The Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory, the parliament for the nation's capital, was established after self-government in 1989. It performs both territory and local level functions and makes decisions that impact the lives of those who live and work in the ACT. This website is maintained by the Office of the Legislative Assembly on behalf of the Assembly.
Office of the Legislative Assembly
The Office of the Legislative Assembly is a non-political organisation provides procedural and administrative advice and support to the Assembly and its committees. It is headed by the Clerk of the Assembly, Tom Duncan, and is governed by the Legislative Assembly (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Act 2012. Unlike other parts of the ACT public sector, neither the Clerk nor Office staff are subject to the direction of the Executive.
The Office has three sections: the Office of the Clerk, Parliamentary Support, and Business Support.
Office of the Clerk
The Office of the Clerk is responsible for governance and procedural matters, parliamentary education, and public affairs.
The Parliamentary Support Branch is responsible for advising and supporting key parliamentary activities, including:
- Providing administrative and procedural advice and support to the operation of the chamber,
- Providing administrative and procedural advice and support to committees,
- Creating transcripts of proceedings and publishing Hansard, and
- Operating the Assembly Library and providing library information and reference services for a range of public sector clients.
- Financial and budgetary management services;
- HR, payroll and entitlements advisory services;
- ICT, records management, and broadcasting services; and
- Security, facilities and building management services.
Officers of the Assembly
An Officer of the Assembly is a role created by Territory law to keep the government accountable in a certain area, such as elections, corruption, or interacting with the public. They are independent of the government of the day, appointed by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and report through the Speaker to the Assembly rather than to a government minister.
There are currently six Officers of the Assembly:
- The Auditor-General;
- The Electoral Commissioner, Commission Chair, and Commission Member (collectively the Electoral Commission);
- The Ombudsman; and
The Office of the Legislative Assembly, the administrative office that supports the functioning of the parliament, is not an Officer of the Assembly.
The designation of Officer of the Assembly was established following an independent review conducted in 2011 of governance in the ACT, which evaluated the ACT’s performance against the Latimer House Principles on the Three Branches of Government. The review recommended that the Auditor-General and the Ombudsman should be given independent status as ‘officers of the parliament’. In its 2012 report on Officers of the Parliament, the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure also recommended that the Auditor-General and the Ombudsman become officers of the parliament.
In 2013, following passage of a private member’s bill (the Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Act 2013), the Auditor-General, Ombudsman and members of the Electoral Commission were designated as Officers of the Assembly. More recently, the ACT Integrity Commissioner and the Inspector of the ACT Integrity Commission (currently the Inspector is the ACT Ombudsman) were established as Officers of the Assembly (see the Integrity Commission Act 2018).
Click the tabs below to find out about the Officers of the Assembly.
The current ACT Auditor-General is Michael Harris, who oversees and is supported in his work by the ACT Audit Office.
The Auditor-General conducts independent financial and performance audits on ACT Government agencies and entities which receive ACT Government funding or resources. The results of these audits are reported to the Legislative Assembly. These audits are an important means of holding agencies and entities to account and encouraging them to continuously improve their services and activities.
The current ACT Electoral Commission is made up of Electoral Commissioner Damien Cantwell AM, Commission Chair Dawn Casey, and Commission Member Philip Moss AM. They are supported in their work by Elections ACT
The ACT Electoral Commission is an independent authority responsible for the conduct of Legislative Assembly elections and referendums, determining Assembly electoral boundaries, and providing electoral advice and services.
The current ACT Integrity Commissioner is the Honourable Dennis Cowdroy AO QC. He oversees and is supported in his work by the ACT Integrity Commission.
The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for investigating alleged corrupt conduct in the Legislative Assembly and ACT public sector, and referring suspected crimes or wrongdoing to the relevant authorities. They also lead efforts to prevent corruption and foster public confidence the ACT's public institutions.
The current ACT Ombudsman is Michael Manthorpe PSM. As Ombudsman, he is also the Inspector of the Integrity Commission.
The Ombudsman assess complaints to see if an ACT government agency has been unfair, discriminatory or unjust in their interactions with the public. They also monitor how ACT organisations manage allegations of child abuse, help people access government information, and provide oversight of ACT Policing (including their surveillance powers).