37th Report: Administration of Parliamentary Security
© Commonwealth of Australia 2006
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Members of the Committee
- The President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Paul Calvert(Chairman)
- The Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator the Hon. John Faulkner
- Senator Lyn Allison
- Senator the Hon. Nick Bolkus
- Senator the Hon. Ron Boswell
- Senator Jeannie Ferris
- Senator the Hon. Bill Heffernan
- Senator Robert Ray
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: 02 6277 3015
Fax: 02 6277 5784
Background: Review of the administration of parliamentary security
1.1 The Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing presents its 37 th Report, on the Administration of Parliamentary Security. This report reflects the consideration by the committee of in principle decisions made by the Presiding Officers on security matters following the review by the Parliamentary Service Commissioner of aspects of the administration of the Parliament.
1.2 The review was commissioned in April 2002 by the then President, Senator the Honourable Margaret Reid, and the Speaker, the Honourable Neil Andrew MP. The first of three areas identified for investigation was, ‘The advantages, financial and organisational, which may arise from a change to the administration of security within Parliament House.’ The full terms of reference of the review are contained at Appendix 1.
1.3 The Commissioner presented his first report, on security matters, to the Presiding Officers in June 2002. The recommendations on security were later subsumed, with some minor edits, in his final report, received by the Presiding Officers on 30 September 2002 and tabled in the Senate on 23 October 2002.
1.4 The President reported to the committee that the Presiding Officers had made the following in principle decisions in response to the Commissioner’s recommendations on the administration of parliamentary security: That—
- A centralised security operation be created in the Joint House Department, with personnel transferred to that Department and funds channelled through the chamber departments to support the function.
- The current Interim Security Management Board (established earlier this year) now be established permanently, and known as the ‘Security Management Board’.
- The board be chaired by the Secretary, Joint House Department, with membership of the Usher of the Black Rod, the Serjeant-at-Arms, the Security Controller, an officer nominated by the Secretary, Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, and such other persons with security expertise who may be co-opted to the board with the permission of the Presiding Officers.
- The functions of the board be further developed by agreements between all the parliamentary departments and submitted for approval to the Presiding Officers.
The President referred to these issues as part of his statement to the Senate on security within the Parliamentary Precincts on 11 November 2002.
Role of the committee
2.1 The terms of appointment of the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing require that it examine matters affecting the staffing and administration of the Department of the Senate, including proposals to vary the staffing structure.2Further, a resolution of the Senate declares, ‘that no changes in the structure or responsibilities of the parliamentary departments should be made until—
- particulars of proposed changes have been provided to all Senators;
- the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing has examined the proposed changes and reported to the Senate; and
- the Senate has approved of the changes.’
2.2 The in principle decisions made by the Presiding Officers propose both a variation to the staffing structure of the Department of the Senate and a change in the structure and responsibilities of the parliamentary departments. Accordingly the committee has considered those decisions and now reports to the Senate.
Administration of parliamentary security
3.1 With respect to the administration of Parliamentary security, the committee has adopted the following resolutions:
(1) The committee, with reference to the statement by the President to the Senate on 11 November 2002, endorses the proposals adopted in principle by the President for the reorganisation of the security function in Parliament House, including:
- the establishment of the Security Board of Management, with the composition as proposed by the President;
- the transfer to the Joint House Department of security personnel and equipment currently located in the two chamber departments;
- the appropriation to the two chamber departments of the funds for security,
and recommends that the Senate approve of those proposals.
(2) The committee, in endorsing those proposals, notes that, while the proposed reorganisation may improve governance and coordination in the security function, it does not itself ensure that appropriate security measures are taken in Parliament House, and the committee calls on the President to take appropriate measures to secure the building adequately, with the advice of the Commonwealth’s security agencies and with appropriate consultation with, and notification to, senators.
3.2 The Senate must approve the proposed changes before they can take effect.
Review of aspects of the administration of the Parliament
4.1 With respect to the review by the Parliamentary Service Commissioner, the committee notes that the Presiding Officers have invited comments from senators, parliamentary staff and other interested persons by 22 November 2002. The committee will consider the review further after that time.
November 2002 Senate Debates, 11/11/2002, pp. 5817-8 [Proof Hansard]
Standing order 19.
Agreed to 3 June 1987, J.1951.