Senators and Members’ work expenses are primarily determined by Acts of Parliament and determinations of the Remuneration Tribunal.
The key pieces of legislation determining provisions to Senators and Members’ are:
- Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948
- Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952
- Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973
- Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984
- Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990
- Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations 1997
- Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990
- Parliamentary Retirement Travel Act 2002
- Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Regulations 2002 (regulations to the Parliamentary Retirement Travel Act 2002)
- Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004.
A brief summary of this legislation follows:
The Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948 established the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme (PCSS). Membership of the PCSS is compulsory for all parliamentarians who entered Parliament before the general election of 9 October 2004.
The Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952 provides that the allowances determined by the Remuneration Tribunal are payable to parliamentarians. The Act also prescribes the days on which the allowances of parliamentarians commence and cease, and provides a statutory basis for the additional remuneration of certain Parliamentary office‑holders. Remuneration for other office-holders is, in the main, dealt with by the Remuneration Tribunal in accordance with the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.
The Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 established the Remuneration Tribunal which, among other things, determines certain work expenses for parliamentarians when they are engaged in Parliamentary, electorate or official business.
Provisions for parliamentarians currently set by Remuneration Tribunal determinations are:
- electorate allowance
- travelling allowance for parliamentarians and office-holders
- travel within Australia by parliamentarians, including by scheduled services, car transport, charter, private-plated vehicles, and privately owned vehicles
- travel within Australia by the spouse or nominee, dependent children and designated persons of a parliamentarian
- resettlement allowance and travel after retirement as a parliamentarian (where applicable)
- home telephone services.
The Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 provides for the employment of staff, by parliamentarians, on behalf of the Commonwealth.
In addition to this Act, the terms and conditions of employment of staff are determined primarily by:
- determinations made under this Act
- the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019
- the Fair Work Act 2009.
The Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990 prescribes certain provisions for parliamentarians and office-holders, including:
- electorate office accommodation, equipment and office requisites
- Australian flags and printed items related to national symbols
- photographic services at Parliament House
- home telephone services and postage for certain office holders
- travel overseas by parliamentary delegations and certain office holders, spouses and staff
- travel by special purpose aircraft.
These provisions may be omitted or varied by determinations made by the Remuneration Tribunal and by the Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations 1997.
The Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations 1997 provide details of the additional work expenses parliamentarians and office-holders may claim under the Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990, and legal assistance for Ministers.
The Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990 sets the rates of remuneration and allowances for parliamentarians, as well as additional salary for certain office-holders.
The Parliamentary Retirement Travel Act 2002 sets out the terms and conditions under which retired former Prime Ministers and their spouses or de facto partners are eligible to travel at Commonwealth expense.
The Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Regulations 2002 are the regulations to the Parliamentary Retirement Travel Act 2002. The Regulations define the phrase ‘exceptional circumstances’ for the purposes of the ‘stop-over’ provisions of the Parliamentary Retirement Travel Act 2002.
The Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004 establishes superannuation accumulation arrangements for all parliamentarians entering or re-entering the Federal Parliament on or after the general election of 9 October 2004. Under this Act, parliamentarians have superannuation contributions paid by the Commonwealth to a complying superannuation fund (other than a self-managed superannuation fund) or to a Retirement Savings Account of their choice.