Corporate Governance

The department’s operations for 2021–22 were governed by the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 and other legislation.

Corporate plan

The department’s Corporate Plan 2021–22 outlines our objectives, role and structure, the environment in which we operate, and our approach to maintaining the capabilities of our key resource – our staff. Work reports provided to the Clerk throughout the reporting period showed continued progress in key areas and work tasks. Planned outcomes are explained in the department’s portfolio budget statements and performance results, including our annual performance statements, and are included in this report.

Management and assurance

The department’s corporate governance mechanisms include two senior committees, the Program Managers’ Group, chaired by the Deputy Clerk, and the Audit Committee, chaired by an independent member from outside the department. These committees provide advice, support and assurance to the Clerk to ensure that effective governance and statutory responsibilities for the management of the department are met. The role, membership and activities of these groups are described in figure 17. A copy of the Audit Committee Charter can be found on the Department of the Senate website –

The department also participates in a range of interdepartmental committees through which the parliamentary departments coordinate common and joint activities. Chief among these were meetings of the heads of the four parliamentary departments, the Parliamentary Administration Advisory Group, the Security Management Board, the Parliamentary ICT Advisory Board (and its subordinate ICT committees), and other bodies managing joint projects. Collaboration with parliamentary colleagues is also supported through informal meetings between parliamentary service officers as required.

Figure 17 – Management and assurance, 2021–22
Program Managers’ Group

Coordinate corporate governance matters, including:

  • human resource management
  • risk management and planning
  • performance reporting
  • financial planning, and
  • departmental service quality.

Five meetings

Examined a range of issues in the following areas:

  • budget
  • staffing (including learning and development)
  • health and well-being strategy (including work, health and safety)
  • ICT and associated risk strategies
  • compliance, auditing and reporting requirements
  • risk management (including risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • administrative arrangements, and
  • administration in common with other parliamentary departments.

Deputy Clerk and program managers.

Chaired by the Deputy Clerk.

Audit Committee

Provide independent advice to the Clerk on the department’s financial and performance reporting responsibilities, risk oversight and management, and systems of internal controls.


Five meetings.

Based on the committee’s charter, the committee undertook a progressive annual work plan against its four main areas of focus:

  • financial reporting
  • performance reporting
  • risk oversight and management, and
  • systems of internal control.

An annual report of the committee’s activities is provided to the Clerk in December each year.


Three members (including the Chair). Further information on the members is outlined below.

Advisers: Deputy Clerk and one program manager.

Observers: Usher of the Black Rod (Secretary), Chief Finance Officer, representatives from the Australian National Audit Office and the department’s internal audit service provider.

Figure 18 – Audit Committee member information, 2021–22
Member name Qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience Number of meetings attended / total number of meetings held1 Total annual remuneration2
E Montano

Ms Montano holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (UNSW) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She has over twenty years’ experience as chair, deputy chair and member of boards and audit committees across a range of government and not for profit entities. She has broad ranging experience in governance and the machinery of government including in financial and performance reporting, risk, assurance and program and project management and oversight.

As a former Chief Executive Officer of AUSTRAC, she was the first woman to lead a Commonwealth law enforcement/regulatory agency. Prior to that appointment, she was a consultant and senior lawyer with King & Wood Mallesons.



S Murtagh

Mr Murtagh holds a Certificate in Governance and Risk Management from the Governance Institute of Australia and is a member of the Risk Management Institute of Australia.

He has been a member of public sector audit committees for more than13 years, informed by a career in the general government sector spanning more than 37 years, and in governance focused roles at branch head or equivalent levels for over 12 years.



G Knuckey

Mr Knuckey holds a Bachelor of Economics (ANU), is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Registered Company Auditor.

He has extensive experience as an audit committee member or chair and is currently serving on audit committees for numerous government entities. He also has extensive experience as a director and serves on boards and audit committees of multiple private sector entities.

Mr Knuckey has been a full-time company director and audit committee member since 2009 following a 32 year career with Ernst & Young specialising in Audit and Assurance Services in both the public and private sectors across a range of industries.



1 The comparison relates to the total number of meetings for the reporting period, not the meetings attended during the member’s tenure. In addition to attending meetings, the committee members are required to consider material out-of-session including significant preparation for each meeting.

2 Total annual remuneration is GST inclusive and excludes any travel costs for interstate members.

Fraud control and risk management

Consistent with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the Clerk’s Instructions and associated financial management policies promote the proper use of the department’s resources. The Clerk’s Instructions are reviewed regularly to ensure their applicability and coverage.

The department has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting mechanisms that comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework. No incidents of fraud were detected in this reporting period.

During 2021–22, risk areas and associated controls and mitigation strategies were routinely considered by senior management and reported to the department’s Audit Committee. The framework for managing risk is revised regularly and made available to staff on the department’s intranet. Risk oversight and management is a standing agenda item for meetings of the program managers.