Part 4

Report on Activities

Part 04

ICT Division

In 2015–16, the ICT Division comprised the ICT Strategy, Planning and Applications Branch and the ICT Infrastructure and Services Branch. DPS is the primary ICT service provider for Parliament, managing the infrastructure and delivery of ICT services for users in APH, senators’ and members’ electorate offices (EOs), and Commonwealth Parliament Offices (CPOs). This includes service design, implementation and support in the form of a central help desk, training, the provision of software and hardware, and management of relationships with external ICT providers.

ICT is pervasive in almost all aspects of the operation of Parliament and is an essential business enabler for parliamentarians, their staff and the staff of the parliamentary departments. Effective and efficient delivery of ICT services by DPS underpins our clients’ ability to send, receive and manage information. ICT provides the medium by which our parliamentarians can effectively engage with their constituents. Our challenge is to strategically align industry innovation with the evolving requirements of Parliament and meet client expectations.

Divisional highlights

  • An upgraded webcast19 ervice was delivered, that provides high quality video of Parliament live and on demand.
    The cross-platform media player will allow video to be accessed across all platforms and on mobile devices.
  • WiFi was rolled out to EOs and CPOs, including new hardware designed to double the existing bandwidth (speed) and improve reliability.
  • The ParlWork20 application was piloted during 2015–16. The application delivers the information presented in chambers electronically, live and accessible on mobile devices.
  • The Parliament moved to the whole-of-government secure internet gateway arrangement. The arrangement provides significant security capability designed to prevent cyber intrusions before they reach Parliament House and is expected to realise savings to the Commonwealth of $0.9 million annually.
  • The APH website was updated to add virtual tours21 of the building and the upgraded My Parliament22 account service that allows visitors to subscribe to track bills, as well as the legislative activity of senators and members.
  • Investment in ICT security continued, including: network segmentation; email and web filtering; user access control; endpoint protection; administration rights reduction; application whitelisting; malware investigation; and analysis tools.
  • Video conferencing facilities were installed in committee room 1R3. The facilities will allow witnesses or committee members to participate in parliamentary committees from remote locations.
  • The installation of assisted listening devices in all committee rooms was completed.
  • The APH broadcasting master control room was refurbished to address workplace health and safety issues, deliver improved broadcast monitoring capabilities and enable the implementation of high definition broadcasts from APH in the future.


ICT governance

Formal governance structures are in place to provide oversight and direction for the delivery of ICT services for the Parliament of Australia, in line with the recommendations of an independent review of ICT services undertaken by Mr Michael Roche in 2012 (the Roche Review).

A key recommendation of the Roche Review was the establishment of the Parliamentary Information and Communication Technology Advisory Board (PICTAB) (see page 147, Governance).

Governance arrangements are in place to ensure timeliness, quality and value for money are delivered in all aspects of ICT delivery:

  • new project board arrangements ensure strong business sponsorship and visibility of project delivery, and
  • the Joint Management Committee ensures oversight of ICT service delivery as per the memorandum of understanding and service level agreements between the parliamentary departments.

ICT projects

ICT project activity for any given financial year is identified in the DPS Capital Works Plan (CWP). To facilitate any additional ICT projects or other requests that fall outside the CWP, such as requests from the parliamentary departments for the delivery of an ICT solution, DPS introduced an ICT customer engagement model.

A range of new capabilities was delivered in support of the Parliament in 2015–16, including:

  • the replacement of network equipment in all EOs and CPOs to provide a faster internet connection and WiFi for parliamentarians and their staff, allowing them to connect suitable mobile devices in their offices
  • piloting of the ParlWork application in the first sitting period of 2016. The successful pilot allowed participating parliamentarians and their staff to access chamber documents and a live program electronically on mobile devices (see feature story on page 55)
  • the installation of video conferencing facilities in committee room 1R3 to allow committee members and witnesses to participate in parliamentary committees from remote locations. The intention is to pilot the use of new technology to determine whether it can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of engagement between committees and remote participants
  • enhancement of DPS’ webcast capability, which allows for the broadcast of Parliament live and on demand from the APH website, making Parliament more accessible. The service is available to Parliament and the public alike and can be viewed on suitable computers and mobile devices
  • relocation of the Parliament’s internet gateway service to a whole-of-government secure internet gateway, as part of the Australian Government Internet Gateway reduction program. The initiative is expected to realise savings to the Commonwealth of $0.9 million. The new gateway service is designed to reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber intrusion which impacts the Australian Parliament
  • launch of a new virtual tour23 feature on the APH website. The tour provides an immersive visitor experience and provides visitors with an interactive view inside APH from the viewpoint of a parliamentarian and provides information about key locations inside the building, and
  • completion of the refurbishment of the APH broadcasting master control room. The room supports a range of broadcast services for parliamentarians, including live broadcasts from APH. The refurbishment and upgrade provides improved broadcast capabilities and the capability to enable high definition broadcasts in the future.

Some key projects have raised challenges for DPS through the course of the year.

The EO network upgrade project undertook work to replace network equipment in EOs and CPOs. The challenge was to ensure that work was completed successfully with minimal interruptions to clients during a busy time in the parliamentary calendar, including the early Federal Budget, the second sitting of the 44th Parliament and the lead-up to the 2016 Federal Election.

The installation date for a modern, replacement audio system for the Senate, House of Representatives and Federation Chambers was moved to accommodate the second sitting of the 44th Parliament. We now anticipate delivery in 2016. A pilot installation of video conferencing facilities was carried out in Committee Room 1R3. Facilities are expected to be installed in committee room 2S1 in 2016–17.


Availability of core ICT systems

The stability of the core ICT systems continued to improve during 2015–16. Monitoring indicated that email, Hansard, ParlInfo (searchable repository of all parliamentary data) and the chamber support systems achieved 100 per cent availability during the year.

Table 2: ICT critical system availability during scheduled service hours


service standard





Core systems—email, Hansard, ParlInfo, chamber systems, mobile device management






Parliamentary Computing Network






Broadcast infrastructure







ICT support services

Parliamentarians, their staff and the staff of the parliamentary departments require timely and dependable access to information delivered primarily through parliamentary ICT systems supported through the ‘2020 Support Desk’. Efforts to improve dependability, customer satisfaction and timeliness have resulted in real service improvements for our clients as evidenced by improvements in client satisfaction in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Client satisfaction and performance with DPS 2020 Support Desk and ICT support staff during 2015–16

Satisfaction 2020 Support Desk 2015–16



Unsolicited emails received









Overall positive feedback




Incidents resolved within SLA targets



Calls answered within 30 seconds



The nature of calls to the Support Desk are categorised as being incidents, service requests, or requests for information. Incidents relate primarily to desktop and laptop software issues and printing service faults. Service requests were primarily for user access (password resets, unlocking user accounts) or software installation requests. Requests for information are primarily related to smartphone access to email and calendar information (how to enrol a smartphone to receive APH email and calendar), user access (account modifications) and email (for example, adding additional mailboxes and mailbox access permissions).

The number of incidents continues to decrease year on year. This is a positive trend indicating fewer reported faults and an increasingly stable ICT operating environment.

Table 4: Calls to 2020 Support Desk

Type of call





Incident reports





Service requests





Information requests











What our clients say: feedback to the DPS 2020 Support Desk:

'Adrian you are a star and your blood is worth bottling!!!’

