Retiring Senators in the event of a Double Dissolution

Questions and Answers

Electorate Office and Mobile ICT equipment

All queries regarding electorate office and mobile ICT equipment should be directed to the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Cessation Checklist

Employees

Do my employees cease employment at the same time that my retirement takes effect (i.e. the date of dissolution of the Senate for State Senators or the day before polling day for Territory Senators)?
No.

For electorate employees of a State or Territory Senator (other than those Senators who also hold an office), the following arrangements apply:

Employment Category Employment
Ongoing employees Until the declaration of the poll.
Non-ongoing employees Employment will cease at the earlier of:
  • at the end of their current employment agreement, or
  • the declaration of the poll.
Casual employees Employment will cease at the earlier of:
  • at the end of a working day prior to a business day on which the employee does not work, or
  • at the end of their current employment agreement, or
  • at declaration of the poll.

During this period, your employees are expected to confine their activities to providing continuity of service to constituents.

For personal employees or employees of a Senator who also holds an office, M&PS will write to employees separately regarding their individual circumstances.

For further information, please contact the Staff Help Desk or view the information available in the MOP(S) Act Employees Q&As.

Can I direct my staff to travel after my retirement takes effect?
No.

State Senators are no longer able to direct staff to travel from the dissolution of the Senate.

Territory Senators are no longer able to direct staff to travel from the close of the day before polling day.

However, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services is able to approve direct travel between the electorate office and Canberra in limited and special circumstances (for example, to assist with the packing up of the Parliament House office or to complete a journey that had commenced prior to the dissolution of the Senate).

Approval is required from your Advice and Support Director prior to travel taking place.
Can I employ relief or other staff after my retirement takes effect?
No.

Once the Senate has been dissolved, State Senators cease to be able to engage staff under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 and are therefore unable to engage new staff or make any changes to arrangements for existing staff.

Only staff who were engaged and commenced employment prior to the dissolution of the Senate, may assist with cleaning up of the office.

Territory Senators cease to be able to employ staff from the day before polling day. Only staff who were engaged and commenced employment prior to polling day may assist with packing up the office.

Office Accommodation

When do I need to vacate my electorate office?
State Senators need to vacate their electorate office at the dissolution of the Senate.

Territory Senators need to vacate their electorate office at the close of the day before polling day. After that date, you may access the office as agreed to by your Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State or Territory Manager to finalise your affairs, including any outstanding packing and removal of records and personal effects.

What do I need to do in my electorate office in preparation for my retirement?
Your State or Territory Manager can provide assistance with relocating personal effects from the electorate office and general advice on vacating the office. Boxes can be provided for you to pack personal effects, and a one-off removal of your personal items and papers to your private residence (or other place) can be arranged. You will need to meet costs of insurance of personal items, including during transit.

It is recommended that you commence clearing your office as early as practical to ensure it is handed over to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) in good condition.

The contracted property services provider can provide additional general rubbish/recycling bins and secure/confidential bins for this purpose. An office handover and stock-take will be conducted by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) prior to your retirement. All Commonwealth owned assets that may be off-site, including cameras and digital/video equipment, must be returned to the office.

As office requisites and stationery items are purchased at Commonwealth expense, and are provided for parliamentary and electorate business, any remaining stocks, including toner and printer cartridges and blank paper supplies, must remain in the office for the incoming Senator.

During the office handover, all keys to the electorate office, PO Box (if applicable) and security passes must be returned.

Please contact the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) 2020 Service Desk regarding the return of mobile ICT equipment. These items may also be provided to M&PS at the handover for return to DPS.

You should ensure procedures for clearing out the office do not introduce risks to the health and safety of employees or volunteers, particularly with regard to manual handling.

What do I need to do in my Parliament House office?
It is recommended that you contact the Department of the Senate regarding the removal of your belongings from your Parliament House office.

Office Administration

Which records should be kept and/or destroyed?
The National Archives of Australia (NAA) provides advice to Senators and Members on the preservation, storage and disposal of records.
What should I do with any remaining flags and other constituent request items?
Remaining stock must remain in the office for the incoming Senator (flags and constituent request items are purchased at Commonwealth expense, and provided for parliamentary and electorate business).

No new flags and constituent request items may be ordered after dissolution of the Senate.

What should I do with any remaining office requisites and stationery items?
Remaining stock, including toner and printer cartridges and blank paper supplies, must remain in the office for the incoming Senator (office requisites and stationery items are purchased at Commonwealth expense, and provided for parliamentary and electorate business).

No new office requisites and stationery items may be ordered after dissolution of the Senate.

Do I need to cancel the delivery of newspapers?
Yes.

If you wish to continue receiving any newspapers, please arrange to make payment personally. If you wish to cancel the service, please advise your supplier as soon as possible.

What if there are insufficient funds to pay supplier invoices?
Invoices will only be paid to the limit of the relevant budget. Invoices beyond the limit of a budget will be part-paid and/or returned to you for personal payment.
What happens to my residential phone and broadband services?
Arrangements will be made for cancellation of the services or for the transfer of the account to you from the date your term expires. You can discuss these arrangements with your State or Territory Manager.
Will I continue to receive a monthly management report?
Yes.

You will continue to receive a report while expenditure is processed against your office, family, employees or yourself. This generally lasts 3 to 4 months.

Please ensure you provide a forwarding email address to your Advice and Support Director so that you can continue to receive these reports.

Will I continue to receive a six-monthly expenditure report?
Yes.

You will continue to receive a report while expenditure is processed against your office, family or yourself. You will also receive reports while you have Life Gold Pass or Post Retirement travel.

Please ensure you provide a forwarding email address to your Advice and Support Director so that you can continue to receive these reports.

