Go to top of page

Parliamentary services

The department’s parliamentary team provides high-quality services to portfolio ministers and assistant ministers, the Secretary and portfolio agencies. These services include processing, monitoring and quality assuring ministerial correspondence and briefings; coordinating question time briefs and parliamentary questions; and facilitating attendance at Senate Estimates hearings.

The parliamentary team provides secretariat services to the department’s senior internal decision-making body, the Executive Meeting. It also maintains the department’s Parliamentary Document Management System (PDMS), which is used to store, monitor and manage the flow of parliamentary and executive documents. In 2018–19, the department experienced a more than 50 per cent increase in the volume of ministerial correspondence received. This increase is attributed to the August 2018 ministerial changes.

Table 24. Parliamentary workflow — documents processed, 2018–19

Responsible area

Ministerial correspondence (received)

Ministerial briefings

Question time briefs

Answers to parliamentary questions on notice (tabled)

Senate Estimates questions on notice (tabled)

Senate Estimates briefings










During the 2019 election period, the department provided advice in accordance with the caretaker conventions and successfully coordinated and produced briefing materials for the incoming ministers.

The parliamentary team’s activities in 2018–19 included:

  • coordinating briefing material following the August 2018 ministerial changes and the May 2019 election and machinery-of-government changes
  • participating in cross-agency parliamentary workflow solution committee meetings to develop strategic approaches to improve PDMS functionality and achieve efficiencies across government
  • managing the department’s transition to the new CabNet+ system, which replaced the older CabNet system with a modern, secure, paperless system that enhances accessibility and collaboration across government.

In 2019–20, the team will continue:

  • reviewing business practices to streamline parliamentary and executive workflows
  • working with APS partners to help improve the PDMS, including by developing innovative digital approaches to deliver new services
  • supporting the full implementation of CabNet+ enhancements
  • anticipating business needs and developing staff capabilities to deliver efficient and effective parliamentary services that align with modern technology and the expectations of the department’s future workforce.