'You guys, especially Mark who helped me today connect our Smart Label Printer, are FANTASTIC - Thank you - you should get lots of Thankyous for all that you do! :)’


DPS has established three formal methods of gathering stakeholder feedback to inform a cycle of continual quality improvement of ICT services:

  • three ICT user groups meet quarterly to provide feedback from the perspective of parliamentarians, parliamentarians’ staff, and the staff of the parliamentary departments
  • a ‘voice of the customer’ process will involve senior executive level engagement on a biannual basis between DPS and the parliamentary departments, with a view to adapting and evolving the approach DPS takes to enhancing ICT services and processes, and
  • the annual DPS building occupants survey.

Virtual visitors to parliament house

The APH website welcomed more than 4.706 million visitors for the year. The site is currently ranked 20th of all Australian Government websites in terms of visitation.24 The APH website is Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 compliant, making the content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities including blindness and low vision.

The APH website remains a primary tool for the community to obtain information about and engage with parliament. Visitors to the site are able to access a large volume of information about parliament, including parliamentary business, Hansard transcripts, educational material, senators’ and members’ pages and parliamentary and Parliamentary Library publications.

During the year the live webcast service which is delivered through the APH website was upgraded. High-definition on-demand streaming of parliamentary proceedings and historical footage can now be accessed anywhere, anytime on any capable smartphone, tablet or computer, through DPS’ innovative broadcast service ParlView.

DPS analytics give insight into how the public access information on the APH website. During 2015–16 there was 43.9 per cent growth in traffic from smartphones and 8.5 per cent growth in traffic from tablets, compared to 2014–15.

24 (Jun 2016)

ParlWork is a purpose-built app to help senators and members in the chambers.
ParlWork is a purpose-built app to help senators and members in the chambers.


The new ParlWork application was released in pilot by DPS ready for the February sitting period in 2016. Purpose-built to assist the work of parliamentarians and those supporting parliamentary business, ParlWork provides a dynamic view of live chamber business information.

Users can access ParlWork anywhere and anytime on their mobile devices via ParlWork currently provides access to:

  • the Daily Program and the current business item for the Senate Chamber
  • the Order of Business and the current item of business for the House of Representatives and the Federation Chamber
  • notices of motion, and
  • Bills and Bills Digests.

Delivery of ParlWork is a significant milestone for DPS and represents important progress towards the Parliament’s vision of realising a technology-enabled Parliament. ParlWork provides a powerful tool to support parliamentarians, both inside and outside the chamber, in their day-to-day work during sitting periods.

The delivery of the application represents a substantial body of collaborative work between DPS, the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives.

A full release, including public access to ParlWork, will be rolled out in 2016. Further enhancements will be added on an iterative basis to increase functionality to support the work of parliamentarians and to improve public access to a wider range of parliamentary information.

Daniel Knox prepares for the launch of live captioning for the 45th Parliament.
Daniel Knox prepares for the launch of live captioning for the 45th Parliament.

Live Captioning an Australian Parliamentary First

The final months of 2015–16 were busy ones for Daniel Knox and the captioning project team, as they prepared for the implementation of live video captioning in time for the start of the 45th Parliament.

The purpose of the captioning project is to make Parliament more accessible. Previously, video recordings of parliamentary proceedings have not been accessible to people who are hearing-impaired. Captioning will allow these individuals to interact with and participate in the work of the Parliament, as it occurs.

Live captioning of parliamentary proceedings—an Australian parliamentary first—will begin with captions being delivered for five hours of Senate proceedings and five hours of House of Representatives proceedings each sitting day. Captioning coverage will gradually increase, with the goal of having all parliamentary video recordings captioned live by mid-2018.

Live captions will be delivered by a specialist provider contracted by DPS. Live captioners based in Sydney, are either stenographers or ‘re-speakers’. Stenographers create caption text by listening to live audio and typing captions in shorthand, using a stenotype machine. Re-speakers take the same live audio feed and repeat aloud, ‘re-speaking’ the words to be captioned into a voice recognition system.

Daniel joined DPS in 2007 as an editor in Hansard, and moved to DPS technology projects in 2011, where he now works as a Senior Project Manager.

Building and Asset Management Division

Mechanic Nick Harris services one of the electric carts that transport goods in the basement.
Mechanic Nick Harris services one of the electric carts that transport goods in the basement.

In 2015–16, the Building and Asset Management Division comprised the Asset Development and Maintenance Branch (ADMB), the Strategic Asset Planning and Performance Branch, the Security Branch and the Program Delivery Branch. The division provided ongoing maintenance services for the building and landscape in addition
to security operations and project delivery services to support the Parliament.

The APH complex occupies a 35-hectare site, comprises approximately 4,700 rooms across four levels, and has a total floor area of approximately 250,000 square metres. The building contains more than 100,000 maintainable assets, including plant, fixtures, fittings, furniture and operating equipment, all of which are maintained by the division.

Divisional highlights

  • Continuation of a significant program of security capital works which commenced in late 2014, including a new gate house and perimeter at the southern entry to APH.
  • Delivery of maintenance programs throughout the building, including repainting, carpet replacement,
    lift maintenance, internal and external cleaning, and landscaping.
  • Completion of a number of projects from the Capital Works Plan (CWP), including Uninterruptable
    Power Supply (UPS) replacements, the Fire Systems Upgrade and a review and report on the condition
    of the main skylights.
  • A renewed focus on recruitment and training of security personnel to ensure DPS is wellplaced to manage APH security in the current environment.

Soukha Phathanak transports recyclable materials in the Parliament House basement.
Soukha Phathanak transports recyclable materials in the Parliament House basement.

Building security projects

The security hardening project, established following the National Terrorism Public Alert Level being raised in 2014, involves work both inside and outside the building, including the upgrade of the electronic security systems throughout the precinct. This program of capital works commenced in 2014–15, with the suite of security-related works scheduled for completion in 2018.

The Group One stage of works was completed in June 2016. It comprised upgrades across 14 individual access points throughout the precinct, including the gate house at the southern entry. These works are primarily between the public and private areas and where the private areas connect with the Ministerial Wing. The upgrades to each of these access points were delivered throughout 2015–16.

The Group Two stage of works is currently under way and includes physical building and electronic security systems upgrades and improvements. The contract for the physical upgrades was executed in late April 2016 and the contract for the electronic security systems was executed in May 2016. It is expected that some of the works proposals within Group Two will be tabled in both Houses of Parliament, following an independent design impact assessment, and review by the National Capital Authority, parliamentary committees and moral rights holders.

Delivery of building capital works

During 2015–16, DPS continued to develop the program of works which resulted from the Building Condition Assessment Report (BCAR) completed in the previous financial year. The ADMB, which has carriage of the building infrastructure projects outlined in the BCAR, developed and reviewed detailed project scopes and procurement strategies to ensure they were properly aligned. This was undertaken to avoid redundant work and clashes between projects, as well as to minimise disruption to the ongoing operation of APH and its occupants. ADMB also engaged a specialist procurement consultant to assist with the tender documentation and provide independent assurance that DPS was following the Commonwealth Procurement Rules when progressing these projects.

As a result, ADMB commenced and/or continued a number of projects on the CWP.

