Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives

The Clerk of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia is responsible for managing the Parliamentary Department of the House of Representatives. The Clerk is a non-elected administrative officer under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.[1][2] The term of the Clerk of the House of Representatives is now limited by law to 10 years. On 12 August 2019, Claressa Surtees became the first female Clerk of the House.

The Department of the House of Representatives provides services to support the efficient conduct of the House of Representatives, its committees and certain joint committees as well as a range of services and facilities for House Members in the Australian Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The Department also undertakes activities to promote the work of the House in the community and is responsible for the conduct of the Parliaments' international and regional relations.[3] As at 30 June 2014, the Department had a staff of 176.[4] The Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives conducts the election for Speaker.

The Department of the House of Representatives is not part of the Executive Government of Australia, being instead responsible to the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, who has accountability obligations for the department to the House of Representatives.

Clerks of the House

There have been 16 Clerks of the House. The longest-serving was Frank Green, who held the position for over 18 years.[5] The shortest-serving was John McGregor, who held the position for 27 days. He collapsed while the House was speaking on a condolence motion for his predecessor Walter Gale, who had died in office a month earlier. McGregor was taken to Canberra Hospital where he died.[6]

George Jenkins, the clerk of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, was seconded to the Federal Parliament for its first few months and acted as Clerk of the House during that time before the position was filled permanently.[5]

#ClerkTerm startTerm endDuration
Sir George Henry Jenkins CMG (acting)1 May 19016 July 1901 66 days
1Charles Cashel Gavan Duffy8 July 190131 January 1917 15 years, 207 days
2Walter Augustus Gale CMG1 February 191727 July 1927 10 years, 176 days
3John Robert McGregor1 September 192728 September 1927 27 days
4Ernest William Parkes CMG27 October 192722 March 1937 9 years, 146 days
5Frank Clifton Green CBE MC23 March 193725 June 1955 18 years, 94 days
6Albert Allan Tregear CBE27 June 195531 December 1958 3 years, 187 days
7Sir Alan George Turner CBE1 January 195910 December 1971 12 years, 343 days
8Norman James Parkes CBE11 December 197131 December 1976 5 years, 20 days
9John Athol Pettifer CBE1 January 197715 July 1982 5 years, 195 days
10Douglas Maurice Blake AM VRD16 July 198230 July 1985 3 years, 14 days
11Alan Robert Browning31 July 198522 March 1991 5 years, 234 days
12Lyndal McAlpin Barlin AM23 March 199126 July 1997 6 years, 125 days
13Ian Charles Harris AO27 July 19974 December 2009 12 years, 130 days
14Bernard Clive Wright AO4 December 200931 December 2013 4 years, 27 days
15David Russell Elder1 January 20149 August 2019 5 years, 288 days
16 Claressa Surtees 12 August 2019 Incumbent

See also


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