The Parliamentary Library is part of DPS Program 1. In the DPS Corporate Plan 2016–17, the Library’s services fall under the strategic theme: ‘respond to the changing needs of the Parliament’.
The Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (PS Act) establishes the office of the Parliamentary Librarian whose primary function is ‘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. These services are to be delivered:
- in a timely, impartial and confidential manner
- maintaining the highest standards of scholarship and integrity
- on the basis of equality of access for all senators, members of the House of Representatives, parliamentary committees and staff acting on behalf of senators, members or parliamentary committees, and
- having regard to the independence of Parliament from the Executive Government of the Commonwealth.
To protect the independent provision of library and research services to the Parliament, the Librarian reports directly to the Presiding Officers and to the Parliament in respect of her statutory functions. The Librarian also reports to the Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library (JSCPL) which advises the Presiding Officers on matters relating to the Library.
The Library’s primary clients are senators, members of the House of Representatives and parliamentary committees. Other client groups include parliamentarians’ staff, staff of the parliamentary departments, and the Governor-General. Service entitlements for all clients are outlined in the Parliamentary Library Statement of Client Services as approved by the JSCPL.
In May 2017, the Presiding Officers reappointed Dr Dianne Heriot as Parliamentary Librarian for a further five year term (effective 10 May 2017).
Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library
The JSCPL is appointed to:
- consider and report to the Presiding Officers on any matters relating to the Parliamentary Library referred to it by the President or the Speaker
- provide advice to the President and the Speaker on matters relating to the Parliamentary Library
- provide advice to the President and the Speaker on an annual Resource Agreement between the Parliamentary Librarian and the Secretary of DPS, and
- receive advice and reports, including an annual report, directly from the Parliamentary Librarian on matters relating to the Parliamentary Library.
The Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library (left to right): Mr Broadbent, Mr Zimmerman, Senator Back, Senator Moore. Seated (left to right): Mr Ramsey (Joint Chair) Dr Heriot (Committee Secretary), Ms Stanley. Inset (left to right): Senators Lines (Joint Chair), Duniam and Paterson, the Hon Anthony Bryne, Dr Freelander, Mr van Manen. (Auspic)
The JSCPL for the 45th Parliament was established by motion of the House of Representatives and of the Senate on 1 September 2016 and 12 September 2016 respectively. The following senators and members served on the Committee in 2016–17:
- Mr Rowan Ramsey MP (Joint Chair)
- Senator Sue Lines (Joint Chair)
- Senator Chris Back (to 22 June 2017)
- Mr Russell Broadbent MP
- The Hon Anthony Byrne MP
- Senator Jonathon Duniam
- Dr Mike Freelander MP
- Senator Claire Moore
- Senator James Paterson
- Ms Anne Stanley MP
- Mr Bert van Manen MP
- Senator John Williams (from 22 June 2017)
- Mr Trent Zimmerman MP.
The Committee met privately on 30 November 2016, and on 20 March and 19 June 2017. At its first meeting, the Committee elected Mr Rowan Ramsey MP and Senator Sue Lines as Joint Chairs. Other matters considered by the Committee in 2016–17 included:
- client evaluation of Library services for the 44th and 45th Parliaments, as well as other client feedback
- Framework for the Digital Delivery of Library Products and Services and the Library’s Digital Preservation Framework and policy on digital preservation.
- Library Resource Agreements 2016–17 and 2017–18
- Library workforce plan
- proposed additional duties for the Parliamentary Librarian
- digitisation of the Parliamentary Papers Series, and
- review of news services.
The Parliamentary Library comprises the Parliamentary Librarian and the employees of DPS assisting her.
The Parliamentary Library Executive is:
- Dr Dianne Heriot, Parliamentary Librarian
- Jonathan Curtis, Assistant Secretary, Research Branch, and
- Liz Luchetti, Assistant Secretary, Library Collections and Databases Branch.
The Library’s structure comprises:
- Office of the Parliamentary Librarian—a small unit consisting of the Parliamentary Librarian, three Library executive support officers, the Library Publishing Unit and the Director, Client Relations, who provides orientation and training services for senators, members, their staff and other parliamentary staff.
- Research Branch—which provides information, research and analytical services including individually commissioned research, publications and statistical and mapping services.
- Library Collections and Databases Branch—which develops and manages access to the Library’s print and electronic resources. The Branch also manages the main Library reference desk and the Senators’ and Members’ Reading Room.
Figure 4: Parliamentary Library Organisation Chart (as at 30 June 2017)
Parliamentary Service Act 1999 subsection 38B(1).
Parliamentary Service Act 1999 subsection 38B(2).
The scheduled June 2016 meeting of the JSCPL did not take place due to the May double dissolution. Consideration of the Parliamentary Library’s Resource Agreement for 2016–17 was therefore deferred until the Committee’s first meeting in the 45th Parliament.
Parliamentary Service Act 1999 subsection 38A(2).