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Officers of the Queensland Parliament

Elected officers

The Speaker

After a general election and at the beginning of the first parliamentary sitting day, a Member is elected by secret ballot to the position of Speaker.  Normally, the Government's nominee is successful, since the Government controls the numbers in the House. 

The office of Speaker is an ancient one dating back to the early English parliaments in the 14th century.  Unlike the Speaker of the British House of Commons, the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament does not resign from his or her political party and is still required to contest elections. 

As the chief presiding officer of the Parliament, the Speaker chairs the debates and enforces the rules (known as Standing Orders) to ensure orderly conduct in the Chamber.  In both instances, the Speaker is expected to demonstrate impartiality. However, the Speaker may participate in debates and in a tied voting situation has a casting vote.

The Speaker enjoys considerable powers within a parliamentary jurisdiction and can issue by-election writs, warrants for parliamentary privilege offenders and, if necessary, have brought before the Bar of the Parliament such offenders for rebuke or sentence.

Administratively, the Speaker has control of the Parliamentary Service and is responsible for the Parliament's policies, budget, services and administration.  The Speaker may be assisted with these duties by an advisory committee.

Deputy Speaker 

After the election of the Speaker, a Deputy Speaker is appointed by a resolution of the House. This office is established by the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 (s.17). Under this Act the Deputy Speaker must preside over all meetings of the Committee of the Whole House and act as Speaker in the Speaker's absence and while doing so is called the Deputy Speaker.

Temporary Speakers

At the commencement of each Parliament, a panel of no more than eight members is appointed by the Speaker to act as Temporary Speakers. When a Temporary Speaker occupies the Chair, he or she is known as the Deputy Speaker.

Permanent officers

Because elected parliamentary officers are confronted with the vagaries of electoral chance, as well as the need to service their constituencies, a group of officers are employed as permanent advisers, recorders and parliamentary administrators.

The Clerk of the Parliament

Chief among these officers is the Clerk of the Parliament who assists the Speaker and advises Members with interpretation of parliamentary procedures and Standing Rules and Orders.

The Clerk is responsible for ensuring all proceedings of the Assembly are recorded in the Record of Proceedings; distribution of Bills and Notice Papers; and has custody of all documents in the possession of the Assembly. All legislation passed by the Assembly is certified by the Clerk prior to the Governor's Royal Assent. The Clerk is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Parliamentary Service and is responsible for the efficient and economical management of the parliamentary administration.

The Sergeant-at-Arms

The Sergeant-at-Arms is the bearer of the Mace which symbolises the Speaker's and hence the Parliament's authority, as separate from the Crown's.

Dating back to the 15th century when Henry V required one of his bodyguards to attend the House of Commons and enforce the Parliament's privileges, today's Sergeant is still responsible for the maintenance of order in the Public Gallery and at the Speaker's request, can escort a suspended Member from the Chamber.

Chief Hansard Reporter

The Chief Hansard Reporter is responsible for a team of reporters who report and edit the parliamentary debates (named Hansard after the family which was granted permission to report the British parliamentary debates between 1812 and 1899), as well as the reporting of evidence presented at parliamentary committees and commissions of inquiry. 

Parliamentary Librarian

The Parliamentary Librarian heads a team of librarians and research officers who are responsible for the preparation of Member's  information and research requirements, as well as the publication of information briefs aimed at Members' interests.

Parliamentary Service - other staff

Besides the previously mentioned permanent officers, support is also provided from other staff in the areas of financial administration, human resource management, information technology, training, committees, parliamentary education, protocol, catering, security and attendant services and the maintenance of the building and grounds.

Associated officers

Two independent officers are empowered by the Parliament to act as watchdogs over Government departments and statutory authorities.  The Parliamentary Commissioner for Administrative Investigations (the Ombudsman) investigates grievances against the actions of State Government departments, local and statutory authorities and their officers, while the Auditor-General audits the accounts of departments and statutory authorities in terms of their parliamentary appropriations.  Both officers issue their reports to the Parliament.