Parliamentary Service Amendment Bill 2004


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Bills Digest No. 31 2004–05

Parliamentary Service Amendment Bill 2004

WARNING:
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

CONTENTS

Passage History
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Concluding Comments
Endnotes
Contact Officer & Copyright Details


Passage History

Parliamentary Service Amendment Bill 2004

Date Introduced: 21 June 2004

House: Senate

Commencement: Royal assent

No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government.

Thomas Jefferson to Hugh L. White, 1810.(1)

Conflict of interest

The Bill concerns the future structural arrangement of the parliamentary research and information services under the auspices of a Parliamentary Librarian. As employees of the Information and Research Services Group of the Parliamentary Library, the preparation of this Bills Digest raises a conflict of interest. Every effort has been made to canvas the range of issues generated by the Bill and we have referred to the approach taken by other jurisdictions. We are grateful to the three external readers who have provided an additional perspective. We appreciate the generous gesture of Professor George Williams, Director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Professor John McMillan, Commonwealth Ombudsman and Ms. Lorraine Weinman, Legal Library Adviser and former Principal Librarian, Commonwealth Attorney-General s Department in providing critical comment on this publication.(2)

Purpose

The purpose of the Bill is to create a statutory position of Parliamentary Librarian and to set out the functions, resourcing and reporting obligations of the position.

Background

The Australian Parliamentary Library

The Parliamentary Library was established in June 1901. The Joint Library Committee was appointed in June 1901 to supervise the Library of the Commonwealth Parliament. The Public Service Act 1901 recognised the Library as a separate Department of State under its own Permanent Head, the Parliamentary Librarian. Like the Joint House Department, it was jointly controlled by the Senate and the House of Representatives by the Speaker and President.

The Podger report

The Bill is in response to the recommendations of the Review by the Parliamentary Service Commissioner of aspects of the administration of the Parliament, (more popularly know as the Podger report) in respect of the creation of the role of Parliamentary Librarian.(3) Podger s report stated that the amalgamation of the three service provision departments (the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Services, the Department of the Parliamentary Library and the Joint House Department) would deliver cost efficiencies, while not impinging on the independence of the chamber departments or adversely affecting the services provided to senators and members.(4) In his report, Podger detailed the history of the amalgamation proposals.(5) The report emphasised that the [amalgamation] option would need to be implemented in a way that would protect the independence of the Librarian .(6)

The Podger report noted that:

The Parliamentary Librarian could act as the executive manager of the library function, with independence from the Departmental Secretary in respect of the Library s confidential and impartial client service functions.(7)

The Podger report made four recommendations in relation to the structure of the parliamentary departments and the role of the Parliamentary Library within an amalgamated structure. Those recommendations were:

Recommendation 5.1: The position of Parliamentary Librarian be established at a senior level within the amalgamated service provision Department.

Recommendation 5.2: The independence of the Parliamentary Library be granted by Charter from the Presiding Officers.

Recommendation 5.3: The independence of the Parliamentary Library be reinforced by strengthening the current terms of reference for the joint Library Committee.

Recommendation 5.4: The resources and services to the Library in the amalgamated department be specified in an annual agreement between the Departmental Secretary and the Parliamentary Librarian, approved by the Presiding Officers following consideration by the joint Library Committee.

Recommendations 5.1 and 5.4 are matters which have been addressed in the Bill. Recommendations 5.2 and 5.3 are matters to be pursued by the Presiding Officers and the Library Committee.(8)

The Parliamentary Library

The Podger report noted that the provision of non-partisan advice and services is:

a requirement of the Parliamentary Service Values, which is reinforced by the core Library personal values of professionalism, confidentiality, impartiality and integrity.(9)

Podger considered whether the independence of the Library itself should be protected.(10) Podger flagged, and then put to one side, the question of statutory recognition of the independence of the Library.(11) Podger did not make any specific recommendations in relation to the role or independence of the Library.