  • During 2015–16 DPS work continued to upgrade fire safety systems throughout APH. This included the replacement of Fire Indicator Panels, detection systems, upgrades to sliding fire doors and the engagement of consultants to update the Fire Safety Strategy and Policy.
  • The replacement of Chillers 4 and 5 commenced this year and is a continuation of an existing strategy (Chillers 1-3 were replaced in mid-2011). The original chillers, which were reaching the end of their effective operating life, used R22 refrigerant gas, which is being phased out.
  • Work associated with the Lift Upgrade Program also commenced during 2015–16. This project involves the upgrade of operating infrastructure of 43 lifts across the precinct over the period of four years. This project will address the ageing infrastructure that will soon be no longer serviceable.
  • Work commenced on the Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System upgrade, which involves the replacement of the control panels and field devices, in addition to implementation of enhanced operating software to meet current operating environment requirements. Work is scheduled to be completed during 2016–17.
  • Work commenced on the Second Communication Hub project, which involves the establishment of a suitable on-site environment for a ‘backup’ data communication hub. Work is scheduled to be completed during 2016–17.
  • A number of minor fit-outs were undertaken during 2015–16 and work is well under way to create two new suites for members from existing office space.
  • The Height Safety Program of works continues to address current work health and safety requirements by providing safe access to plant rooms and associated plant and equipment areas throughout the building. This work will continue into 2016–17 and will expand to address issues in publicly accessible spaces within the building.

While ADMB did not complete all of the capital works projects that were planned or funded under the CWP for 2015–16, considerable efforts have been made to prepare and plan for delivery from 2016–17 onwards.

Maintaining Parliament House

Keeping Parliament House’s physical environment functioning properly, including maintaining its fabric and infrastructure, requires a significant investment and constant maintenance. ADMB is responsible for all repairs, maintenance and engineering services in APH, including air conditioning, lifts, electrical systems, plumbing, hydraulic services, movement systems, building fabrics, furniture, signage, cleaning, logistics (loading dock) and waste disposal.

To ensure prompt response and resolution of day-to-day building issues, the DPS Maintenance Help Desk manages building service requests, responds to alarms, assigns rapid response trade staff and provides a 24-hour system monitoring and response function. During 2015–16, 18,225 maintenance requests were received by the Maintenance Help Desk.

The following table provides a sample of the maintenance work undertaken by ADMB:

Table 5: Building maintenance work in 2015–16

47,568 square metres of painting

3,785 square metres of carpet replaced

170 items of furniture refurbished

All external windows and walls cleaned

21,007 square metres of parquetry floor re-polished

34 bathrooms re-tiled

400+ LED energy efficient light fixtures installed

24 office/suite refurbishments

1,403 linear metres of external expansion jointing replaced

Landscaping maintenance work

The Landscape Services team maintains 23 hectares of landscape, including 10 hectares of turf. This team also maintains indoor plants in the circulation areas of the building and external sporting facilities such as tennis courts, the netball/basketball court and the Senate oval. The landscape forms an integral component of the precinct and of the original design accordingly it is maintained to a high standard.

During 2015–16, more than 7,000 annuals were planted in the formal gardens for the summer and winter displays, and one tree replaced. It also installed drainage improvements and undertook minor regeneration works, re-turfed the formal gardens, replanted significant items in the formal gardens and started the tennis court refurbishment work.

A gardener helps keep the internal courtyards pristine during autumn leaf-fall.
A gardener helps keep the internal courtyards pristine during autumn leaf-fall.

Security operations

Security arrangements within the parliamentary precinct are designed to maintain a level of protective security commensurate with the assessed level of threat and risk at any particular time. These arrangements aim to balance the protection of life and property with maintaining the functions of Parliament, including public access to APH.

The Security Branch provides a range of security services including screening of all building entrants, visitor identity
verification, static guarding, mobile patrols and coordination of security vetting processes. The Security Branch works closely with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) who deliver armed external permitter security as well as internal patrols and operational responsibility when a security incident occurs.

Security policy and governance

Contemporary and best-practice security policies and procedures determine how security services are designed and delivered. APH security protocols are specified in the Operational Policies and Procedures framework which is guided by the Security Management Board (SMB). The SMB is a statutory board providing security advice and support to the Presiding Officers. The framework is issued under the authority of the Presiding Officers and gives comprehensive direction and guidance for the entire range of security-related services and activities at APH.

After the National Terrorism Public Alert Level was raised in 2014, DPS was tasked—in consultation with stakeholders—with updating the framework to ensure policies and procedures were commensurate with the current security environment. DPS is responsible for applying security risk management to the development and delivery of all security services and activities to minimise potential impacts on the Parliament.

Security Branch, in consultation with the AFP, is undertaking a review of all operational policies in the security environment to ensure that they are appropriate to the current security environment, to known threats and risks and to the operational structure of the building.

Major policies or operational initiatives implemented during 2015–16 were as follows:

  • ceasing non-photographic passes for permanent access to the building
  • CCTV Code of Practice
  • Private Car Parking Policy
  • Incident Planning and Emergency Management Exercises conducted throughout the building, and
  • streamlining of incident management reporting to senior stakeholders, including lessons learned
    and remedial recommendations.

Security training

Security Branch continues to invest in building the capability of its employees to meet its service delivery requirements. The provision of training supports officers to develop the range of skills and knowledge required to meet the operational needs of the branch. Training has been specifically tailored to the security arrangements within APH and the parliamentary precincts and, where appropriate, training is aligned with national qualifications. Learning and development highlights for 2015–16 were:

  • 163 DPS Security personnel undertook a combined 9,507 hours of training and development
  • three Initial Security Training Courses were held, resulting in an additional 29 security personnel on duty
  • 11 security personnel enrolled in the Developing Team Leader Course, leading to a Certificate III in Security Operations
  • training in Advanced Defensive Tactics
  • parliamentary privilege awareness training, and
  • Annual Competency Maintenance Training.

Security for functions and events

Significant planning and resourcing, including the development of risk management plans and rostering of additional security officers and concierge services, is required to ensure a balance between the day-to-day operations of the Parliament and the requirements of major events. In 2015–16, DPS Security supported 26 official visits at Australian Parliament House, including by the:

  • Prime Minister of France
  • Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
  • President of the United Republic of Tanzania
  • President of the Asian Development Bank
  • President of the National Assembly of Cambodia
  • Chief Secretary of Administration, Hong Kong, and
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates.

Trent Davidson and team tend to the turf on one of the Parliament House ramps. 
Trent Davidson and team tend to the turf on one of the Parliament House ramps.

Where the Grass is always Greener…

There are many complexities to keeping the gardens of APH beautiful. Areas outside the building perimeter are exposed to Canberra’s hot dry summers and harsh winter frosts. The internal courtyards have their own micro-climates that are very different from the gardens outside. Courtyards sit over concrete slabs, providing infrastructure and drainage challenges. Environmental concerns are important considerations, as well as finding the right plants for the conditions, while keeping faith with the original design intent for the building.

‘It goes down to species selection – the right plants at the right place – and keeping up the nutrient and irrigation program,’ said Trent Davidson, Landscape Manager. Trent is one of 15 officers in DPS’ Landscape Services team.

The Landscape Services team work to an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This is a system to control problem pests and diseases in the garden utilising a range of techniques that include:

  • providing appropriate nutrition and irrigation
  • removing disease infected leaves and old fruit, and
  • releasing beneficial organisms into the landscape to control problem pests.

The types of organisms that are released into our gardens include insects and nematodes. Beneficial insects include predatory mites to control two-spotted mite; lady bird larvae to control scale and aphids and parasitic wasps to control aphids. We spray a nematode species onto the lawns and wash them into the soil profile. The nematodes then ‘hunt’ down the scarabs to kill, feed on and breed inside.

The IPM program has been very successful at APH and has reduced the use of hazardous pesticides by more than 50 per cent.

Trent has been at Parliament House for 18 years. He loves his job keeping the turf green and takes pride in problem solving.

He said the impact of recent dry years was still felt today in the peripheral native gardens that surround Parliament House. ‘Plants that are drought tolerant are the only plants we are putting in now. The team is always learning on the job, and is open to new ideas and new products.’ But the team works within clear boundaries too. ‘Importantly, our work is bound by the original design intent, ensuring we have design continuity throughout.’

