Departmental Overview

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Figure 1

Figure 1 - Responsibilities, Offices, Intermediate outcomes, outcome

* The department draws on special appropriations for, and administers the payment of, senators' salaries and allowances, superannuation postage and freight expenses.

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 previous 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 programing and procedural support to the Senate, processes legislation and documents, 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 committees.
  • Procedure Office – provides advisory and drafting services to non-government senators, secretariat support for the three legislative scrutiny committees, 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 chamber and committee room support, ceremonial services, security advice, financial management, human resource management, and administration of certain entitlements to senators and departmental staff.


Resources made available in the Budget year

Table A: Resources made available in the Budget year

Parliamentary Appropriation Bill No. 1


Department of the Senate
Department appropriation



Appropriations and variations

The departmental appropriation ($20.6m) for 2014-15 decreased from 2013-14 ($21.9m). This reduction in appropriation is due to two main factors. The first ($1.0m) relates to the transfer of the information and communication technology services function, formerly resourced internally, to the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS). The second ($0.3m) relates to the impact of the increased efficiency dividend from 1.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

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

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

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

Figure 3:  Departmental appropriation by Office (% of total). Black Rod's Office 18%, Clerk's Office 9%, Table Office 11%, Procedure Office 28%, Committee Office 34%

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