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Security - Office and Information

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Security (and training) for your electorate (or Ministerial or Office Holder) office, as determined by the Special Minister of State, for purposes related to your parliamentary business and not for commercial purposes.

Security Infrastructure

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services arranges security, including measures such as:

  • a secure reception counter
  • deadlocks
  • window locks
  • duress and intruder alarms
  • programming of access systems

subject to the lease conditions and any relevant local government or State legislation, and taking into account value for money considerations.

You and your employees should ensure that:

  • the office is left secure when unoccupied.  Windows should be closed and secured, blinds closed, lights (other than security lights), fans, air conditioners and other electrical equipment switched off, doors locked and the office intruder alarm set
  • office alarm codes are issued to each individual and not shared
  • they are familiar with, and use, the security infrastructure.  This includes using secure reception doors, individual alarm codes and knowing how and when to use the duress alarms. 
    Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Managers can arrange new alarm codes and training in duress alarms if required
  • portable and attractive items (for example, cameras, data projectors, voice recorders, laptops, mobile telephones, tablets, remote access tokens and mobile broadband cards) are kept in a secure place when not in use.
  • To prevent laptops being stolen, laptops should be securely attached to an immovable object by the Kensington cable at all times in the office or whenever the laptop is unattended. You can request Kensington cables for laptops through the Department of Parliamentary Services’ 2020 Service Desk.

Security of Information

Certain information that is routinely collected and stored in offices should be regarded as confidential or sensitive, and protected accordingly. This includes employee details and any personal information provided by constituents. See Management of Records for how your office should access, store and dispose of records, in particular sensitive records, and the necessity to distinguish between ‘official’ and ‘non official’ records for access and disposal purposes.

Arrangements that you can set in place to protect confidential or sensitive information include:

  • have an employee present at all times when the office is open
  • visitors should be supervised while in the office
  • sensitive or classified material should not be discussed using a mobile telephone, left on a voicemail system, or sent using email or SMS
  • security features on communications devices, such as passwords and personal identification numbers, should be used where available and should not be shared with other people
  • papers, documents, communications devices and data storage devices should be locked away when not in use and at the end of the day
  • cabinets, cupboards and major items of office equipment should be secured when the office is unoccupied
  • employees must ensure any volunteers working in the office have their own computer user account and password and must not use or share accounts or passwords with other volunteers or employees
  • computers should be secured with a password protected screen, or turned off, while unattended

In keeping with the requirements of the Australian Government Information Security Manual all removable media (including external hard drives, USB drives, DVDs and CDs) should be registered with a unique identifier in an appropriate register to allow their movements to be tracked.

Hard drives in networked multi-function devices are the responsibility of the Department of Parliamentary Services, who will ensure their destruction as appropriate.

Incident Reports

If your office:

  • is broken into, the security company will call the police and notify your office’s nominated contact;
  • experiences any suspicious incident, you or your staff should contact the Australian Federal Police immediately.

In either case, report any damage to the contracted Property Services Provider and your State Manager as soon as possible so that any necessary arrangements can be made to secure the premises. To notify the loss, damage or theft of equipment or assets provided by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services, complete:

If an injury or near miss associated with an incident at your office occurs:

  • report it to the WHS and Occupational Rehabilitation Services provider immediately during normal office hours, or at the first opportunity if the incident occurs outside these hours
  • if the WHS and Occupational Services provider is unavailable, certain serious (notifiable) incidents must be reported to Comcare on 1300 366 979 immediately.

A Notifiable Incident Flowchart is available to assist in determining which incidents need to be reported to Comcare. Notify your Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager as soon as practicable so that advice can be sought from the Commonwealth’s insurers.

The Employee Assistance Program is available to provide individual counselling or group debriefing sessions following a critical incident. Group sessions can be arranged through your Advice and Support Director.

You and your employees have duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to put in place and observe workplace practices that minimise the risk of injury to members of the public. See Insurance Cover for further information on public liability insurance coverage while undertaking or carrying out your parliamentary business.

