Travel to Political Party Conferences

Question and Answers

Senators and Members

Employees of Senators and Members


Senators and Members

Can a Senator or Member use scheduled services to travel to a national conference of his or her political party?
Yes. Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04 – Members of Parliament – Entitlements (Determination 2012/04) provides that a Senator or Member is entitled to access scheduled services at government expense when travelling within Australia to attend the national conference of a political party of which he or she is a member.

 

Can a Senator or Member use scheduled services to travel to a state conference of his or her political party?
No. While provision has been made in Determination 2012/04 for a Senator or Member to travel to a national conference at government expense, this does not extend to state conferences. Senators and Members must cover the cost of any flights or other scheduled services at their own expense.

 

What other types of party business can the cost of scheduled services be met for?
In addition to an entitlement to travel to the national conference of a political party, Senators and Members are entitled to use scheduled services to attend meetings of a parliamentary political party, or of its executive, or of its committees. The meeting must be properly convened in accordance with the Party’s constitution.

 

If a Senator or Member is invited to speak at a state conference of a political party in an official capacity (e.g. as a Minister or Shadow Minister), are they able to use scheduled services to attend the event on the basis that the travel relates to their office-holder duties?
Yes.

 

Can a Senator or Member use car-with-driver transport (ie. COMCAR, taxi or hire car) when travelling to the national or state conference of his or her political party?
Determination 2012/04 provides that car transport can be used at government expense to travel to a national conference; it does not provide for travel at government expense to a state conference. A Senator or Member can use their Commonwealth private-plated vehicle to travel to a national or state conference.

 

Is a Senator or Member able to claim travelling allowance when attending a national or state conference of his or her political party?
Yes. Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2016/08 – Members of Parliament – Travelling Allowance (Determination 2016/08) provides that travelling allowance may be paid for overnight stays primarily occasioned by attendance at the national and state conferences of a political party, of which he or she is a member.

 

Is there a limit on the number of nights that can be claimed for attendance at a national or state conference of a political party?
Determination 2016/08 provides a cap of 10 overnight stays per annum that can be claimed for travel relating to meetings, other than in Canberra, of a parliamentary political party, or of its executive, or of its committees, and attendance at the national and state conferences of a political party, of which he or she is a member, and meetings outside the electorate on electorate business and direct travel to or from such meetings or conferences.

If, for example, a Senator or Member who is attending a national conference, had claimed nine overnight stays in a financial year for meetings outside the electorate on electorate business, there would be one overnight stay remaining that could be claimed for attendance at the national conference.

Employees of Senators and Members

Can an employee travel to a national/state conference at official expense and claim travelling allowance?
No, other than in the circumstances outlined below.

 

Can a Senator or Member, who is attending the national/state conference of his or her political party, be accompanied by an employee to assist with the Senator or Member’s parliamentary and electorate duties?
Yes. If the employee is attending for the purpose of assisting the Senator or Member in conducting their parliamentary or electorate or official business, but not party business, they may travel at official expense. Travel costs for electorate employees will be deducted from the electorate support budget.

 

Can an employee, who is attending the national/state conference as a party delegate, travel to the conference at official expense if, during the conference, the employing Senator or Member requires them to assist with their parliamentary and electorate business?
No. If the employee is primarily attending in their capacity as a party delegate, it would not be appropriate for them to travel at official expense or claim travelling allowance even if there is a requirement for them to perform incidental duties in their capacity as an employee. In this instance, it would also be appropriate for a leave application to be submitted for any attendance that takes place during normal business hours.

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Last Modified: 27 November, 2016