Part Three Accommodation and Office Facilities - 3.5 Telephone Services in Electorate Offices

3.5 Telephone Services in Electorate Offices

3.5.1 The Provision

Telephone services, as approved by the Special Minister of State, are provided to Senators and Members’ electorate offices.1

A Senator or Member’s electorate office is provided with:

  • four exchange lines
  • an additional line for facsimile transmissions
  • sufficient handsets to meet the business requirements of the office
  • a telephone answering machine or Message Bank service
  • a music on-hold player.

The costs relating to electorate office telephones, including installation, equipment rental and calls are paid by the relevant State office of Ministerial and Parliamentary Services.

Costs relating to the office telephones, facsimile machines and each mobile telephone appear as a separate line item in the Senator or Member’s monthly management report.

To protect the privacy of Senators and Members, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services is not provided with detailed records of the telephone numbers called.

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services arranges listings for Senators and Members in White Pages and the Sensis online network directories. A group listing under Parliamentarians shows all Senators for the States and Territories covered by a particular directory, and all Members whose electorate is covered by that directory. Senators and Members are also listed individually by surname. Photographic entries are not covered by this provision.

Senators and Members are provided with certain telephone services in their home residences as outlined in section 3.6.

Overseas Communications

Overseas calls (including facsimile transmissions) from electorate offices on Parliamentary, electorate or official business may be made at Commonwealth expense.

3.5.2 Mobile Telephones

The Presiding Officers are responsible for making decisions about mobile telephones, including smartphones, provided to Senators and Members at Commonwealth expense.2 The Department of Parliamentary Services is responsible for the administration of Senators and Members’ mobile telephone devices. Senators and Members should contact the Department of Parliamentary Services’ 2020 Service Desk if they have any queries about the provision of mobile telephones, including smartphones, or requests for devices.

Mobile telephones and related equipment, as approved by the Presiding Officers, are provided to Senators and Members’ electorate offices.

The provision of mobile telephones is arranged by the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Each Senator and Member is provided with any two of the following devices, either or both of which could be:

  • a smartphone of the Senator or Member’s choice from a list of approved devices by the Presiding Officers
  • a mobile telephone, or
  • a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card to use in a personally-owned device.
All new and replacement mobile telephones and smartphones provided to Senators and Members are provided based on a list of mobile telephones and smartphones approved by the Presiding Officers.

Senators and Members who use a mobile telephone or smartphone when travelling overseas should be mindful that the cost of data access can be extremely high in some regions. Senators and Members should contact the 2020 Service Desk to arrange for the application of suitable data and voice plans for overseas travel to reduce costs to the Commonwealth.

One portable Bluetooth car kit to the value of $300, OR one hands-free mobile telephone car kit installed in the Senator or Member’s private-plated vehicle (PPV) will be provided on request where a Senator or Member’s PPV does not have a factory fitted hands-free device.3 Requests for a Bluetooth car kit or a hands-free mobile telephone car kit should be directed to the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager.

All mobile telephones and smartphones provided at Commonwealth expense remain the property of the Commonwealth. Senators and Members are required to protect portable devices from loss or theft and to return all equipment in good condition when their eligibility for that equipment ceases. The 2020 Service Desk should be advised in writing as soon as practicable after the loss or theft of a mobile telephone or smartphone, so that the device and SIM can be remotely deactivated.

Members with a second electorate office provided at Commonwealth expense

Members provided with a second electorate office within their electorate at Commonwealth expense may also request an additional device which may be a smartphone, mobile telephone or a SIM card for use in a personally-owned device.

3.5.3 Bulk Short Messaging Services (SMS)

Upon request to the Department of Parliamentary Services, a Senator or Member may be provided with a bulk SMS facility, for use on one mobile telephone or smartphone provided at Commonwealth expense. Up to 200 SMS messages per month may be sent.

A Senator or Member requesting a Bulk SMS facility must agree to comply with the following conditions, which form part of the Terms and Conditions for use of the service:

  • Senators and Members may not use the bulk SMS service to contact constituents
  • the recipient of any bulk SMS message must be able to directly identify and contact the sender
  • the recipient of any bulk SMS message must first agree to receive messages, and have the ability to opt out of receiving messages at any time.

3.5.4 1300 Telephone Numbers

To help meet the needs of constituents, Senators and those Members whose electorates encompass more than one STD area may choose to have a 1300 local call fee number to provide access to all constituents for a local call fee. If chosen, this facility is attached to one of the four exchange lines provided.

Footnotes

1  The provision of telephone services mentioned in section 3.5 of this handbook (including land lines, mobile telephones, bulk Short Messaging Services and 1300 telephone numbers) is covered by section 4 of, and item 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to, the Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990.

2  By operation of authorisation from the Special Minister of State to the Presiding Officers since 25 June 2013.

3  Paragraph 5.5 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.