Contingency Plans for Emergency or Security Issues

Your office should:

  • have an internal contingency plan for dealing with emergency or security situations, including keeping an up-to-date list of emergency contact numbers (for example the police, ambulance, mental health teams, interpreter and counselling services);
  • ensure that the Emergency Officer and First Aid Officer roles within your office are filled and all training for these roles is up-to-date
  • be familiar with any formal Emergency Evacuation Management Plan applicable to building occupants, and comply with directions given by:
    • emergency services personnel
    • the Emergency Officer responsible for the office, and/or
    • a Warden responsible for the building or section of the building in which the office is located.

Responsibility for Insuring Personal Property at the Office

The Commonwealth’s liability for loss or damage does not extend to cover cash, stamps, personal items and equipment, including privately-owned computer equipment, kept in offices or Australian Government vehicles. You should ensure that your personal insurance arrangements are extended to cover such items.

Ministers and Office Holders

Minister

Residential Security

The Department of Home Affairs will provide, at Australian Government expense, an appropriate level of residential physical security, commensurate with the assessed level of threat, for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries. The security is designed primarily to protect you and your immediate family against the risk of politically-motivated violence.

The protection of property from criminal activity primarily remains your personal responsibility.

Office Security

Information held in a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary’s office may include official documents that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Archives Act 1983 and the Privacy Act 1988, which place particular requirements on the use, disclosure and storage of information. Your office procedures should prevent the unauthorised disclosure of information. This includes ensuring that all personal and electorate employees receive and maintain a Negative Vetting Level 2 (formerly ‘TOP SECRET’) security clearance. For details see Management of Records.

Offices in Parliament House

On request, security arrangements in your office in Parliament House will be reviewed. Security officers in your portfolio department are responsible for ensuring that suitable security measures are implemented and maintained.

Parliamentary Secretary

Residential Security

The Department of Home Affairs will provide, at Australian Government expense, an appropriate level of residential physical security, commensurate with the assessed level of threat, for Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries. The security is designed primarily to protect you and your immediate family against the risk of politically-motivated violence.

The protection of property from criminal activity primarily remains your personal responsibility.

Office Security

Information held in a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary’s office may include official documents that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Archives Act 1983 and the Privacy Act 1988, which place particular requirements on the use, disclosure and storage of information. Your office procedures should prevent the unauthorised disclosure of information. This includes ensuring that all personal and electorate employees receive and maintain a Negative Vetting Level 2 (formerly ‘TOP SECRET’) security clearance. For details see Management of Records.

Offices in Parliament House

On request, security arrangements in your office in Parliament House will be reviewed. Security officers in your portfolio department are responsible for ensuring that suitable security measures are implemented and maintained.

Presiding Officer

Office Security

In order to protect the wide range of information held in a Presiding Officer’s office, it is important that office procedures do not allow the unauthorised disclosure of information. Due care should be taken with the handling of papers and to ensure that the office is secure at all times. For details see Management of Records.

Offices in Parliament House

On request, security arrangements in your office in Parliament House will be reviewed. Security officers in your department are responsible for ensuring that suitable security measures are implemented and maintained.

Senior Office Holder who is a Member of the Opposition

Residential Security

The Department of Home Affairs monitors and, where appropriate, coordinates protective security arrangements, based on the assessed level of threat and risk to Senior Office Holders who are members of the Opposition. The security is designed primarily to protect you and your immediate family against the risk of politically-motivated violence. The protection of property from criminal activity primarily remains your personal responsibility.

Office Security

In order to protect the wide range of information held in the office of a Senior Office Holder who is a member of the Opposition, it is important that office procedures do not allow the unauthorised disclosure of information. Due care should be taken with the handling of papers and to ensure that the office is secure at all times. For details see Management of Records.

Offices in Parliament House

On request, security arrangements in your office in Parliament House will be reviewed. Security officers in your House Department are responsible for ensuring that suitable security measures are implemented and maintained.

Leader of a Minority Party

Office Security

In order to protect the wide range of information held in the Leader of a Minority Party’s office, it is important that office procedures do not allow the unauthorised disclosure of information. Due care should be taken with the handling of papers and to ensure that the office is secure at all times. For details see Management of Records.

Offices in Parliament House

On request, security arrangements in your office in Parliament House will be reviewed. Security officers in your House Department are responsible for ensuring that suitable security measures are implemented and maintained.

Last updated: 11 December 2019