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Seminars for public servants

2018 Seminar Program

Two introductory seminars, About Parliament and The Senate at work, provide a general overview of the Australian parliamentary system of government. Developed with graduates and new public servants in mind, they provide a valuable overview of the work of the Parliament and lay the groundwork for other seminars in the series which examine in detail the Senate’s legislative work, the Senate committee system and the estimates process.

It is recommended that officers new to the Public Service enrol in one of these introductory seminars before other seminars in the series.

About Parliament


This seminar provides an introduction to Australia’s parliamentary system of government and what the Parliament does. It offers a solid understanding of the parliamentary system, including the constitutional provisions for the federal system of government and the functions of the Parliament. This seminar includes a tour of the House of Representatives and the Senate chambers.

Target audience: APS Graduates and those new to the public service

Dates: 11 April and 29 August
Cost: $350 per person*

The Senate at work


This seminar provides an introduction to the work of the Senate, featuring the legislative process and the Senate committee system. It shows how to keep track of Senate business and how to access key chamber documents online.

Target audience: APS Graduates and those new to the public service

Dates: 14 March and 1 August
Cost: $300 per person*

The work of the parliamentary scrutiny committees


This seminar covers the work of the Parliament’s legislative scrutiny committees which include the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Senate Regulations and Ordinances Committee and the Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee. It is particularly aimed at those involved in developing legislation and accompanying explanatory materials. Topics include the scrutiny principles by which the committees assess legislation, the committees’ expectations in relation to explanatory materials accompanying bills and legislative instruments, the committees’ reporting processes, and the main sources of guidance and support for negotiating the passage of legislation through the legislative scrutiny process.

Target audience: APS officers engaged in preparing legislation or those who may perform this role in the future

Dates: 25 July 
Cost: $300.00 per person*

Senate scrutiny of delegated legislation


This seminar covers the tabling, consideration and disallowance of delegated legislation in the Senate, including the work of the Senate Regulations and Ordinances Committee. It is aimed at those involved in preparing delegated legislation and explanatory statements. Topics include requirements for making and tabling delegated legislation, the work of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee, the disallowance timetable and consequences of disallowance.

Target audience: APS officers engaged in preparing delegated legislation or those who may perform this role in the future

Dates: 16 May 
Cost: $300.00 per person*

Getting bills through the Senate


This seminar is designed to give participants a detailed understanding of the legislative process and the skills needed to monitor and facilitate the progress of bills through the Parliament. It provides an overview of the legislative process including the passage of bills through Parliament, the amendment of bills, the role of Senate committees, disagreements between the two houses, and royal assent and commencement.

Target audience: APS officers involved in advising ministers or their officers in the Senate chamber on the passage of bills or those who may perform this role in the future

Dates: 6 June and 31 October
Cost: $300.00 per person*

Senate committees and the estimates process


This seminar provides a detailed examination of the powers and operation of Senate committees and the estimates process. It is designed for public servants who prepare submissions for Senate committees, monitor the estimates process or provide information to Senate committees considering the estimates of expenditure contained in the Budget.

Target audience: APS officers involved in preparing submissions for Senate committees or who monitor or attend Senate estimates

Dates: 21 February, 2 May and 10 October
Cost: $300.00 per person*

Engaging with the Senate - Senior Executive Service training


This seminar for SES officers focuses on the accountability of public servants to Parliament. Topics covered include the relationship between the public service, ministers and the Parliament; the role of the Senate in the accountability process; the law and practice of parliamentary privilege, particularly as it relates to the operation of Senate committees; and the rights and obligations of public servants who appear before them as witnesses.

Target audience: Senior Executive Service officers

Dates: 20 February, 1 May and 26 September
Cost: $300.00 per person*

Further information

Getting the most out of your seminar

From our experience, the most effective seminars are those with the most interaction among participants. And naturally, interaction is easiest among groups of people who know each other. So while we are very happy to have individual particpants, we encourage organisations to send groups of participants where possible.


Each seminar is restricted to 30 participants and registrations close one week before the seminar date. An email confirming your placement will be sent once a completed registration form has been received.

Customised courses

We can arrange courses to meet your specified needs. Customised courses can be held at Parliament House or at your office and a reduced rate may be negotiated subject to the number of participants. For further information on customised courses, contact the Seminar Co-ordinator.


New paid parking arrangements are now in effect in the underground public carpark. Under the new arrangements, parking is free for the first two hours on weekdays. Paid parking machines are prominently located at the southern end of the carpark, close to the main entrance.

Payment, cancellation and refund policy 

Tax invoices will be sent once registrations have closed, one week prior to the seminar date. The seminar fee will be waived only if a cancellation is notified in writing five or more working days prior to the seminar. If a participant is unable to attend, a substitute from the same organisation may attend but the course co-ordinator must be informed of this as early as possible. No refund will be given for non-attendance.

Due to unforeseen circumstances a seminar may be cancelled. In this event, participants will be advised of this cancellation and no fee will be charged.


For further information contact the Seminar Co-ordinator:

Phone (02) 6277 3072 or (02) 6277 3074

* Prices as at 24 November 2017