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Office of the President of the Senate, President of the Senate’s Suite — M13.9North Wing, Main Floor

This room was used as the main office for the President and as a waiting room (1972-1988) in the President of the Senate’s suite.

This suite of rooms was occupied by the President and his staff throughout the life span of the building and included offices (for the President of the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, and their employees), a dining room, waiting room, kitchens, bathrooms and a change room. The suite was also made available to important visitors such as Queen Elizabeth II and the Governor-General when they visited the Provisional Parliament House. As a whole the suite demonstrates the importance of the President’s position as well as the responsibilities of this role, such as chairing meetings and committees and entertaining important guests and dignitaries.

The President of the Senate is responsible for controlling business and debate in the Senate chamber. Along with the Speaker, the President manages Parliament House. Because the President ranks just below the Governor-General and the Prime Minister in the Australian system of Government, the Senate usually elects an experienced Senator to the position. The President has a wide range of responsibilities and rights including:

  • the entitlement to vote in every division;
  • the administration of the Department of the Senate; and
  • taking a prominent role in the ceremonial openings of parliament and visits by heads of state.

After the 1972 extensions this room and the smaller back room (M13.8) were used as the main office and waiting room for the President. Some Presidents used this room as their main office and used the smaller room as a place where visitors could wait to see them, while other Presidents used this room as their waiting room and the back room as their office.