Departmental Overview

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Figure 1

Figure 1: Departmental overview showing the responsibilities, offices, intermediate outcomes and overall outcome for the Department of the Senate


Departmental Overview

The department is one of the four parliamentary departments supporting the Australian Parliament.

The department provides advisory and administrative support services to enable the Senate and senators to fulfil their representative and legislative duties.  In doing so, the department supports the operations of the Senate and its committees, and promotes public awareness of their role and work.

These responsibilities are reflected in the intermediate outcomes shown in the diagram on the opposite page.

Organisational structure

The department is responsible to the Senate through the President of the Senate. The administrative head of the department is the Clerk of the Senate. The department is organised into five offices:

  • Clerk’s Office – provides procedural and constitutional advice in relation to the proceedings of the Senate and its committees; strategic direction for the department; central co-ordination of the department's information resources; secretariat support for the Procedure Committee, the Committee of Privileges and the Committee of Senators' Interests; and maintains the Register of Senators' Interests.
  • Table Office – provides programming and procedural support to the Senate; processes legislation and documents, and archives records of the Senate; produces agenda and records of Senate business and proceedings; provides document distribution and inquiries services; and provides secretariat support to several domestic committees.
  • Procedure Office—provides advisory and drafting services to non-government senators, secretariat support for the three legislative scrutiny committees and policy and other support for inter-parliamentary relations; conducts parliamentary research; and promotes community awareness and knowledge of the Senate and the parliament through the Parliamentary Education Office and a seminar program.
  • Committee Office – provides secretariat support for most Senate committees and certain joint committees and facilitates the public’s awareness of and involvement in the work of committees.
  • Black Rod’s Office – provides to senators and departmental staff office, chamber and committee room support; ceremonial services; security advice; corporate services; and administration of certain entitlements.


Resources made available in the Budget year

Table A: Resources made available in the Budget year

Parliamentary Appropriation Bill No. 1 $m
Special $m
Department of the Senate
Department appropriations


Appropriations and variations

The departmental appropriation ($21.9m) for 2013-14 increased from 2012-13 ($21.1m). Ongoing funding was provided for Legislative Drafting ($0.2m) and Enhanced Publishing Online ($0.1m) and additional ongoing funding of ($0.3m) for the  Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Funding for the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples ($0.6m) was provided for 2013-14 and 2014-15. Funding received in 2012-13 for the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform ($0.4m) ceased.

Figure 2:  Departmental appropriation by Office ($’000)

Figure 2:  Departmental appropriation by Office ($’000). Figure shows appropriations from the Clerk's Office, Table Office, Procedure Office, Committee Office and Black Rod's Office.

Figure 3:  Departmental appropriation by Office (% of total)

Figure 3:  Departmental appropriation by Office (% of total). Pie chart showing Committee Office 36%, Black Rod's Office 19%, Clerk's Office 7%, Table Office 10% and Procedure Office 28%.

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