Chief Operating Officer Division

In 2015–16 the Chief Operating Officer (COO) Division comprised the Finance and Procurement Branch, the People, Strategy and Governance Branch, the Parliamentary Experience Branch and the Enterprise Agreement Project Team. The division provides advice and services to DPS on governance, strategy, finance, procurement, human resources and records management. This ensures that DPS complies with its responsibilities under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, the PGPA Act and a range of other legislative obligations, including human resources-related legislation. The division also provides visitor programs, art services, and manages licences and contracts for services for building occupants.

Divisional highlights

  • A new Learning and Development Framework was launched, supported by a new SAP module where all learning is approved electronically to build an individual learning record.
  • The Procure to Pay (P2P) module for the SAP financial system was implemented, recording each stage of procurement activity from the concept stage, though approval to delivery.
  • Quarterly meetings of the Procurement Practitioners’ Forum continued to provide a means for all staff undertaking procurement to be updated regularly and discuss current best practice, latest legal advice and learnings from DPS procurement activity.
  • The ‘big picture’— the Tom Roberts painting, the Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, was loaned to the National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA’s) Tom Roberts Exhibition. The portrait was successfully moved from its location in the Main Committee Room Foyer in APH and returned at the conclusion of the exhibition.
  • An updated DPS performance management scheme was released, supported by a new SAP module.
  • The first annual survey of all building occupants was conducted providing a regular source of feedback on all services provided by DPS.
  • DPS’ business continuity arrangements were enhanced by training staff in key areas across DPS, undertaking business impact analysis and commencing a program of business continuity exercises.
  • Fraud control measures were further enhanced, with a revised Fraud Control Policy, regular fraud risk assessment and reporting, and rolling out compulsory training about fraud for all staff.
  • Internal DPS budget development, planning and reporting were further enhanced by the Finance team to support stronger financial management across DPS and better reporting to the Secretary and the Executive.

Finance and procurement

The Finance and Procurement Branch continued to refine and improve the support they provide to all aspects of financial and procurement management. The team also lead the ongoing work on the Corporate Systems Program on SAP. Dedicated finance staff work with each division to refine the divisional budget and manage expenditure against that budget.

Work continued to improve DPS’ procurement practices. Dedicated training continued to be offered. Quarterly meetings of the Procurement Practitioners’ Forum were held to provide a means for all staff undertaking procurement to be updated regularly and discuss current best practice, latest legal advice and learnings from DPS procurement activity.

Regular reviews of the Financial Delegations Manual and Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs) were undertaken and revised delegations and AAIs were both issued on 29 June 2016. Work commenced on a complete new suite of finance procedures which are expected to be completed in early 2016–17.

As a part of the ongoing work of the Corporate Systems Program, the following modules were developed and released in 2015–16:

  • the new SAP learning and development module released in July 2015
  • the performance management SAP module released in November 2015, and
  • the new P2P solution in April 2016. This system replaces DPS compliant paper-based procurement process. It improved the reporting, governance and control measures and will ensure ongoing compliance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. P2P will also streamline the procurement and reporting processes.

Work was well advanced on a further module for release on 1 July 2016—the new Expense Management System (EMS) for use for all credit card expenses (both corporate and travel cards) enabling electronic capture of invoices and receipts, and electronic reconciliation and workflow for approval.

People, strategy and governance

In 2015–16 DPS continued to focus on strengthening good governance and evidence-based decision making throughout the department through the implementation of frameworks and reporting processes. Examples include the implementation of a revised Fraud Control Policy in July 2015, which was supported by quarterly reporting on treatments against the Fraud Risk Assessment to the Executive Committee. This reporting cycle corresponded with the reporting cycle implemented for DPS’ Enterprise Risk Treatment Plan. The DPS Information Management Framework, Strategy and Policy were released in October 2015, which guide the creation, use and management of DPS’ information and records assets. The DPS Governance Framework was released in November 2015, to document the framework of relationships and structures that support the operations of DPS.

There was an increased focus on learning, development and performance in 2015–16. An updated Performance Management Scheme was also released in November 2015, which was supported by the implementation of a new performance agreement module in SAP. The DPS Learning and Development Framework, released in January 2016, outlines the department’s responsibility for and approach to learning and development for all of its staff.

This framework is supported by a Corporate Training Calendar and a new Learning Management System. In April 2016, the Secretary launched the DPS PEL 1 Development Program, which aims to provide managers with a common understanding of the fundamentals of management practice relevant to their particular role in DPS.

The program will be delivered over 10 weeks, starting in the final weeks of 2015–16. It covers effective communication, managing people, developing self and others, planning and organising, creativity, and change and innovation. Nineteen PEL1 staff from across DPS were selected to participate in the first pilot program. The program will be evaluated and will continue for other PEL1 staff through the coming year.

Consistent with the new requirements of the PGPA Act, DPS’ Corporate Plan for 2015–19 was launched in August 2015. Business Plans were developed for 2015–16. To further refine corporate and business planning for 2016–17, DPS commenced development of branch business plans in May 2016, to bring together branch priorities, risks, workforce planning and budget into annual consolidated planning and activity documents. Branch business plans were being developed for 2016–17 through a series of branch meetings, and will be aligned to the 2016–17 Corporate Plan which was developed and refined through a series of meetings with all SES staff.

DPS also continued to develop its reporting against KPIs and provided regular monthly reporting to the DPS Executive Committee. DPS will make further enhancements to its performance reporting framework in 2016–17 to continue to improve transparency of our operations.

Business continuity management is integral to DPS’ risk management arrangements. In 2015–16, DPS commenced a program of activity to establish clear, well-understood business continuity arrangements for the department. A new DPS Business Continuity Policy and Framework was approved in August 2015. An important step for staff engagement was training staff from key areas across DPS, and involving representatives from the House departments. Twenty-four staff undertook a week-long training course with the Business Continuity Institute of Australia (BCI) and are now BCI certified. ComCover, with its role in improving risk management, assisted DPS with funds for consultancy work to assist in business impact analysis. Exercising of the operational level ‘recovery plans’ commenced in June and continued through July and August 2016, with exercises of the tactical and strategic plans. Continued exercises and revision of plans and key documents over coming years will be essential to embed and mature DPS business continuity arrangements.

Details regarding governance information for DPS can be found in Part 5 Governance. This information includes details on:

  • corporate planning
  • internal audit
  • risk management
  • fraud prevention and control, and
  • reports on operations of DPS.

Parliamentary experience

Visitor services

Each day our team of Visitor Services Officers actively engages visitors with the work, stories and collections
of APH. Visitor Services Officers deliver concierge services and a suite of 13 different types of tours to visitors.
During 2015–16, 127,292 visitors from schools were provided with a tour of APH.

In 2015–16 APH received excellent feedback from independent sources regarding the quality and relevance of its programs for visitors. APH was awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for superior service for the second consecutive year. Tourists also ranked APH ninth on TripAdvisor’s list of Australia’s most popular attractions. TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. Collectively, TripAdvisor branded sites reach 350 million unique monthly visitors.

The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to accommodation providers, restaurants and attractions that consistently receive outstanding reviews on the TripAdvisor site. To be eligible for the certificate, businesses need to maintain a TripAdvisor rating of at least 4 out of 5. Parliament House achieved an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 throughout the year.

The National Capital Education Tourism Project undertook research into teachers’ satisfaction with the experiences provided by Canberra’s attractions for schools visiting the capital. In that research, APH ranked third in 2015, compared to seventh in 2012, indicating our services have improved since the establishment of the Parliamentary Experience Branch. Additionally a DPS internal survey of teachers found that 99 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the school tour engaged students, and 100 per cent agreed or strongly agreed the tour would assist with students’ learning.

