The Parliamentary Service was established with the commencement of the Parliamentary Service Act on 5 December 1999.
The President of the Senate, Senator the Hon John Hogg and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Peter Slipper MP, as at 30 June 2012, were the Presiding Officers of the Parliament. Mr Slipper was appointed Speaker on 24 November 2011, replacing Mr Harry Jenkins MP.
In addition to their procedural roles in the chambers, the Presiding Officers are responsible for the operation and administration of the four parliamentary departments which comprise the Parliamentary Service. They have individual responsibility, respectively, for the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives and joint responsibility for the Department of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) and DPS.
The role of the Presiding Officers in relation to the parliamentary departments is somewhat similar to the role of a Minister in relation to a department of state.
Mr Stephen Sedgwick AO is the Commissioner. Mr Sedgwick's appointment is to 13 December 2014. He also holds the office of Australian Public Service Commissioner until that date.
Ms Annwyn Godwin is the Parliamentary Service Merit Protection Commissioner (Merit Protection Commissioner). Her appointment is to 24 January 2013. Ms Godwin also holds the office of Public Service Merit Protection Commissioner concurrently.
The Presiding Officers have in place a standing acting arrangement that applies when the Commissioner or the Merit Protection Commissioner are absent or there are vacancies in their offices or they are, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of their offices. These circumstances will usually occur in conjunction with similar circumstances in the respective Public Service offices. Under the standing arrangement, a person acting in either of the Public Service offices is also appointed to act in the relevant Parliamentary Service office.
There are no appropriations for the offices of the Commissioner or the Merit Protection Commissioner.