The department is one of the four parliamentary departments supporting the Australian Parliament.
The department provides advisory and administrative support services to enable the Senate and senators to fulfil their representative and legislative duties. In doing so, the department supports the operations of the Senate and its committees, and promotes public awareness of their role and work.
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 agenda and records of Senate business and proceedings; 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 through the Parliamentary Education Office and a seminar program.
- Committee Office – provides secretariat support for most Senate committees and certain joint committees and facilitates the public’s awareness of and involvement in the work of committees.
- Black Rod’s Office – provides to senators and departmental staff office, chamber and committee room support; information technology and ceremonial services; security advice; corporate services; and administration of certain entitlements.
Resources made available in the Budget year
Table A: Resources made available in the Budget year
Appropriations and variations
The departmental appropriation of $21.1m for 2012-13 is lower, compared to $21.6m for 2011-12. This is mainly due to the application of an additional “one-off” efficiency dividend for the budget year. The appropriation for 2012-13 includes funding of ($0.5m) for the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, which ceases at the end of 2012-13, and ongoing funding of ($0.4m) for the newly formed Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Figure 2: Departmental appropriation by Office ($’000)
Figure 3: Departmental appropriation by Office (% of total)
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