Foreword by the Parliamentary Librarian

Welcome to the 45th Parliament.

The Library’s role is to provide high quality information, analysis and advice to support you in your parliamentary and representational roles.

We offer a wide range of services and resources to help you navigate the myriad of issues which you face as parliamentarians. This includes a dedicated research service that is experienced in providing confidential, impartial and authoritative responses to your questions. We also publish a variety of research papers on topical issues and detailed analyses of legislation before the chambers, all written with your needs in mind.

As we do for each new parliament, the Library has prepared a volume providing snapshots of issues expected to figure during the Parliament's first months. The articles give a high level perspective of key public policy issues, including relevant background, context and legislative history as well as outlining some of the policy and legislative directions raised in the public debate.

The Briefing Book is organised in broad themes, covering the gamut of public policy issues, from schools funding to foreign affairs. Many of the articles reflect issues that were prominent during the election campaign or in the legislative agenda flagged by the Government. Others are chosen on the basis of milestones occurring during the early part of the parliament. Lastly, we have picked some longer term trends that may be of interest to Senators and Members.

We recognise the challenges that Senators and Members face in staying abreast of the deluge of information and opinion that flows into Parliament House. In a fast-moving political debate, a significant challenge is to keep track of the history of an issue—the events, reports, inquiries and legislative amendments that have led to the current position. These briefings aim to give this context in a succinct overview.

In doing so, the Briefing Book also serves to highlight something of the breadth of specialist expertise among the Library’s researchers which is available to parliamentarians.

You and your staff can also draw on the wide range of information services offered by the Library, including news services, social media analysis tools, and academic and technical journals. In this IT age, we also should not forget the Library’s print books, which are continually curated to ensure the collection remains up to date and relevant.

The Parliamentary Library exists exclusively to serve the Australian Parliament. We do our utmost to deliver the information, analysis and advice that you need and in the format you need it, to meet the often difficult timeframes required by parliamentary business. I encourage you to discuss your needs with our staff and to explore what our services have to offer.

Dr Dianne Heriot
Parliamentary Librarian

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