Thursday, 4 July 2019
Statement by the Speaker
Clerk of the House of Representatives
Before I call on question time, I have a brief statement to make to the House that will be of interest to all members. Members would be aware that I announced earlier this year that our Clerk, David Elder, is to retire. As I said at the time, we'll recognise his longstanding and outstanding service to our parliament and to our nation on his last day in this chamber, which I can now advise members will be Thursday, 1 August. His last day in the parliament will be at the end of the following week.
I can advise the House that a selection process for the position of Clerk was undertaken, which was overseen by the Parliamentary Service Commissioner, Mr Peter Woolcott AO, and assisted by an advisory panel comprising former speaker Anna Burke and former member for Boothby Andrew Southcott. Following consultations with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the House and the Manager of Opposition Business, I have today signed the instrument appointing our next Clerk. I'm very pleased to advise members that our next Clerk will be our current Deputy Clerk, Ms Claressa Surtees.
Claressa commenced with the Department of the House of Representatives in August 1994. She subsequently served in a number of important roles, including Serjeant-at-Arms and Clerk Assistant, following which she was of course promoted to Deputy Clerk. The Clerk of the House of Representatives is the principal adviser in relation to proceedings of parliament and is also responsible for the Department of the House of Representatives. The Clerk plays a critical role in maintaining our democracy. As I have said, I was sure members would welcome the announcement. It's also, of course, a historic appointment as Claressa will become the first female Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Honourable members: Hear, hear!