Program will open on 1 October 2013 and close on 31 October 2013.

Where can I obtain the selection criteria?

Selection documentation may be obtained from the Department of the House of Representatives website at, the Department of the Senate website at:, the Parliamentary Budget Office website at:, or the online recruitment system at: from 1 October 2013.

Do I need a security clearance?

Only placements with the Parliamentary Budget Office require a security clearance.  Applicants must already have a Negative Vetting Level 1 security clearance, or be in the process of obtaining such a clearance, for their application to be considered for a Parliamentary Budget Office placement.

Where will I be placed?

Applicants who are interested in a placement with the Department of the House of Representatives or the Department of the Senate will be asked to nominate which of these departments they are interested in being placed with. Applicants who are interested in a placement with the Parliamentary Budget Office will be required to submit a separate application. Applicants will only be considered for the department or departments they have nominated.

How do I apply?

Applications must be submitted using the online recruitment system at:  The Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate will jointly assess applicants.  The Parliamentary Budget Office will require a separate application and will conduct a separate assessment process.

Who can I contact for further information?

For further information please contact:

Tracy Weston, Assistant Director, People Strategies Office
Department of the House of Representatives
Telephone: (02) 6277 4146

Hermione Finemore, Assistant Director, Human Resource Management
Department of the Senate
Telephone: (02) 6277 3475

Jenny Jacobs, Director, Corporate Strategy
Parliamentary Budget Office
Telephone: (02) 6277 9522

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Need more information?

For further information about the Graduate program please contact:

Tracy Weston
Assistant Director, People Strategies
Department of the House of Representatives
Telephone:  (02) 6277 4146