The department is one of the three parliamentary departments supporting the Australian Parliament.
The main responsibility of the department is the effective and efficient provision of advisory and administrative support services to enable the Senate and senators to fulfil their representative and legislative duties.
The department also runs education and awareness activities and produces information resources to promote a better understanding of parliamentary processes.
These responsibilities are reflected in the intermediate outcomes shown in the diagram on the opposite page.
The department is responsible to the Senate through the President of the Senate. The administrative head of the department is the Clerk of the Senate. The department is organised into five offices:
- Clerk’s Office – provides procedural and constitutional advice in relation to the proceedings of the Senate and its committees; strategic direction for the department; central co-ordination of the department's information resources; secretariat support for the Procedure Committee, the Committee of Privileges and the Committee of Senators' Interests; and maintains the Register of Senators' Interests.
- Table Office – provides programming and procedural support to the Senate; processes legislation and documents, and archives records of the Senate; produces records of Senate business and proceedings, and produces and disseminates information and resources to promote a better understanding of the work of the Senate; provides document distribution and inquiries services; and provides secretariat support to several domestic committees.
- Procedure Office—provides advisory and drafting services to non-government senators, secretariat support for the legislative scrutiny committees and policy support for inter-parliamentary relations; conducts parliamentary research; and promotes community awareness and knowledge of the Senate and the parliament.
- Committee Office – provides secretariat support for most Senate and certain joint committees and facilitates the public’s awareness of and involvement in the work of committees.
- Black Rod’s Office - provides office, chamber and committee room support; information technology and ceremonial services; security advice; and corporate services to the Senate, senators and departmental staff.
Resources made available in the Budget year
Table A: Resources made available in the Budget year
Appropriations and variations
The departmental appropriation of $21.6m for 2011-12 (compared to $20.5m for 2010-11) includes additional funding for one new initiative. The additional funding covers amounts for both 2011-12 ($0.5m) and 2010-11($0.3m). Further detail about the new initiative is provided in Table 1.2.
Figure 2: Departmental appropriation by Office ($’000)
Figure 3: Departmental appropriation by Office (% of total)
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