The role of the Parliamentary Librarian

Commissioner Podger saw the need to safeguard the independence of the role of Parliamentary Librarian. Podger believed that core values [Parliamentary Service Values and Library personal values] are a critical element of the ongoing independence of the Library .(12) Podger canvassed the option of creating a statutory position of Parliamentary Librarian - however, he stopped short of recommending the creation of such a position.(13)

Parliamentary resolutions

In response to the Podger report s recommendations, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives tabled resolutions establishing the Department of Parliamentary Services (August resolutions).(14) The resolutions emphasised the importance of protecting the independence of the Parliamentary Library and specified a range of protective mechanisms to that end.

The steps leading to the creation of the role of Parliamentary Librarian were summarised in the second reading speech tabled by Senate President Paul Calvert on 18 August 2003.(15) Both Houses of Parliament resolved to abolish the three joint parliamentary departments, to replace them with a new Department of Parliamentary Services and to create a statutory office of the Parliamentary Librarian within the new department.

In relation to the other matters that Podger mentioned, Parliament also explicitly supported strengthening the role of the Library Committee, provided for direct reporting by the Parliamentary Librarian to the Library Committee and called for the development of a resource agreement between the Parliamentary Librarian and the Secretary of the joint Department.(16)

On 24 March 2004, the Presiding Officers announced in Parliament the terms of the package of proposals that would implement the Podger report and August resolutions.(17) They included matters agreed in the August resolutions, but added:

Another element of protecting the library s independence is that the bill will require the Parliamentary Librarian to have professional qualifications in librarianship or information management and/or professional membership of a recognised professional association in such a discipline.

Main Provisions

The Bill has two schedules: the first establishes and provides for the office of the Parliamentary Librarian and is explained in detail below; the second makes minor related amendments to the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976 and the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.(18)

The Bill establishes and provides for the office of the Parliamentary Librarian by inserting a new Division 3 into Part 4 of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999
(item 8 of schedule 1). Currently, Division 1 provides for the employment of Parliamentary Service employees and Division 2 establishes the Senior Executive Service. Proposed Division 3 would deal with the Parliamentary Librarian.

Establishment of the office of Parliamentary Librarian

Proposed section 38A establishes the office of the Parliamentary Librarian.

The office will be established within the Department of Parliamentary Services (or such other joint department as the presiding officers designate) (item 2 and item 10 of schedule 1).

This part of the Bill implements the parliamentary resolution to provide for a statutory position of Parliamentary Librarian within the new joint service department .(19) As mentioned above, by making the Parliamentary Librarian a statutory office, the Bill goes beyond the Podger report recommendation that the position of Parliamentary Librarian be established at a senior level within the amalgamated service provision Department .(20)

Function and responsibilities of the Parliamentary Librarian

The Parliamentary Librarian s function will be to provide high quality information, analysis and advice to Senators and Members of the House of Representatives in support of their parliamentary and representational roles (proposed paragraph 38B (1) (a)).

In addition, the Secretary may confer on the Parliamentary Librarian other responsibilities within the Department of Parliamentary Services, provided that those responsibilities are:

  • consistent with the first mentioned function

  • conferred in writing, and

  • have the approval of the President and Speaker (proposed paragraph 38B (1) (b)).

This provision gives the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services the flexibility to broaden the responsibilities of the Parliamentary Librarian provided there is no detrimental impact on the fulfilment of the statutory function of providing high quality information, analysis and advice.

Conditions on the manner in which information, analysis and advice must be provided are imposed by proposed subsection 38B (2). The information, analysis and advice must:

  • be timely, impartial and confidential

  • maintain the highest standards of scholarship and integrity

  • be on the basis of equal access for all senators, members, parliamentary committees and staff of the same, and

  • have regard to the independence of Parliament from the Executive.

Library Committee

The Bill defines for the first time in legislation the term Library Committee . The Library Committee is the committee or committees of the Houses of Parliament that advise the Presiding Officers in respect of the functions of the Parliamentary Librarian (item 3 of schedule 1).

