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The National Museum of Australia guides the delivery of its outputs through its corporate governance framework. This comprises the Museum's enabling legislation and other legislative instruments, managerial and organisational structures, corporate policies and strategies, and resource management practices.

Governance model

Governance model


The key legislative instrument defining the broad functions and activities of the Museum is the National Museum of Australia Act 1980. This Act established the Museum as a Commonwealth statutory authority and, along with the National Museum of Australia Regulations, defines its role, functions and powers. The functions and powers of the Museum are in Appendix 2.

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 provides a single set of core reporting, auditing and accountability requirements for directors of Commonwealth authorities. It deals with other matters such as banking and investment and the conduct of officers. It also states that directors are responsible for the preparation and content of the report of operations in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2005.

The Public Service Act 1999 covers the powers of the Director of the National Museum of Australia in relation to the management of human resources.

Council and committees

The Council of the National Museum of Australia is responsible for the overall performance of the organisation, including setting the strategic direction and establishing goals for management. The Council works with senior management in developing, executing, monitoring and adjusting the appropriate strategies.

The Council of the National Museum of Australia.
The Council of the National Museum of Australia (left to right): Tim Duncan, Christopher Pearson, Marian Gibney, John Fleming, Craddock Morton, John Hirst, Benjamin Chow, Sally Anne Hasluck, David Barnett and (front) Tony Staley and Cathy Santamaria.
Photo: George Serras.

The National Museum of Australia Act 1980 provides for a Council consisting of a Chairman, the Director and not less than seven or more than 10 members. All members are appointed by the Governor-General and, apart from the Director, are part-time and appointed for terms of up to three years, although terms of appointment can be extended. The Director is appointed for a period not exceeding seven years.

The current membership of the Council provides a mix of skills and experience in the areas of history, politics, education, business, financial and strategic management, journalism, museum management and government policy and administration. The Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal determines remuneration for non-executive members.

During 2004-2005, the terms of two non-executive members lapsed, with one of these being re-appointed for three years.

At 30 June 2005, the Council comprised the following members:

  • The Hon. Anthony Staley (Chairman)
  • Dr John Hirst (Deputy Chairman)
  • Mr David Barnett OBE
  • Mr Benjamin Chow
  • Dr William Timothy Duncan
  • Dr John I Fleming
  • Ms Marian Gibney
  • Ms Sally Anne Hasluck
  • Mr Christopher Pearson
  • Ms Catherine Santamaria
  • Mr Craddock Morton (executive member).

Details of Council members are in Appendix 1.

The Council usually meets every two to three months, and four meetings were held during 2004-2005. A senior officer from the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts attends Council meetings as an observer.

The Museum provides Council members with information on Government changes to corporate governance responsibilities as it becomes available, including Australian National Audit Office documents and guidelines.

The Council has policy and procedures for the disclosure and resolution of any matter for its consideration that may result in conflict of interest. Members are required to make the nature of that interest known at the commencement of a Council meeting and details of such disclosures are recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

The Council has three committees to assist in the execution of its responsibilities. These are:

  • Audit and Finance Committee
  • Collections Committee
  • Sponsorship and Development Committee

Details of Council Committees are in Appendix 1.

Executive management group

The Executive Management group, comprising the Director and three General Managers, provides strategic and operational leadership to the Museum.
National Museum Director Craddock Morton with General Managers Louise Douglas, Suzy Watson and Freda Hanley.
National Museum Director Craddock Morton with General Managers Louise Douglas, Suzy Watson and Freda Hanley. Photo: Dragi Markovic.