Each of our guides walks approximately 6km a day throughout the building. Across 364 days, the team covers a distance of about twice the circumference of the Earth!

Each of our guides walks approximately 6km a day throughout the building. Across 364 days, the team covers a distance of about twice the circumference of the Earth!

What our tour participants said:

‘Now I know about Canberra and most importantly the system of government! Now that I know what it means to be an Australian I think I’m already a better Australian.’
Teacher, NCETP research survey

‘I am writing to you to acknowledge and commend your staff … for their professionalism and excellent service when welcoming and guiding my guests on private tours … Support to my staff and volunteers is warmly welcomed and they are extremely grateful for the detailed knowledge of (Australian Parliament House), art and history that is imparted to them by the Visitor Services Officers.’
Cathy McGowan AO MP, Independent Federal Member for Indi

‘Eric was an amazing guide – the time passed so quickly as he was able to present all the facts in an informative and interesting way. The building itself is beautiful and everyone we spoke to was extremely polite.’
Participant of a public tour

‘The balance of humour, intelligent information and group engagement was wonderful.’
Visiting teacher

During 2015–16, DPS developed and offered a new behind-the-scenes courtyard tour program that celebrated the Autumn Festival in Canberra. The tours attracted 335 people and the autumn festival is now a new event on the APH calendar.

DPS continued to strengthen its partnerships with other organisations, including the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Capital Authority and the National Archives of Australia, to stage a variety of events while also showcasing staff expertise and the richness of the collections. More than 10,700 people came to community events during 2015–16. Open Day on Saturday 19 September 2015 was the biggest event, attracting 5,000 people.

Highlights of the 2015–16 visitor programs included the following:

Floriade courtyard and garden tours

DPS offered an enhanced 2015 Floriade festival program, providing more opportunities for people to enjoy courtyard tours and our special Spring Teas. The ‘Spring Glory’ tours led by Visitor Services Officers through the private courtyards attracted 572 visitors. The ‘Head Gardener’ two-hour tours, led by DPS Landscape Services Officers, included a special glimpse into the Presiding Officers’ courtyards. The two ‘Spring Tea’ events were expanded, welcoming 183 people to enjoy platters of sweet and savoury treats under the flowering trees.

What our visitors said:

‘This was a great opportunity to see the trees and flowers in the areas the public doesn’t normally have access to.’
Spring Glory tour participant, September 2015

‘The tour was excellent and Trent's knowledge and expertise was generously shared with us - thank you very much. Beautiful garden.’
Meet the Gardener tour participant, September 2015

‘Very good value for money. Lovely setting. Variety of food was good. Service was good. Thank you.’
Spring tea participant, October 2015


Enlighten 2016 at APH celebrated the colours and textures of autumn as well as the 50th anniversary of
the introduction of decimal currency, in collaboration with the Royal Australian Mint. New courtyard tours,
behind-the-scenes tours, performances by the Autumn Lantern dancers on the forecourt and the Circle of Light were just some of the attractions.

Geologist Wolf Meyer continued to lead the ever-popular two-hour ‘Unconformity’ tour that examines the stone and rock featured under and around APH. The Mint’s mascot, Mr Minty, entertained families, while people were able to purchase special stamped commemorative coins.

Tickets to ‘Sunset on the Roof’ sold out within days of being available. The ‘Dining in the House’ event in the Members and Guests Dining Room continued to attract an appreciative audience of diners. One hundred people enjoyed the best local produce and wine prepared by the Executive Chef from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

"What our visitors said:

‘The guides were exceptionally knowledgeable + the points of interest were great. The unconformity was amazing to see. Great length of time.’
Behind the Scenes tour participant, March 2016

‘Excellent choice and variety of food. Service 5 star and "the host" most informative. One of the real highlights of Enlighten!’
Dining in the House participant March 2016

Canberra and Region Heritage Festival

Discovery and rediscoveries was the theme for the 2016 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. ‘Feel the Heritage’ and ‘Valuing Heritage’, tours attracted some 340 people, who discovered spaces from the ground floor to the roof. They appreciated sitting on a brumby leather lounge and feeling some of the special materials specifically designed for the building.

What our visitors said:

‘Fabulous tour great info from a very knowledgeable guide.  Thank you and keep the tours going!’
‘Feel the Heritage' tour participant, April 2016

Community events

A special ceremony was arranged for Remembrance Day 2015 to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC and to launch a touchscreen display featuring the parliamentarians who served during the Great War. Ninety people attended the ceremony, which will continue to be observed each year.

Over 1,300 children and their families came to APH to perform Christmas carols during the Christmas season. Children from 10 local choirs and Ballina Public School entertained visitors in the Marble Foyer and the Great Hall from 23 November to 12 December 2015.

The Canberra Choral Society also performed a special program of festive music for 80 people in Members Hall.

During 2015–16 Parliament House hosted other performances including:

  • Australian Talented Youth Project
  • Canberra International Music Festival children choir preview concert, and
  • excerpts from The Wharf Review and Ghosts in the Scheme.

The Parliament Shop

The Parliament Shop has continued to develop and offer new product lines that either reflect the exhibition program or feature the APH collections or local, regional and nationally recognised artists and artisans. The shop expanded its range of Australian-made products; approximately 94 per cent of products in the Parliament Shop in 2015–16 were Australian made. New relationships were established with a range of Australian suppliers of textile products, jewellery, beverages, handbags, toys, homewares and Indigenous art, while existing partnerships with suppliers such as the Canberra Glassworks and the Royal Australian Mint expanded, with new products by these suppliers.

The Parliament Shop has one of the most extensive selections of politically-themed books in the land, specially selected by the Parliamentary Library.
The Parliament Shop has one of the most extensive selections of politically-themed books in the land, specially selected by the Parliamentary Library.

The Parliament Shop stocks a range of gift lines including specially-commissioned items from Australian artists and designers.
The Parliament Shop stocks a range of gift lines including specially-commissioned items from Australian artists and designers.

Revenue from the Parliament Shop increased, from $1,030,879 in 2014–15 to $1,108,520 in 2015–16, due to the new, quality product lines as well as consistent visitor numbers.


DPS, through its contracted caterer, facilitates a wide range of catering services to meet the needs of APH occupants, guests and visitors. On Budget Day 2016, our caterers supported 17 functions with 3,250 guests. A further 971 guests were served by the house services team.

DPS continued to work with the catering contractor to improve products and services for building occupants, with the release of new seasonal menus and speciality dining promotions.

Demand for food and beverage services at APH was steady in 2015–16. Food and beverage revenue usually declines by a total of approximately 10 per cent during election years, which is attributable to a reduction in sitting days. The total number of covers served decreased by 5.14 per cent on the 2014–15 figure, in part due to the Federal Election on 2 July 2016. This decrease will continue in the early part of 2016–17. Table 14 shows a breakdown of the covers25 by location.

Table 6: Total number of meals/beverages served at Parliament House in 2015-16





% increase on










Room service





House services (catering service—morning and afternoon teas, light meals and hot and cold beverages)





Members’ Club





Members and Guests Dining Room





Staff Dining Room





Queen’s Terrace Café





Schools hospitality





Coffee cart










25 A ‘cover’ equates to a sale (usually a single food or beverage serve) except for functions where the number equates to the number of people served which may involve multiple courses.