Role of the Library Committee

The Senate and the House of Representatives elect their own Library Committees, which then meet together as a joint Library Committee.(21) The chair rotates between the President and the Speaker, both of whom serve on their respective Committee. The Committees have no powers of inquiry or report and function as advisory bodies to the Presiding Officers in relation to the operations and administration of the parliamentary library.(22)

Reporting to the Library Committees and the Presiding Officers

The Parliamentary Librarian must report on the performance of his or her function to the Presiding Officers annually (new subsection 65(3) in item 12).(23) Requiring a report to the Library Committee is consistent with Podger s recognition of the important role of the Library Committees. The Parliamentary Librarian must also report on the performance of his or her functions on request, and at a minimum once every financial year, to the Library Committee (proposed section 38H).(24)

This provision can be interpreted in a number of ways. It could be interpreted that the Parliamentary Librarian has a purely formal reporting obligation to the Library Committee. Alternatively, it may authorise the Parliamentary Librarian to develop an ongoing presence at regular meetings of the Library Committee.

A narrow reading of the Parliamentary Librarian s role and engagement with the Library Committee could limit the opportunities for the free flow of ideas and expectations between senators and members and would reverse the past practice of the Parliamentary Librarian attending Library Committee meetings.

Appointment and termination of the Parliamentary Librarian

The Parliamentary Librarian will be appointed for a fixed-term appointment of five years (proposed subsection 38C (1)), and the appointment is subject to termination by notice in writing at any time (proposed subsection 38D (1)). The Bill is silent on the issue of whether the Parliamentary Librarian can be re-appointed for additional terms of office.

The Presiding Officers will determine appointment and termination, but the Bill guarantees other input into these decisions. In the case of appointment, the Presiding Officers decision is subject to receiving a report from the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services regarding the vacancy (proposed subsection 38C (2)). This is a sensible approach given the close working relationship between the Secretary and the Parliamentary Librarian.

In the case where the termination of the Parliamentary Librarian is being considered, the Presiding Officers must first receive a report from the Parliamentary Service Commissioner (proposed subsection 38D (2)). This guaranteed consultation with the Commissioner is consistent with the Commissioner s functions and provides an element of protection for the Parliamentary Librarian.(25) The Presiding Officers may appoint an acting Parliamentary Librarian, but the appointee in those circumstances must meet the same professional requirements as stipulated for the Parliamentary Librarian (proposed section 38F).

Ms Weinman, former Principal Librarian, Commonwealth Attorney-General s Department, argued that a Deputy Parliamentary Librarian should be appointed to assist the Parliamentary Librarian in carrying out his or her functions. According to Ms Weinman, as the requirements for an acting Parliamentary Librarian mirror the requirements for the principal position, and are specific, there is a need to create a deputy position in order to smoothly deal with absences by the Parliamentary Librarian and to enhance succession planning (proposed subsection 38F (2)).

Professional qualifications for appointment as the Parliamentary Librarian

The Bill requires the appointee to have either or both of the following:

  • professional qualifications in librarianship or information management,

  • professional membership of a recognised professional association in the discipline of librarianship or information management (proposed subsection 38C (3)).

The requirement for specific librarianship or information management-related qualifications is consistent with the Podger report s recommendation. The report notes that:

The Library provides an integrated library and research service and it would be important that the Librarian had strong relevant professional qualifications.(26)

It is conceivable that Podger s recommendation could have included other qualifications besides librarianship and information management. The central issue is whether the nature of the Parliamentary Library requires professional library and/or information management qualifications for the person chosen to be the Parliamentary Librarian. One argument is that it does. Formal training in the acquisition, management and dissemination of the multitude of public information now available especially how to evaluate, organise and distribute this in a directed and efficient manner could be viewed as significant to the Australian Parliamentary Library's role as an information and research service for the Parliament.

Information-management skills are likely to be highly relevant to the position. However, it is arguable that there are other relevant professional qualifications that could yield a strong candidate for the position. Exceptional leadership, management, communication and organisation skills may be found in a range of professional areas and it would seem to be counterproductive to unduly narrow the pool of potential applicants for the position of Parliamentary Librarian. The eventual appointee may in fact have librarianship or information management qualifications; however, from an institutional perspective it may be preferable to be able to consider a wide pool of applicants with the necessary experience to undertake the role.

Press commentary on relevant qualifications for the Parliamentary Librarian

The announcement in Parliament on 24 March 2004 of the package of proposals that led to the Bill drew some commentary in the Canberra Times, in its monthly supplement, the Public Sector Informant. In April, May, June and July, the Informant ran articles and a letter that considered the question of relevant qualifications for the Parliamentary Librarian position.(27)

Arguments against linking eligibility for the position to those with librarian or information management-related qualifications or membership included that:

  • in principle, the pool of candidates should be drawn from as wide a field as possible

  • the range of work within the library requires an equivalent skill-range in its leaders

  • there is precedent for successful leadership without those qualifications(28)

  • it may operate to restrict development of other appropriate services and structures, and

  • morale may decline among those staff barred from the top position in the organisation.

Arguments in favour of specifying particular qualifications included that:
  • the primary function of the Parliamentary Library is to operate as a library and in that context leadership requires specific qualifications, and

  • the position, as head of a flagship institution within the library profession, is a key one for the profession.

Remuneration and other conditions

The Presiding Officers will set the remuneration and other conditions of employment of the Parliamentary Librarian (proposed subsection 38E (1)). However, they must seek, and take account of, advice from the Remuneration Tribunal (proposed subsection 38E (2)). Determinations are to be made public by publication in the Gazette and tabling in both chambers of the Parliament (proposed subsection 38E (3)).

Resources and services for the Parliamentary Librarian

The Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services is to provide the resources for the Parliamentary Librarian pursuant to an annual agreement between them that is approved by the Presiding Officers after taking the advice of the Library Committee (proposed section 38G(1)). Podger noted that it is important to ensure that the Library receives adequate resources and services from the service-provision department .(29) The wording of proposed section 38G(1) refers only to the provision of resources rather than resources and services as specified in the Podger report.(30) It is unclear whether there would be any significant effect caused by this wording of the Bill.

Copyright privileges

Sections 48A and 104A of the Copyright Act 1968 make special provision in relation to libraries that provide library services for members of Parliament. Proposed section 38I ensures that those provisions continue to operate in relation to the part of the Department of Parliamentary Services that provides library services and that the Parliamentary Librarian heads.

Other minor amendments

Schedule 1 of the Bill also makes the following minor changes consequent on the establishment of the office of the Parliamentary Librarian. It:

  • augments the objects of the Parliamentary Service Act to include the definition of the powers and responsibilities of the Parliamentary Librarian (item 1)

  • constitutes the Parliamentary Librarian within the Australian Parliamentary Service (item 5)

  • renames the title of Part 4 of the Act to include reference to the Parliamentary Librarian (item 7)

  • ensures that the Presiding Officers may determine that judgment debts may be deducted, where necessary, from the salary of any Parliamentary Librarian as well as from the salary of the Secretary or a Parliamentary Service employee (item 13), and

  • ensures the effective operation of the Department of Parliamentary Services by authorising the Secretary to delegate powers or functions to the Parliamentary Librarian, who can then further delegate such powers or functions (items 14 to 17).

Comparative Approaches

It is instructive to consider the approaches to the notion of impartiality in the provision of information to elected representatives and accountability of parliamentary libraries in other jurisdictions. The major parliamentary libraries, such as the House of Commons Library (United Kingdom), the Library of Congress (United States) and the Library of Parliament (Canada) all emanated from the 18th century Age of Enlightenment .(31) The philosophies of the Enlightenment valued democratic ideals in government.(32)

House of Commons Library, United Kingdom

The House of Commons Library had its beginnings in 1547 when the Clerk of the Commons compiled the first manuscript journal of the proceedings of the Commons.(33) In 1742 the House of Commons printed the journals, which later became the ordered and authoritative record of parliament .(34) The House of Commons Library was made an independent Department of the House in 1967. This independence was enshrined in legislation as part of the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978 [UK]. However, the Act does not specifically mention the independence of the service provided to members.

In 1835, Librarian of the Commons Thomas Vardon summarised the services of the library when he said that the essential purpose of the Library is to supply Members with information rapidly on any of the multifarious matters which come before the House, or to which their attentions are drawn by their parliamentary duties .(35)

Congressional Research Service, United States of America

The Library of Congress was created in 1800. Its purpose was to acquire such materials as will enable statesmen to be correct in their investigation and, by a becoming display of erudition and research, give a higher dignity and a brighter luster to truth .(36) By 1914, the library had become a national library and a discrete unit was formed to serve members exclusively. In 1946, this service was made a separate library department called the Legislative Reference Service. The requirements of the service are set out in the Legislative Reorganization Act 1946 [US]. The Act also provided for senior subject specialists to be employed in particular areas of interest to the Congress. The service was examined again in the 1960s and in 1970 the Legislative Reorganization Act 1970 [US] changed its name to the Congressional Research Service. As a consequence of the amendments, the Congressional Research Service acquired responsibility for servicing congressional committees.

The obligations of the Congressional Research Service to Congress are set out in the United States Code Annotated.(37) The Librarian of Congress is required to grant the Congressional Research Service complete research independence and the maximum practicable administrative independence consistent with the functions and objectives of the Congressional Research Service as set out in the Code.(38)

Library of Parliament, Canada

The Library of Parliament in Canada can trace its origins to 1791. Like the Library of Congress, and the Australian Parliamentary Library, it developed as a national library and served this function until the National Library in Canada was created in 1952. (The National Library of Australia was constituted as a separate entity from the Australian Parliamentary Library in 1960.)

Canada s Library of Parliament serves a wide range of clients, including senators, members, their staff, officers of the two houses, justices of the Supreme Court, the Federal Court, the Governor-General, Members of the Privy Council and the Parliamentary Press gallery. However, the services of the research branch are restricted to parliamentarians only.(39) The Library of Parliament is a separate unit within Parliament and its authority is derived from Part V of the Parliament of Canada Act [Canada].(40) The Parliamentary Librarian reports directly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, who are responsible for the direction and control of the Library.(41)

The Library of Parliament s Research Branch offers non-partisan research services to all members of Parliament, across a broad range of subject areas.(42) Caccia, a member of the Canadian parliament notes that:

If knowledge is a form of power, one has to recognize that access to knowledge of good quality is already available to the average MP [in Canada].(43)

Concluding Comments

The scope of independence and the Parliamentary Librarian

There is an inherent tension in the view reflected in the Bill that there should be legislation ensuring independence for the Parliamentary Librarian but not necessarily for the Library or research and information services managed by the Parliamentary Librarian. For example, in the United States, the Librarian of Congress is required to grant the Congressional Research Service complete research independence and the maximum practicable administrative independence [as consistent with section 166(b)(2) Title 2 of the United States Code]. In other jurisdictions there has been an explicit recognition of the separation of role and function between the manager of the library and the library itself. This Bill is silent on the issue. There is no mention of the Parliamentary Library or a comparable information and research service performing that function.

Podger envisaged that the Parliamentary Library s independence would be sufficiently protected through:

  • the creation of a senior position of Parliamentary Librarian within the joint Department with independence granted by charter from the Presiding Officers in respect of the library s confidential and impartial client service functions

  • the strengthening of the terms of reference of the Library Committees that advise the Presiding Officers on matters affecting the library to charge them with considering any matter relating to the independence of the Parliamentary Librarian

  • granting the Parliamentary Librarian direct reporting to the Library Committees and the Presiding Officers(44)

  • a resource agreement to be negotiated annually between the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services and the Parliamentary Librarian, approved by the Presiding Officers after consultation with the joint Library Committee

  • the Parliamentary Librarian having strong relevant professional qualifications, and

  • the core values of the staff of the Parliamentary Library, including professionalism, confidentiality, impartiality and integrity reinforced by the values in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.(45)

With the possible exception of the qualifications required of the Parliamentary Librarian, the Bill corresponds with the specifications set out in the Podger report. The Presiding Officers parliamentary resolutions aimed at protecting the independence of the Parliamentary Library went one step further than the Podger report and required the creation of a statutory position of Parliamentary Librarian and a direct reporting mechanism between the Parliamentary Librarian, the Presiding Officers and the Library Committees of both Houses of Parliament.(46) However independence for the Library itself was not covered by the Presiding Officers and has not been provided for in this Bill.

The statutory function of the Parliamentary Librarian while brief can be interpreted broadly.(47) This raises important questions about the role and resourcing of the Parliamentary Librarian. The potential scope of the statutory function is likely to attract candidates who, with the Secretary s agreement, can shape the position. However, Parliament should note that the consequence of a narrow interpretation of the statutory function set out in proposed subsection 38B(1) could be that the resource agreement may be limited to just that function.

