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The Clerk of the Senate is appointed by the President of the Senate under subsection 58(1) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 after consulting senators. Staff are engaged under section 22 of that Act.

Additional support was provided to the department through secondment arrangements with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, and by graduates participating in the Parliament of Australia Graduate Program.

Figure 15 shows that the average full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing level for 2017–18 was 161, an increase from 158 as reported in 2016–17, chiefly reflecting the continued high levels of committee and legislative activity described in this report.

Further staffing statistics are provided in Appendix 2.

The department’s learning and development framework supports staff to develop and maintain relevant skills and knowledge. A focus on parliamentary skills and knowledge aligns with the objectives in the department’s corporate plan to ensure that staff continue to develop expertise in parliamentary practice and are capable of the highest standard of accurate and timely procedural advice. Financial assistance or paid leave (or both) is also available under the department’s Studybank scheme, to assist ongoing staff to undertake tertiary studies relevant to the department’s objectives.