Biographies of senior staff

Claressa Surtees, Clerk of the House of Representatives

 Claressa Surtees

Role and responsibilities
Claressa Surtees commenced as Clerk of the House of Representatives in 2019, appointed for a single term of up to ten years. The Clerk is principal adviser to the Speaker and Members on House and committee proceedings, parliamentary privilege and other parliamentary matters. The Clerk is the administrative head of the Department of the House of Representatives, and together with the heads of the other three parliamentary departments, leads the Parliamentary Service. The department is comprised of some 160 staff who provide, administrative and procedural support and advice for the House, and service and support for the international and domestic parliamentary relations for the Parliament as a whole.

Biography
Claressa holds degrees in law and economics. She has worked in the Parliament since 1993. Prior to her appointment as Clerk, Claressa held the position of Deputy Clerk and has also been Clerk Assistant (Committees), Clerk Assistant (Table) and Serjeant-at-Arms.

Contact information
Department of the House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4111
Fax (02) 6277 2006
E-mail Clerk.Reps@aph.gov.au

Mr Peter Banson, Deputy Clerk

Mr Peter Banson

Role and responsibilities
The Deputy Clerk is the second most senior official of the Department of the House of Representatives is responsible for advising and assisting Members, their staff and officers on matters of parliamentary practice and law, and drafting private members bills and amendments. The Deputy assists the Clerk in the management of the department and during the Clerk’s absence performs the duties of Clerk.

Biography
Peter has worked in the Department of the House of Representatives since 2001. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Clerk, Peter was Clerk Assistant (Table), and has also worked in the Procedure Office, Speaker’s Office and as a Committee Secretary and Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms. He has degrees in science and public administration from the Australian National University.

Contact information
Department of the House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4222
Fax (02) 6277 2006
E-mail DepClerk.Reps@aph.gov.au

James Catchpole, Serjeant-at-Arms

James Catchpole, Serjeant-at-Arms

Role and responsibilities
James Catchpole is the Serjeant-at-Arms in the Department of the House of Representatives, and is responsible for providing advice, services and support for the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives. The main Chamber responsibilities of the Serjeant during the sittings of the House relate to assisting the Speaker to maintain order. The Serjeant-at-Arms is also the corporate operating officer for the Department, and is responsible for the financial management, information and publishing, and human resources, of the Department.

Biography
James commenced as the Serjeant-at-Arms in May 2016. He has worked previously in a number of areas within the Department of House of Representatives.

Contact information
Department of the House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4444
Fax (02) 6277 2006
E-mail James.Catchpole.Reps@aph.gov.au

Mr Russell Chafer, Clerk Assistant (Committees)

Mr Russell Chafer

Role and responsibilities
Responsible for the Committee Support area of the department. The area provides a range of support services to House of Representatives committees and some joint committees.

Biography
Russell has worked for the Department since 1993, in that time serving as Secretary to several parliamentary committees as well as Director of the Clerk’s Office, Director of the International and Parliamentary Relations Office and Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms.  Russell was appointed Clerk Assistant (Committees) in March 2021 and also serves as the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Champion for the Department. 

Contact information
Department of the House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4399 
Fax (02) 6277 2396
E-mail ClerkAssistant.Committees.Reps@aph.gov.au

Ms Peggy Danaee, Clerk Assistant (Procedure)

Peggy Danaee

Role and responsibilities
Peggy Danaee is the Clerk Assistant (Procedure) and is responsible for the work of the department’s Procedure Office. The Offices provide procedural research and publications on the work of the House and its institutional role, and provides the secretariat to the House Procedure Committee. The Office also contributes to the department’s community awareness and capacity building activities in relation to parliamentary practice and procedure. On sitting days, the Clerk Assistant (Procedure) also acts as Clerk-at-the-Table of the House of Representatives. 

Biography
Peggy has worked in the Department of the House of Representatives since 2005 and has undertaken roles in the Table Office, Chamber Research Office, Committee Office and Clerk’s Office. Peggy has degrees in science and psychology from the University of Sydney, and in public policy from the Australian National University.

Contact information
Department of the House of Representatives
PO Box 6021
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4396
Email ProcedureOffice.reps@aph.gov.au

Dr Glenn Worthington, Clerk Assistant (Table)

Dr Glenn Worthington

Role and responsibilities
Glenn Worthington is the Clerk Assistant (Table). He is responsible for those areas of the department which provide programming, procedural and legislative support to the Chamber and Federation Chamber of the House, as well as the Parliament’s international program. He acts as Clerk-at-the-Table of the House of Representatives.

Biography
Glenn has worked in the Department of the House of Representatives since 2002 in many positions including as a Director in the Table Office, Committee Secretary and Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms. He has degrees in political science from the University of Western Australia and Australian National University.

Contact information
Department of the House of Representatives
PO Box 6021
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4777
Fax (02) 6277 4517
E-mail Glenn.Worthington.Reps@aph.gov.au