A review of the approach taken by other parliamentary research services is instructive in any consideration of the role and function of the Parliamentary Librarian under this Bill. Other parliamentary libraries have, either legislatively or by convention, been conscientious in preserving the independence of information and research services provided to elected representatives.

It may be that the continued independence of the research and information services provided to the Australian Parliament will be sufficiently protected by the creation of the statutory office of Parliamentary Librarian and the implementation of the safeguards the Presiding Officers set out in the August resolutions. However, the prescriptive wording of the Bill in relation to the qualifications of the Parliamentary Librarian and the larger question of whether there should be a legislative safeguard for the independence of the information and research services provided to the Parliament are matters worthy of careful consideration.

Endnotes

  1. T. Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Edition), Lipscomb and Bergh, (eds.), Washington D. C., vol. 12, 1903-4 at p. 387.

  2. We would like to thank Libby Bunyan, Patrick O Neill, Catherine Lorimer and Sarah Miskin for their contribution to the development of the Bills Digest. We are very appreciative of the research work undertaken by Patrick O Neill in relation to the history of the office of Parliamentary Librarian .

  3. A. Podger, Review by the Parliamentary Service Commissioner of Aspects of the Administration of the Parliament, Final Report, September 2002.

  4. ibid., p. 45.

  5. The amalgamation of the Departments of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the three service departments into a single department was proposed in 1910, 1933, 1953, 1996, and into two departments in 1997. An attempt to amalgamate the former Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff and the Department of the Parliamentary Library was made in 1993. Finally, there were four earlier attempts to amalgamate the three service departments, in 1977, 1980, 1988 and 1996. See the Podger report, ibid., pp. 41-44.

  6. ibid., p. 46.

  7. Podger report, op. cit., p. 47.

  8. Section 2 of the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965 specifies that Presiding Officer means:

    (a)    in relation to the Senate the President of the Senate;

    (b)   in relation to the House of Representatives the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

  9. ibid., p. 47.

  10. ibid., p. 48.

  11. ibid.

  12. ibid., p. 47.

  13. ibid., p. 47. Previously, the Secretary of the Department of the Parliamentary Library was effectively the Parliamentary Librarian. All the Secretaries report to the Presiding Officers, with oversight from the Library Committee, and that has been constant since 1901.

  14. Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , House of Representatives, Debates, 14 August 2003, p. 18509; Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , Senate, Debates, 18 August 2003, p. 13780.

  15. Senator Paul Calvert, Parliamentary departments: proposed department of Parliamentary Services , Senate, Debates, 18 August 2003, p. 13498.

  16. Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , House of Representatives, Debates, 14 August 2003, p. 18509; Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , Senate, Debates, 18 August 2003, p. 13780.

  17. Parliamentary Library matters , House of Representatives, Debates, 24 March 2004, p. 27003; Parliamentary Library , Senate, Debates, 24 March 2004, p. 21755.

  18. The President and the Speaker may delegate their powers under the Long Service Leave Act (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976 to the Secretary and officers in the Department of Parliamentary Services (subsections 9B(1) and (4)). Item 1 of schedule 2 allows the President and Speaker also to delegate to the Parliamentary Librarian.

    The Remuneration Tribunal provides advice in relation to terms and conditions, including remuneration and allowances, for the office of Secretaries to Parliamentary Departments (subsection 5(2D)). Item 2 of schedule 2 enables it also to provide that advice for the office of the Parliamentary Librarian.

  19. Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , House of Representatives, Debates, 14 August 2003, p. 18509; Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , Senate, Debates, 18 August 2003, p. 13780.

  20. Podger report, op. cit., recommendation 5.1, p. 49.

  21. House of Representatives Standing Order 326; Senate Standing Order 20.

  22. In 1981, in the context of the appointment of a new Parliamentary Librarian and an earlier proposal to merge the three joint parliamentary departments, there was an unsuccessful attempt by Opposition Senators to give the Senate Library Committee power to pass substantive resolutions, with the aim of influencing the proposal. Odger records that:

    dissatisfaction with the committee s inability to influence this process led to the resignations of the Opposition senators on the committee. After debate over two days, the following, amended resolution was agreed to:

    (1) That the Senate is of the opinion that the Joint Parliamentary Library Committee should be given specific terms of reference, including the power to pass resolutions.