Health and Recreation Centre

DPS manages the Health and Recreation Centre (HRC) at Parliament House. The HRC provides a variety of exercise equipment, offers exercise classes and develops tailored individual fitness programs. In 2015–16, the HRC offered
a mix of circuit, ‘boot camp’, weight circuit, definition, stretch, boxing, spin, abdominal, back, core and yoga classes.

As at 30 June 2016, the HRC had 499 members. In addition, there were 1,593 casual visits to the HRC during 2015–16. There was a drop in total membership of 12 per cent on 2014–15, which can be attributed to parliamentarians and their staff not renewing memberships during the election period.

Art collections and exhibitions

DPS provides the custodial management of APH’s remarkable collection of Australian art, comprising more than 6,500 contemporary and historical artworks valued in excess of $85 million. Many works in the collection were commissioned as part of the art program created for the building, and are an essential element of the building’s architectural fabric. The collection also includes a number of stand-alone collections:

  • Rotational Collection — consisting largely of contemporary Australian artworks. The primary purpose of the Rotational Collection is to enhance the general circulation spaces of the building, as well as the offices and suites of parliamentarians
  • Architectural Commissions — consisting of artworks commissioned as an integrated part of the architectural design of the building
  • Historic Memorials Collection — consisting of portraits of officeholders and paintings of significant parliamentary events since 1911. It is the oldest continuous commissioning program in Australia
  • Official Gifts Collection — consisting of gifts presented to the Parliament since 1901
  • Constitutional Documents — a group of significant archival documents, and
  • Archival Collection — a range of historic and archival materials about Parliament, the art collection and the construction of Parliament House.

Director, Art Collection and Exhibitions, Justine van Mourik with artist Ben Quilty view works from the collections.
Director, Art Collection and Exhibitions, Justine van Mourik with artist Ben Quilty view works from the collections.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP with Mr Marc Gooch, representing artist Dinny Kunoth Kemarre at the launch of The AFL Dream Team, a new acquisition for the collections.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP with Mr Marc Gooch, representing artist Dinny Kunoth Kemarre at the launch of The AFL Dream Team, a new acquisition for the collections.

Dinny Kunoth Kemarre carved his football dream team from the wood of the bean tree.
Dinny Kunoth Kemarre carved his football dream team from the wood of the bean tree.

Works from the Rotational Collection are made available for display in parliamentarians’ offices and public areas and are loaned to other cultural institutions throughout Australia for exhibition. A small team of specialist DPS staff manages these assets—cataloguing, researching, digitising, conserving, preparing and presenting works of art to the highest possible museum standards


During 2015–2016, a number of artworks from the collection were loaned to temporary exhibitions across Australia (see page 78 for information about the loan of the Tom Roberts painting to the NGA). Significant works from the Parliament House Art Collection also continued to be on long-term loan to a number of institutions, including the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, the National Archives of Australia and the Museum of
Australian Democracy.

Exhibitions and displays

DPS continued to provide a varied program of high-quality public exhibitions and displays aimed at APH visitors and building occupants, giving the public greater access to the Parliament House Art Collection and highlighting the importance of the collection to the nation.

The exhibition program for 2015–2016 included:

We all stand on sacred ground
4 July to 24 September 2015

To celebrate NAIDOC Week 2015, the Parliament House Art Collection and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) jointly developed this display, which focused on Indigenous people’s strong spiritual and cultural connections to country.

Gestures of Goodwill
13 July to 11 October 2015

This exhibition featured a selection of the unique, valuable and beautiful gifts given to the Australian Parliament and its highest officeholders. Works were drawn from the Parliament House Art Collection, the collections of the chamber departments and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C).

The Art of Shakespeare
8 to 25 October 2015

This exhibition was staged in conjunction with Bell Shakespeare’s 25th anniversary, and featured works by a number of high-profile Australian artists. It was a celebration of our best Australian visual artists and a reflection of Shakespeare’s enduring body of work.

Presented to the Prime Minister/Pearls & Protocol
22 December to 28 February 2016

Following on from the success of Gestures of Goodwill, a second exhibition was staged featuring an eclectic selection of gifts presented to Australian Prime Ministers and their spouses, together with a small display of jewellery. Items were from the archives of PM&C and the Parliament House Art Collection

The Changeover
11 February to 15 May 2016

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of decimal currency, this display from the Royal Mint celebrated the change from pounds, shillings and pence to dollars and cents.

Anzac Centenary Print Portfolio
17 March to 5 June 2016

To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the Australian War Memorial commissioned a commemorative print portfolio featuring the work of 10 contemporary artists. The Print Portfolio reflects the Anzac legacy of the First World War and featured works by five Australian and five New Zealand artists.

Treaties & Australia: Reflections on 100 years
24 March to 15 May 2016

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 1996 treaty reforms, this exhibition celebrated the history of treaty making in Australia from the Treaty of Versailles through to the recent China/Australia Free Trade Agreement.

In addition to presenting the temporary exhibition program DPS also refurbished the displays in the Main Committee Room Foyer in July 2015, reuniting all of the 25 completed portraits of Australian Prime Ministers in Parliament House. A brochure on the portraits was also produced as a resource for visitors and has proven extremely popular.

On 11 November 2015 the Parliament also launched an interactive multimedia kiosk featuring the service records of parliamentarians with active service in the First World War. In April 2016 the kiosk was updated to include service records from the Second World War. The Parliamentary Library assisted with the content for the kiosks.


DPS actively acquires works of art for the Parliament House Art Collection to ensure that:

  • the Rotational Collection continues to represent diverse aspects of contemporary Australian life and culture and showcases the very best in Australian art and craft
  • the Historic Memorials Collection continues its 105-year tradition of documenting the history of the Parliament and its officeholders, and
  • official gifts to the nation are preserved for future generations.

During 2015–16, a total of 140 works of art were acquired: 123 were added to the Rotational Collection, two portraits and their studies were added to the Historic Memorials Collection and 13 works were accepted as gifts.

Works added to the Rotational Collection included major paintings by Ben Quilty, Pro Hart, Louise Feneley, Jennifer Riddle and William Mackinnon, photographic works by Carolyn Young, Joseph McGlennon and Robert Fielding and new media work by Nicole Welch.

New acquisitions for the Rotational Collection included 34 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. In June 2016, to mark Reconciliation Week, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, on behalf of the Presiding Officers, unveiled a major acquisition of 18 sculptures by Utopia artist Dinny Kunoth Kemarre, representing current players from each of the Australian Football League teams. Other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists added to the collection include Ray Ken, Tiger Yaltangki, Karen Mills, Keturah Zimran and Pepai Jangala Carroll.

During 2015–16 a number of significant works were purchased to mark the Centenary of Anzac, including works by Alan Cruickshank, Luke Sciberras, Catherine O’Donnell, Jennie Kemarre Martiniello, Robert Hannaford, Michael Keighery and Brian Robinson.


A number of significant gifts were also accepted into the collection during the year. These included an official gift from the Government and People of Singapore in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Australia/Singapore relations. The sculpture, Genetic Plant Series #01, by renowned Singapore sculptor Han Sai Por, was presented to the Presiding Officers in August 2015.

In November 2015, the Presiding Officers also accepted the gift of a tjuringa from representatives of the Yuendumu community and the Hon Ian Viner AO. The tjuringa (a sacred object) had been in storage for many years after its presentation to Mr Viner in 1978, in reciprocation for the title deed to the Yuendumu/Warlpiri traditional lands. Permission for the Parliament to acquire and display the object was granted following a lengthy consultation process with the Yuendumu community which culminated in a moving handover ceremony at APH.

