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

Catherine Cornish, Deputy Clerk

Catherine Cornish, 11 August 2016

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
Catherine has worked in the Department of the House of Representatives since 1994. Her roles have included Clerk Assistant (Procedure); Clerk Assistant (Table);  Director, Chamber Research Office; and Director, Clerk’s Office. Catherine was also a Committee Secretary for many years. She has degrees in law 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

Stuart Woodley, Clerk Assistant (Committees)

Stuart Woodley, Clerk Assistant (Committees)

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
Stuart has worked for the Department of the House of Representatives since 2014 as a committee secretary, in the Clerk’s and Speaker’s offices, and in the Procedure Office. Before joining the department, he worked in various legal policy and advisory roles in the Attorney-General’s Department, and as a solicitor in private practice. He has degrees in law and political science from the University of New England.

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

Clerk Assistant (Procedure)

Role and responsibilities
The Clerk Assistant (Procedure) is responsible for the work of the Procedure Office, including the Chamber Research Office. The Offices provide procedural research and publications on the work of the House and its institutional role. The Clerk Assistant (Procedure) acts as Clerk-at-the-Table of the House of Representatives and also contributes to the House’s capacity building activities related to parliamentary procedure.

Contact information

Department of the House of Representatives
PO Box 6021
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4396
E-mail Catherine.Cornish.Reps@aph.gov.au

Peter Banson, Clerk Assistant (Table)

Peter Banson

Role and responsibilities
Peter Banson 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
Peter has worked in the Department of the House of Representatives since 2001 in many positions including in the Chamber Research Office, Table Office and 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
PO Box 6021
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone (02) 6277 4777
Fax (02) 6277 4517
E-mail Peter.Banson.Reps@aph.gov.au

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