    (2) That the President be requested to ensure that in the appointment of a new Parliamentary Librarian, the Parliamentary Library Committee be kept informed of the procedures to be adopted in the appointment of such Librarian, and given an opportunity to express its views. (26/11/1981, J.705; SD, 24/11/1981, pp 2483-8 and 26/11/1981, pp 2666-72).

    The matter of specific terms of reference has not been pursued. H. Evans (ed.) Odgers Australian Senate practice, Department of the Senate, Canberra, 2001, pp. 371-372.

  23. Item 12 of the Bill states that this report must be part of the Department of Parliamentary Services annual report.

  24. The term Library Committee is defined in the Bill.

  25. The Parliamentary Services Commissioner s functions include to give advice to the Presiding Officers on the management policies and practices of the Parliamentary Service . See generally Parliamentary Service Act 1999, s. 40.

  26. Podger report, op. cit., p. 47.

  27. D. Woolner, When is a library not a library? , Canberra Times Public Sector Informant, April 2004, p. 2; When is a library a think-tank? , Canberra Times Public Sector Informant, May 2004 [response to Woolner article] p. 2; D. Woolner, Letter: Parliamentary Library debate, Canberra Times Public Sector Informant, June 2004, p. 2; S. Sherlock, Good management is what matters , Canberra Times Public Sector Informant, July 2004, p.4.

  28. Between 1901 to the present, there have been eight Parliamentary Librarians. They were:
    Arthur Wadsworth 1901-1927 (librarian); Kenneth Binns 1928-1947 (librarian); Sir Harold White 1947-1967 (librarian); Allan Fleming 1968-1970 (journalist, diplomat); Andrew Moore 1970-1978 (public servant, diplomat); Harold Weir 1978-1981 (psychologist); Hillas MacLean 1981-1992 (librarian); John Templeton 1991-2004 (journalist, public servant).

  29. Podger report, op.cit., p. 49. See Recommendation 5.4.

  30. Podger report, ibid.

  31. Enlightenment , a term generally used to describe the philosophic, scientific, and rational spirit, the freedom from superstition, the scepticism and faith in religious tolerance of much of 18th century Europe. See Enlightenment , M. Drabble and J. Stringer (eds.), The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford University Press, 1996.

  32. T. Paine, The Rights of Man: being an answer to Mr. Burke s attack on the French revolution (introd. by E. Foner), Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England, Penguin Books, 1984.

  33. House of Commons Library, Information Factsheet G18, p. 3.

  34. ibid.

  35. ibid., p. 6

  36. Chairman of the First Joint Committee on the Library, Senator Samuel Latham Mitchell, in Joseph Ross and Hugh Finstein, Research Services in Congress and Parliament, Canadian Parliamentary Review, vol.11, no. 4, Winter 1988-89 at p. 10.

  37. USCA 2 s.166 (b) (2). The legislation deals with the functions and objectives of the Service, the appointment and conditions of service relating to the Director, Deputy Director and other necessary personnel, duties of service as well as procedures on the joint Committee on the Library.

  38. ibid.

  39. Ross and Finstein, op. cit., at p. 11.

  40. Part V of the Parliament of Canada Act (RSC 1985, c.P-1).

  41. Ross and Finstein, op. cit., at p. 11.

  42. C. Caccia, Democratic Deficit? What Democratic Deficit? , Policy Options, vol. 25, no. 2, May 2004, pp. 48-51 at p. 48.

  43. ibid.

  44. Podger report, op.cit., p. 46.

  45. Podger report, op.cit., pp. 47 49.

  46. Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , Senate Debates, 18 August 2003, p. 13498; Parliamentary departments: proposed Department of Parliamentary Services , House of Representatives, Debates, Hansard, 14 August 2003, p. 18509.

  47. Schedule 1, Item 8 of the Parliamentary Service Amendment Bill 2004 at clause 38B lists the functions of the Parliamentary Librarian.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Jane Grace and Moira Coombs
12 August 2004
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to senators and members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 2004

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Parliamentary Library, 2004.

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