The Parliamentary Service
The Australian Parliament is established under the Constitution to make Commonwealth laws, supervise the spending of public money, scrutinise government activities and provide a forum for national debate. The Parliamentary Service provides professional support, advice and facilities to each House of the Parliament, to parliamentary committees and to Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. It consists of four parliamentary departments with distinct but overlapping roles.
The Department of the Senate provides the Senate, its committees, the President of the Senate and Senators with advisory and administrative support services to enable them to fulfil their representative and legislative duties.
The Department of the House of Representatives supports the House of Representatives in the role of a representative and legislative body by providing expert advice and services of a high standard.
The Department of Parliamentary Services provides a wide range of services and facilities to ensure that the Parliament functions effectively. These include audio visual and Hansard services, library and research services, art services, building grounds and design intent services, visitor services, security services and information and communication technology services.
The Parliamentary Budget Office informs the Parliament by providing independent and non-partisan analysis of the budget cycle, fiscal policy and the financial implications of proposals, and reports publicly on the budget impacts of the election commitments of the major parliamentary parties.
This plan adds a formal dimension to the engagement which has long characterised the work of the parliamentary service.
While each department performs a unique role in supporting the functioning of the Australian Parliament, we share a common goal in serving and supporting the Parliament, and together provide services to ensure:
- Parliament and its committees function effectively throughout the 45th Parliament
- that senators and members are supported in the democratic process
- the community can easily access and engage in the work of the Parliament and Parliamentary committees
- Australian Parliament House (APH) is sustained as a workplace and national institution
- our capacity as an independent, non-partisan parliamentary service is enhanced
|Provide services and support to enable the Houses and their committees to function effectively
- Continue to provide timely and accurate advice and support services related to the exercise of the legislative power of the Commonwealth
- Deliver high quality secretariat support, and high quality research, analysis and advice to the Houses, their committees, parliamentarians and their staff
- Effectively manage office accommodations including the supply and management of equipment, furniture, information systems, transport, publishing, printing and messenger services
|Ensure parliamentarians are supported in their work today and we are responsive to the future
- Develop cost effective and innovative ways to deliver services to parliamentarians
- Continue to provide professional development opportunities for parliamentarians and their staff
- Implement efficient and effective infrastructure, systems and services to respond to the changing needs of the Parliament and our parliamentarians
- Explore and develop innovative technology and systems for the delivery of timely information and services to the Houses, their committees, parliamentarians and their staff
|Enhance engagement in the work of the Parliament
- Support the Parliament’s engagement with the community and initiatives to develop parliamentary democracy in our region
- Improve and enhance electronic access to parliament information and proceedings for parliamentarians and the community
- Improve accessibility and quality of services for visitors to APH
- Continue to develop and promote the Parliament’s International program and capacity building work
- Deliver high quality education and outreach programs that accurately reflect the Parliament and its work
- Continue to promote significant parliamentary events to enable greater community engagement including through the use of social media and emerging technologies
|Ensure Australian Parliament House operates as a safe and accessible workplace and national institution
- Ensure a secure environment while maintaining public accessibility
- Ensure adaptations of the uses of the building are strategic, appropriate and reference design integrity principles
- Effectively manage all assets within APH, in keeping with its status as an icon of parliamentary democracy and building of national significance
|Enhance our capability as an independent, non-partisan and professional parliamentary service
- Continue to promote the Parliamentary Service Values through leadership and training
- Proactive identification and application of collaborative approaches through shared learning and development across the parliamentary service
- Continue to develop staff with the skills and capabilities to be responsive and solutions oriented in supporting parliamentarians and their staff
across the parliamentary service
Under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, the heads of the parliamentary departments, reporting to the Presiding Officers provide leadership and strategic direction to the individual departments and manage the affairs of those departments in a way that is not inconsistent with the interests of the Parliamentary Service as a whole. They assist the Presiding Officers to fulfil their accountability obligations to the Parliament.
The four heads are supported in these endeavours by SES level officers, required under the Act to provide strategic leadership that contributes to an effective and cohesive Parliamentary Service; to promote cooperation within and between departments, including to deliver outcomes across department boundaries; and to promote the Parliamentary Service Values, the Parliamentary Service Employment Principles and compliance with the Code of Conduct.
Our pride in parliamentary service is reflected in the quality of our work
We all share a common purpose of supporting Australia’s Parliament and parliamentarians. The parliamentary departments work together to support our common purpose through an established governance framework.
- Meetings of Department Heads are conducted on a quarterly basis – these meetings are essential to identify opportunities for collaboration, consideration and decision making, strengthening the effectiveness of the parliamentary administration.
- Parliamentary Administration Advisory Group meetings – this group supports the department head meetings by overseeing implementation of corporate initiatives of common interest across the parliamentary departments.
- Parliamentary ICT Advisory Board meetings are conducted quarterly – these meetings represent the peak body within Parliament in overseeing and guiding all strategic element s of ICT service delivery within APH and across the electorate offices.
- Service Level Agreements – are established between parliamentary departments to provide confidence and define the level of service and performance.
In addition, we are each accountable to the Parliament through a variety of parliamentary committees and advisory groups that oversee our operations.