Departmental overview

Supporting the Senate and senators

The department’s role is to serve the Senate and its committees, and its functions are almost entirely determined by their activities. The department provides services in four main categories: advice and support for the Senate chamber, public education and awareness, advice and support for Senate and certain joint committees, and office support services for senators in their Parliament House offices.

The department is responsible, not to the government of the day, but to the Senate and all senators, and maintains complete impartiality in serving equally senators from all political parties and independent senators.

Before turning to the department’s performance during 2013–14, this overview sets out the department’s organisational structure, planned outcome and objectives.

Organisational structure

The department is responsible to the Senate through the President of the Senate, Senator the Honourable John Hogg, who was first elected as President in August 2008 and continued in that role during the year. Senator Hogg’s term as a senator concluded on 30 June 2014.

The administrative head of the department is the Clerk of the Senate, Dr Rosemary Laing, who was appointed in December 2009.

The department is organised into the Clerk’s Office and four other offices, as shown in figure 1. Figure 1 also identifies the elements of each office.

Senior staff from across the department provide direct support to the Senate on sitting days as clerks at the table. The following staff performed such duties during 2013–14:

  • Rosemary Laing
  • Richard Pye
  • Maureen Weeks
  • Chris Reid
  • Bronwyn Notzon
  • Brien Hallett
  • David Sullivan
  • Sue Blunden
  • James Warmenhoven
  • Jackie Morris
  • Tim Bryant

The Usher of the Black Rod performs certain formal and ceremonial duties on sitting days. During 2013–14, the following staff assisted with these duties:

  • John Baczynski
  • Anthony Szell
  • Glenn Krause

Figure 1 Organisational structure, 30 June 2014

Figure 1 Organisational structure, 30 June 2014

Outcome and program structure

The work of the department is directed to one outcome:

Advisory and administrative support services to enable the Senate and senators to fulfil their representative and legislative duties.

In order to achieve this outcome, the department’s objectives, set out in its corporate plan, are to:

  • continue to develop expertise in the constitutional and procedural bases of the Senate and its committees
  • maintain and improve services to the Senate, its committees, senators and other users of departmental resources using efficient and up-to-date technology
  • ensure the highest standard of accurate and prompt procedural advice
  • publish a range of practical, procedural resources on the work of the Senate and the Parliament and maximise awareness of and access to these resources
  • produce and deliver effective education and information programs
  • implement effective workforce planning, recruitment and staff development practices to ensure the department has a highly skilled, knowledgeable and motivated workforce.

The department’s portfolio budget statements provide for program-based annual reporting. The department delivers its outcome through a single departmental program which comprises the services provided by its five offices.

Figure 2 illustrates the relationship between the department’s organisational and program structures. It also identifies four intermediate outcomes against which the department’s services may be broadly categorised and indicates the key responsibilities of each office.

Figure 2 Outcome and office structure, 30 June 2014

Figure 2 Outcome and office structure, 30 June 2014