The Australian Research Council-funded project on 'Strengthening Parliamentary Institutions' is being implemented by a team of four 'lead researchers' who are the project's champions in their participating institutions. The convenor of this team is Dr Phil Larkin who is also the lead researcher for the Australian National University. The other lead researchers are Bernard Wright (The House of Representatives), David Sullivan (The Senate), and Cathy Madden (The Parliamentary Library). This group of lead researchers have initial responsibility for identifying research priorities and available researchers, and for working together to map out a research agenda that brings together parliamentary and academic interests. Details about each lead researcher appear below.
Phil Larkin is Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Canberra. He has previously worked at the Universities of Hertfordshire, Sussex and Brighton in the UK, and at the Australian National University. He has also worked in the committee office of the British House of Commons and in the Australian Senate.
His recent research has primarily focussed on comparative parliaments (particularly committee systems). He is also working on a book, Australian Party Politics in Comparative Perspective (Manchester University Press) with Charles Lees (University of Sheffield).
David Sullivan is Director of Research in the Senate Procedure Office. In this position he acts as the research specialist supporting the Clerk of the Senate and other senior executive officers of the Senate Department. He researches and provides procedural advice to senators during sitting and non-sitting periods. David is also a deputy clerk-at-the-table, which involves direct support to senators in the chamber when parliament is sitting.
As Director of Research, David is responsible for the Senate's outreach activities including the public exhibitions in Parliament House, the department's seminar series for public servants, hosting parliamentary officers from other parliaments, the Occasional lecture Series and the department's publication, Papers on Parliament.
Prior to taking up the position of Director of Research, David was Secretary of the Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services and for several years was a Principal Research Officer to a number of Senate committees and a select committee. He also worked as a Senior Research Officer in the Research Section for a number of years.
David has an MA in Defence and Strategic Studies from the Australian National University and a BA and Honours degree from the Flinders University of South Australia (majoring in politics and history).
Catherine Cornish is lead researcher for the House of Representatives. Catherine is Director of the Chamber Research Office in the Department of the House of Representatives. In this position she is responsible for procedural publications for the Department and is also secretary of the House Procedure Committee and the House Petitions Committee. Before coming to the Chamber Research Office, Catherine was Director, Clerk’s Office, having served before that as secretary to a range of parliamentary committees. For many years Catherine has also been working on the professional development of parliamentary staff, including in Kosovo, Jordan, Lebanon and Nigeria.
Catherine holds an EMPA from ANU and is also a law graduate of ANU.
Cathy Madden is the lead researcher for the Parliamentary Library, part of the Department of Parliamentary Services. She is Director of the Politics and Public Administration Section within the Research Branch. The Section provides high quality information, analysis and advice to Senators and Members in support of their parliamentary and representational roles primarily in the areas of Australian politics and government. The advice is provided by responding to individual requests, preparing briefs and publications and a range of self-help resources.
Cathy has had extensive experience working in the client service branch of the Parliamentary Library. Prior to becoming Director of the Politics and Public Administration Section, Cathy worked in the area of legal information research.
Cathy has a BA (Hons), a Graduate Diploma in Library Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies.