About the Senate

The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It shares the power to make laws with the other House of Parliament, the House of Representatives. The Senate is elected by proportional representation, so that its composition closely reflects the voting pattern of the electors.

Parliament House Calendar

December 2016

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
272829301 Both23
456 Other7 Other8910
1112 Other1314151617
18192021222324
25 Public holiday26 Public holiday27 Public holiday28293031
  • Senate
  • House of Representatives
  • Both
  • Public Holiday
  • Other
7 Dec 16
Senate Committee Hearing
12 Dec 16
Senate Committee Hearing
25 Dec 16
Christmas Day (public holiday)

Department of the Senate

 Department of the Senate - staff photo 2016

About the Department 

The Constitution vests the Commonwealth legislative power in a Parliament consisting of the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, a Senate and a House of Representatives.

The Department of the Senate provides the Senate, its committees, the President of the Senate and senators with a broad range of advisory and support services related to the exercise of the legislative power of the Commonwealth.

The parliamentary head of the department is the President of the Senate and the departmental head is the Clerk of the Senate. 

The department is one of four supporting the two Houses, the others being the Department of the House of Representatives, the Parliamentary Budget Office and the Department of Parliamentary Services.

The work of the Department of the Senate is determined almost entirely by the Senate and its committees. The department is responsible, not to the government of the day, but to the Senate and all senators, and maintains complete impartiality in serving equally senators from all political parties and independent senators.

Offices of the Department

The Department consists of five offices: