The President of the Legislative Council is elected as Chairperson by all the Members of the Council, not just the Government Members. The President's functions fall into two main categories: firstly, spokesperson for the House in relations with the Crown, the House of Assembly, and other authorities and persons outside of Parliament. Secondly, the President presides over the debates of the Council and enforce the rules for preserving order. It is very important that the President is seen as impartial and authoritative.
On formal occasions, the President may wear ceremonial dress, with full-bottomed wig and black silk or satin damask gown, with lace at the throat and wrists. On ordinary sitting days, the President wears the gown. The President performs the dual duties of President and Chairman of Committees in the Legislative Council. The Committee considers some Bills in detail after they have passed the second reading. The Chairman of Committees wears no special dress, a fact which serves to emphasise the comparative informality of the deliberations of the Committee, when Members may speak more than once on any particular question but the debate must be strictly relevant to the clause or amendment before the Chair.
Permanent Officers of Parliament
There are two main permanent officers of the Legislative Council: the Clerk of the Legislative Council and the Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Council (who is also the Usher of the Black Rod)
The Clerks and their staff in each House provide the permanent administration in a Parliament whose membership is subject to change. One of their main functions is to advise the President, Ministers and Members on Parliamentary procedure. They are responsible for the compilation of the Journals of the House and they are the custodians of all records and documents laid before Parliament. In these duties they are assisted by the Deputy Clerks, Clerk-Assistants and Parliamentary Officers.
The Black Rod
Black Rod is an ancient office with great traditions associated primarily with the Sovereign and subsequently the Imperial Parliament. The title arose from association with the staff of office - a black rod - which the officer was required to carry before the Sovereign. From ancient times, the staff has been the symbol of authority.
Black Rod is a central ceremonial figure at the Opening of Parliament each session. In South Australia the duties are combined with those at the Table, ceremonial dress, wig and gown are worn and the traditional black ebony rod surmounted with the Crown, Royal Arms and State Emblem is carried. By direction of the President, Black Rod maintains order and decorum within the Chamber and its precincts. The rod or staff is the symbol of that authority.
The Parliament of South Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and
community. We pay our respect to them and their cultures and to the Elders both past and present.