In March 2016 the Presiding Officers accepted the gift of an edition of the Australian War Memorial’s ANZAC Centenary Print Portfolio. Printed in Canberra, the portfolio included prints by five Australian and five New Zealand artists including Daniel Boyd, Megan Cope, Mike Parr and Shane Cotton.

Historic Memorials Collection

During 2015–16 there were two portrait commissions completed for the Historic Memorials Collection. The final portraits of former Speakers, the Hon Peter Slipper by Paul Newton and Ms Anna Burke by Jude Rae were completed and approved for inclusion by the Historic Memorials Committee. Both portraits will be put on public display in late 2016. Discussions continued with the offices of former Prime Ministers, the Hon Kevin Rudd, the Hon Julia Gillard and the Hon Tony Abbott MP regarding the final selection of an artist to undertake their respective portrait commissions. Discussions also continued on a portrait of former Speaker, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop.

Conservation of the collection

A number of conservation projects were conducted during 2015–16. These included condition checking, cleaning and photography of Historic Memorials works on long-term loan to Admiralty House in Sydney, the ongoing restoration and treatment of Historic Memorials portraits and their frames, and preventative treatments for a number of textiles, including tapestries and floor rugs.

In June 2016, DPS contracted the Grimwade Centre for Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne
to conduct extensive treatment and rehousing of the Parliament’s 1297 Magna Carta over the next 12 months.
As part of this program of works the Magna Carta will be removed from its 1960s enclosure and rehoused in a state-of-the-art temperature-controlled showcase.

Table 7: Artwork activity 2015–2016 (all figures are ex-GST)




Extent to which the art collection is developed (number of new artworks acquired including portrait commissions & gifts)




Cost of acquisitions (art collection development incl. completed portrait commissions)




Number of artworks receiving preservation




Cost of preservation




 Visitor Services Officer Gina Hall aims to leave visitors as passionate about Parliament House as she is.
Visitor Services Officer Gina Hall aims to leave visitors as passionate about Parliament House as she is.

Waxing Lyrical about the House on the Hill

Gina Hall had a very different career before becoming a much-loved Visitor Services Officer at APH. After retirement
from the Royal Australian Air Force, Gina came to APH initially as a voluntary guide, later becoming a professional Visitor Services Officer.

‘I have been here for 22 years, and obviously I am very happy showing visitors around our wonderful “House on the Hill”’, she said.

There is something evangelical about Gina when she starts talking about the building. She loves Australian history and her exchanges with visitors are very interactive. In her free time, she gives talks about the building to church, service and senior-citizens groups in Canberra and interstate.

Gina admits that she always aims to convert visitors so they become as passionate about the building as she is.

She said many visitors were struck by the beauty of Parliament House. ‘As soon as they enter the Marble Foyer, you can sense their awe as you show them around the building and talk about its art and fabrics.’

‘Once, a child walked into the Marble Foyer with her father, who worked in the building’, Gina remembered fondly.

‘As father and child stood amongst the towering columns in the Marble Foyer, the father asked proudly “Who works here?”

‘ “God”, replied the child.’

Not everyone needs converting.

The Big Picture comes down from the wall … slowly.
The Big Picture comes down from the wall … slowly.

Relocating Tom Roberts’ ‘The Big Picture’

In November 2015, DPS facilitated the loan of the monumental Tom Roberts painting, Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia for a major Tom Roberts survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). The painting customarily hangs in the Main Committee Room Foyer. Weighing over 400 kilograms and standing almost four metres high in its frame, the ‘Big Picture’ had not left Parliament House since 1988.

Many months of preparation and planning went into the relocation of the work. The process began as the painting was slowly winched down to the first floor, where the frame and the canvas were separated.

The frame was then disassembled for transport and the canvas together with the frame was carefully moved through the building after hours. The canvas was then hand-carried down the marble foyer steps in a specially-designed and constructed aluminium frame. The following morning, the work left the building through the ceremonial front doors. It was then wheeled across the forecourt and forklifted onto a semi-trailer for a short trip down the hill to the NGA. At the conclusion of the exhibition in April 2016, the process was repeated in reverse but in a vastly shortened timeframe!

A complex logistical feat, the removal and reinstatement of the painting involved the effective cooperation and input of many sections of DPS, together with staff from the NGA. This group of people worked tirelessly before, during and after hours to deliver this major project in a professional and safe manner and their efforts were rewarded with a Secretary’s Award in December 2015.

The team from Parliament House and the NGA responsible for the temporary relocation.
The team from Parliament House and the NGA responsible for the temporary relocation.

Parliamentary Recording and Reporting Branch

Parliamentary Recording and Reporting Branch (PRRB) provides audio-visual (ParlAV) and transcription (Hansard) services, including recording, broadcasting and archiving the audio-visual record of Parliament and parliamentary committee proceedings and the production of the written record. Audio-visual services also include broadcasting press conferences on Parl TV, audio-visual support for parliamentary events, and ParlView—an online browsing and download tool for parliamentary material.

ParlAV broadcasts and records all parliamentary proceedings
ParlAV broadcasts and records all parliamentary proceedings.

Branch highlights

  • recorded and transcribed 3,633 hours of chamber and parliamentary committee proceedings
  • supported 612 parliamentary committee hearings, of which 253 were interstate hearings
  • produced 47,635 pages of Hansard
  • provided 1,604 patches and 836 multimedia services, including requests for extracts of parliamentary broadcast material
  • managed 650 television and audio productions
  • managed 1,551 audio visual services requests for a range of items such as data projectors, lecterns and
    PA systems, and
  • ParlView website received 1,793,003 hits!

In 2015–16 DPS broadcast a number of major events, including: the Opening of the 2nd Session of the 44th Parliament, the Magna Carta Symposium, the National Memorial Service honouring the victims of Flight MH17 First Anniversary, the Constitution Day Speakers’ Forum: Magna Carta, and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties—20th Anniversary Seminar.

The branch continued to meet demand for services associated with the high parliamentary committee workload during the first half of the financial year (similar to financial year 2014–15) with ParlAV supporting the high volume of away committees and Hansard continuing to meet delivery timeframes in most instances. PRRB saw an improvement overall in realising its key performance indicators. Most notable was the increase in timeliness of Hansard officials from 78.35 to 95.1 per cent.

Table 8: Hours recorded and transcribed


Number of hours recorded and transcribed




Parliamentary proceedings in the Senate, House of Representatives and Federation Chambers




Parliament House committee hearings




Interstate committee hearings









In 2015–16, PRRB produced 47,635 pages of Hansard. Of the 47,635 pages, 20,644 pages were chamber Hansards and 26,991 pages were committee Hansards.

The level of accuracy achieved for Hansard chamber transcripts produced in 2015–16 was consistent with those produced in 2014–15. The level of accuracy achieved for Hansard committee transcripts improved significantly with the number of errors per 100 pages decreasing from 6.36 errors per 100 pages transcribed in 2014–15 to 2.33 errors per 100 pages transcribed in 2015–16.

Table 9: Hansard–Accuracy


Type of transcription

Service standard

Error rate




Chamber proceedings

5 or fewer errors per 100 pages transcribed

2.5 errors

1.75 errors

1.81* errors

Committee hearings (Parliament House and interstate)

5 or fewer errors per 100 pages transcribed

7.4 errors

6.36 errors

2.33^ errors

*per 100 pages (total pages 20,644)
^per 100 pages (total pages 26,991)

Table 10: Hansard–Timeliness – Chambers

Type of transcript

Service standard

Percentage delivered within service standards




Individual draft speeches—delivered within two hours of speech finishing





Electronic proof Hansard reports—delivered within three hours of the House rising





Electronic official Hansard—delivered within 15 non-sitting working days following the last sitting day in the week





A significant improvement was realised with the delivery of electronic official Hansards achieving 95.10 per cent delivered within 15 non-sitting working days following the last sitting day. This result is an improvement from 78.35 per cent last financial year.

Table 11: Hansard–Timeliness – Committees

Committee-agreed timeframe

Service Standard

Percentage delivered within service standards




Delivery by next business day





Delivery within 1–3 business days





Delivery within 3–5 business days





Parliament audio-visual services

PRRB broadcasts all parliamentary activity through ParlTV, the APH in-house television service, which connects parliamentarians, their staff, the media and the parliamentary departments with events in the chambers, public committees hearings, special events (such as heads-of-state visits) and some press conferences. Recording and broadcasting services are delivered in real time.

DPS provides video-conferencing and phone-conferencing facilities to support the work of parliamentary committees. Using DPS studio and editing facilities, parliamentarians are also able to record pieces to camera, interviews and presentations. DPS also provides patches to the media—connections which allow a live feed to the press gallery or outside APH, so Parliament can be seen and heard through public and commercial media outlets in Australia and around the world.

During 2015–16, in addition to providing audio-visual services for parliamentary proceedings, DPS provided 1,604 patches and 836 multimedia services, including requests for extracts of parliamentary broadcast material, 650 television and audio productions and managed 1,551 audio visual services requests for a range of items such as data projectors, lecterns and PA systems.

Audio services were provided for 253 interstate committee hearings held in locations varying from capital cities to regional and remote centres including Christmas and Groote Islands, inland far north Queensland, Whyalla and Narrabri.

Parlview online

Recordings of proceedings of the parliamentary chambers and committees are available online (ParlView) via the APH website. The ParlView service received 1,793,003 hits during 2015–16 both within Australia and internationally.

Table 12: Access to ParlView on the Australian Parliament House website

Total Views


Country with most views



92% of total downloads

Within Australia



27.5% of total downloads

Highest daily view

6 February 2016


Captioning of parliament

The Australian Parliament and Parliamentary committees produce over 3,000 hours of first-release broadcast content annually.

To improve the accessibility of parliament for deaf and hearing impaired Australians, in 2015–16 DPS established contractual arrangements for the delivery of live captioning of its webcast to comply with the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy.

The implementation of live captioning will begin at the commencement of the 45th Parliament and will take approximately two years to fully implement.

All parliamentary activity is webcast live, before being made available on-demand through DPS’ ParlView service. This means that all recordings will be captioned live.

Contributing to parliamentary services

Throughout the 2015–16 financial year Hansard has, in partnership with the Parliamentary Library, transcribed approximately 140 hours of oral histories. These histories dated back to 1985 and were recorded to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary. Those interviewed included former senators and members, who discussed a variety of topics, from their experiences growing up to their time in the Australian Parliament and the contributions they made to Australian politics throughout their careers.

Once completed, the Parliamentary Library and Hansard will have digitised and transcribed over 500 hours of oral histories that help illuminate the parliamentary environment of the 20th century.

Performers and musicians are a feature of the Open Day celebrations.
Performers and musicians are a feature of the Open Day celebrations.

Open Day

On 19 September 2015 APH threw open its doors to the community, offering a full program of performances, displays, tours of the chambers and family activities. The parliamentary departments worked together to create a day that focused on the many facets of the work of the Parliament. Hidden areas were open, with visitors free to peer into the Cabinet Room, walk onto the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate, stroll over the grass roof, get up close to the flag flown above the building and become a parliamentary camera operator and Hansard editor for the day. The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta inspired the Bunch of Posers roving performers, a lawn courtyard labyrinth, the Speaker’s University Challenge debate and the medieval script-writing activities run by the Canberra Calligraphy Society. Throughout the day visitors were entertained by the ACT Primary Concert Choir, Lyneham High School’s jazz bands, ACT Flute Ensemble, the Australian National University School of Music Open School pianists and the Canberra City Pipes and Drums. There were also special appearances by Roo’d, two huge, bouncy kangaroos, and the Australian Federal Police Dog display. DPS staff showcased the work that keeps APH working, including hands-on displays from the art collection, furniture and landscape services equipment.

What our visitors said:

‘I thought I knew it all. The parliamentary system was very clearly explained. Enjoyed. Thank you.’
Open Day visitor, 19 September 2015

‘My visit to Parliament House on Open Day was awesome. The staff – excellent, pleasant, helpful. Loved everything about my visit.’
Open Day Visitor, 19 September 2016

Open Day is a chance for the community to enjoy Parliament House and its grounds.
Open Day is a chance for the community to enjoy Parliament House and its grounds.

DPS Commitment to Reconciliation

The Parliamentary Service Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2013–2015 outlines the commitment of the four parliamentary departments to be more actively involved in the journey to reconciliation.

Central to this effort is the need to build stronger relationships with, and promote enhanced respect between, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The RAP provides the foundation for building understanding and respect for the culture and histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and recognising their contribution to Australian life.

The parliamentary departments have worked together, with Reconciliation Australia, in 2015–16 to develop a new RAP for 2016–18 which builds upon our initial RAP. Work on the plan was almost completed in 2015–16, with the new plan to be launched in July 2016.

In 2015–16, DPS was involved in a wide range of activities to support the RAP.

National Reconciliation Week lecture

In May 2016, Mr Justin Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia and from the Gooreng Gooreng nation near Bundaberg in Queensland, delivered the annual Parliamentary Library National Reconciliation Week Lecture. Mr Mohamed discussed the State of Reconciliation in Australia report, released in February 2016.

Indigenous art protocols, practices and networks

The Parliament House Art Collection is a significant public collection of Australian art and DPS is committed to applying best practice policies and procedures in all aspects of its dealings with Indigenous artists and their works of art. DPS has become a member of the Indigenous Art Code, which promotes industry best practice in upholding Indigenous Australian artists’ rights. DPS has also adopted the Charter of Principles for Publicly Funded Collecting Institutions in managing the Parliament House Art Collection. The charter promotes professional best practice in the acquisition and management of artworks by Indigenous artists.

In November 2015, DPS Art Collection and Exhibitions staff conducted a special tour of Parliament House for participants in the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership program, hosted by the National Gallery of Australia. The program helps Indigenous people who work or want to work in the visual arts industry explore the diversity of careers available and build networks.

Justin Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia, delivers the 2016 Australian Parliamentary Library’s Reconciliation Week Lecture.

Justin Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia, delivers the 2016 Australian Parliamentary Library’s Reconciliation Week Lecture.

Indigenous art exhibitions and displays

During NAIDOC week (5-12 July 2015), DPS hosted an exhibition, We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn Respect and Celebrate. This included historic photographs from the collection of AIATSIS.

During Reconciliation Week 2016, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP, on behalf of the Presiding Officers, announced the purchase of a major Indigenous art acquisition for the Parliament House Art Collection. The 2016 AFL Dream Team, by Dinny Kunoth Kemarre celebrates the role of Australian Rules football in Central Australian communities and has been on display in the public area of Parliament House.

Employment strategy and Share Our Pride learning module

DPS recognises the value of having a staff profile which reflects the community at large, and the benefits this provides both to its operations and supporting mutual engagement between the community and the Parliament. In 2015–16 DPS released its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategy and accompanying action plan, which is based on the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy. The DPS RAP Working Group will monitor the implementation of this strategy over 2016–17.

In addition, the Share our Pride online learning module, developed by Reconciliation Australia, has been made available to all DPS staff on our Learning Management System. In 2015–16, 76 employees undertook the Share our Pride e learning module.