Annual Report 2016-2017 Department of the Legislative Assembly
Tabled paper 405
Tabled papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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DLA Annual Report 2015-16 Page 4 Clerk of the Legislative Assemblys Overview The Department of the Legislative Assembly continues to focus on serving the people of the Northern Territory by providing support to their elected Members of the Legislative Assembly. The Departments three Divisions: Committees and Education; House; and Member and Corporate Support, continue to work cohesively to deliver outcomes for the smooth operation of Assembly meetings, the administration of Members electorate offices, the employment of Members staff, and outreach and education programmes as well as the operations and maintenance of Parliament House. During the year, the Department supported the ultimate expression of democracy with the commencement of the Northern Territorys 13th Assembly on 18 October 2016 following a General Election held on 27 August 2016. The election resulted in a change of government with a significant turnover of Members, the abolition of an electorate in Alice Springs (Greatorex) and the creation of a new electorate in Darwin (Spillett). New electorate offices had to be located, leased and fitted out, Members had to attend induction sessions and be provided copies of materials, provide their disclosure of interest returns and be sworn in. The Assembly welcomed thirteen new Members to the 13th Assembly as well as one previously retired re-elected Member and the return of eleven other re-elected Members. To an Assembly of 25 Members, Territory electors once again chose an Assembly with Members of Aboriginal heritage, the only Australian parliament to have Aboriginal membership in every parliament since its foundation. As in the 12th Assembly, six Members with Aboriginal heritage meet in the 13th Assembly. For a short period, the Northern Territory Assembly with 48% women had the highest proportion of female representation in Australia until the Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory exceeded this with 52% women membership later in 2016 after an election in that jurisdiction. The Speaker of the 13th Legislative Assembly was re-elected unopposed to the role at the commencement of the meetings in October and therefore also continued in her role as a representative of the Australian Region on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Madam Speaker, with her parliamentary colleagues, hosted the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Mid-Year Executive Committee meeting during April at Parliament House in Darwin. The Mid-Year meeting saw delegates from each of the nine worldwide regions of the Association attend meetings in Darwin over four days during April where they contributed to debate, passed resolutions to further the work of the Association and continued to promote and facilitate Members of parliaments on a global basis develop democracy and undertake best practice in governance. The professional development of Members of Parliaments has been a focus of the Speakers membership on the Association and the Assembly was able to host the Mid-Year meeting on a cost neutral basis to Government by allocating funds from the Northern Territory Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to support the meeting. The Know Your Assembly seminars continue to attract Territorians to learn more about how their parliament works and for the first time the seminar was held in Katherine during the reporting period. A total of 196 people have participated in the forum during the reporting year. The annual survey of Members resulted in a recorded improvement in a number of areas of service delivery to Members of the Legislative Assembly. The results show that the work my colleagues undertake to serve Members and their constituents is appreciated and of a high calibre. The 2016 results showed two categories in decline this year compared with four last year, one stable compared with two last year and six improvements compared to five improvements last year. The categories in decline were the level of satisfaction with Department of Corporate and Information Services provided information and communication technology (ICT) services down from 94% to 90% and the level of satisfaction with Committee support was down from a previous 98% to 96%.