Should I still continue to certify the six-monthly expenditure reports?
Yes.

Certification of six-monthly expenditure reports is an important component in the accountability of expenditure for Senators (including former Senators). The expenditure listed in these reports, as well as a list of those who have certified, is published on the Finance website.

Parliamentarians’ Travel

When can I last travel as a Senator?
You can no longer access overseas and domestic travel as a Senator from the date of your cessation.

Typically, in the case of a State Senator not seeking re‑election, this is on the dissolution or expiry of the Senate.  For a Territory Senator not seeking re-election, this is close of the day before polling day.  

In the event a State Senator is travelling overseas when the Senate is dissolved, you must return to Australia by the next available scheduled service that provides efficient and effective use of Commonwealth funds.

Overseas study travel also may not commence, and you must return to Australia if overseas, once the Senate is dissolved or expires.

Under the provisions of the current Remuneration Tribunal Determination, or the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002, you will be eligible for either Post Retirement travel, or if you entered the Parliament before 6 March 2012, and depending on your length of service in the Parliament, Life Gold Pass travel.

How do I find out if I am eligible for Life Gold Pass or Post Retirement travel?

Following the Federal election, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services will write to each retiring Senator setting out their travel provisions. In the meantime, you can request information on your particular circumstances from your Entitlements Manager.

Guidelines are available on Post Retirement travel and Life Gold Pass Travel.

Once my retirement has taken effect, can I travel to Canberra to pack up my Parliament House office?
Yes.

You are able to use your Post Retirement travel or your Life Gold Pass to travel to Canberra to pack up your Parliament House office.

Post Retirement travellers (but not Life Gold Pass travellers) may be able to seek reimbursement of taxis or hire cars to and from the airport provided the total cost of travel does not exceed the cost of a business class airfare. Please forward your taxi or hire car receipts to your Entitlements Manager.

You should contact the Department of the Senate to further discuss the closing of your Parliament House office.
Can I access COMCAR for either Post Retirement or Life Gold Pass travel?
No.
What should I do with my Cabcharge card and COMCAR account?
Your accounts will be cancelled upon your retirement. Please ensure your Cabcharge card is returned to your State or Territory Manager.
What should I do with my travel profile?
You may continue to use the travel profile when booking your Life Gold Pass or Post Retirement travel. Please note that the contracted travel services provider will not provide you with advice. For advice, please contact your Advice and Support Director.
When do I return the Private-Plated Vehicle?
Your State or Territory Manager will arrange for your vehicle to be collected on or about the date of your retirement to ensure that you do not personally incur any lease costs.

All optional extras must be returned with the vehicle including spare keys, fuel cards and accessories. Care should be taken to remove personal effects from the vehicle. Please ensure that the vehicle is returned in a clean, sound, and serviceable condition. This assists in ensuring that the Commonwealth does not incur additional charges for unfair wear and tear.

If there is any damage to the vehicle, please ensure that it is repaired in advance of returning the vehicle.
Can I buy my Private-Plated Vehicle?
Yes, but only if the lease has expired and if the service provider has been notified of the intention to purchase the vehicle at least 30 days before the end of the lease.

If you are considering purchasing your vehicle, please contact your State or Territory Manager for assistance with the process. Any purchase of a vehicle is a private arrangement between you and the lease provider. Please be aware that there may be costs involved with the purchase, such as inspection fees, transfer, registration and duty fees, which must be met at your personal expense.

The lease provider will provide you with a purchase price for the vehicle on request and if you choose to purchase the vehicle, you will need to make payment directly to the provider.

In the event that you decide to purchase your vehicle and arrangements are not finalised by the end of the lease, you must return the vehicle to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services until the sale is finalised. Personal arrangements must be made for vehicle insurance once the purchase is finalised, to take effect from the date of collection.

Fuel cards cannot be used for further purchases and must be returned to your State or Territory Manager.

Printing and Communications

Can I send out a “farewell” newsletter after my retirement?
No.

Once the Senate has been dissolved, retiring State Senators may no longer access the office budget to print or distribute items. For retiring Territory Senators, access to the office budget to print or distribute items ceases the close of the day before polling day.

If you have ordered, but not taken delivery of any printed items by the date of your retirement, you will need to cancel the order. If a final printed product is received after this date, the Commonwealth is unable to meet the cost and the invoice will be returned to you for payment.

You should therefore ensure that any “farewell” letter or newsletter is printed and distributed prior to the date of your retirement.
What should I do with my remaining letterhead and other personalised stationery?
As retiring Senators are unable to use this stationery for official purposes beyond the date of their retirement, the contracted property service provider can provide secure/confidential bins on request for the disposal of these items. When you dispose of any remaining stocks, care should be taken to ensure that it cannot be fraudulently used by others.
What happens to my Australia Post account and to the funds on my postage meter?
Your Australia Post account is a personal arrangement.

Access to funds available on retiring Senators’ postage meter will be removed at the dissolution of the Senate, or the day before polling day for Territory Senators. However, in order to provide continuity of service to constituents, a float of $500 will be available on the electorate office postage meter for electorate use by staff up until the declaration of the poll.

Can I keep my PO Box number?
No.

The PO Box number will be retained by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services for the incoming Senator.

Can my mail be redirected?
If you wish to have your mail redirected, you will need to make arrangements directly with Australia Post at your own expense.

Salary and Allowances

Who can I talk to about my salary and allowances?
The Department of the Senate is responsible for the payment of your salary, Electorate Allowance and Resettlement Allowance where applicable.
Who can I talk to about my Superannuation and related options?
The Parliamentary Superannuation Team in the Department of Finance is available to give members of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme information on their superannuation.

Senators who joined Parliament after 9 October 2004 will need to contact their nominated superannuation provider.