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Parliamentary Officers

Parliamentary Officers

The people in parliament who gain the most attention are, naturally, the elected Members in each House and their leaders. As the representatives of the people, this is appropriate. However, no modern Parliament could operate with Members or Chambers alone. Behind the State's 135 Members of Parliament is a significant number of expert support staff, modern technology and a substantial and extensive building.

Each Member is assisted by one or more support staff located usually in electorate offices in the case of Legislative Assembly Members, or at Parliament House in the case of Legislative Council Members. Ministers, of course, have larger staffs as well as their Departmental staff but none of these are part of the Parliament House establishment.

Having two Houses, the Parliament also has two Presiding Officers - the President of the Legislative Council and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Jointly, the two Presiding Officers are the senior elected officers responsible for the administration and operation of the Parliament, not unlike the Ministers are of their various departments and agencies. Each Presiding Officer is assisted by their respective Clerk - the Clerk of the Parliaments (or Legislative Council) and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. The Clerks are the permanent heads of the two House administrations, not unlike the Directors or CEOs of Government departments and agencies. They are supported by several Deputy or Assistant Clerks with more specialised roles. Each of the Clerks also sit in the Chambers to provide direct advice to the Presiding Officers and to Members.

These officers also include the Serjeant-at-Arms (Legislative Assembly) and the Usher of the Black Rod (Legislative Council), traditional officers who assist their respective Presiding Officers in and outside of the Chamber in matters of security, ceremony, advice and order.

Each House is supported by its own House Department of expert procedural and administrative staff whose role is to ensure the smooth operation of the Houses, the proper processes and recording of legislation, preparation of business papers and general support for the work of Members.

As a great deal of the work of back bench Members these days is involved with permanent or temporary Parliamentary Committees, the Committees themselves require professional support staff. Committees and their staffs can belong to a single House or jointly to both Houses.

Then there are a series of Joint Services sections which support all Members and the whole of Parliament - the Parliamentary Library, Parliamentary Reporting Staff (Hansard), Food and Beverages, Building Services, Information Technology, Security, Education and Community Relations, Archives, Accounts and Printing.