Summary of Obligation:
You may only claim an expense or an allowance, and may only use a public resource, for the dominant purpose of conducting your parliamentary business.
‘Parliamentary business’ means any of your parliamentary, electorate, party political or official duties as defined in:
(s6 Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 and determined by the Special Minister of State. (s6 PBR Act))
‘Parliamentary business’ does not include any activity with the dominant purpose of providing you with a personal benefit, or pursuing your or another person's commercial purposes.
(ss6(2), 26(4) Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017)
‘Commercial purpose’ means a purpose relating to the derivation of financial gain or reward.
Certain public resources provided to you must not be used for any commercial purpose, such as:
- your electorate or office holder office, furniture and equipment and other public resources provided under
- your satellite office - any commercial use may mean the Commonwealth is not liable to reimburse you up to $50,000 for the lease and other costs of that office
(s33 Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017) (s26(4) Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017; see Electorate Offices)
Office expenses provided under your office budget, such as printing and communications and office requisites and stationery – must not be used to produce, communicate or distribute any material that includes an advertisement pursuing a commercial purpose of you or another person
The dominant purpose test would allow an activity to be undertaken or an expense to be incurred by you for more than one purpose, but requires that parliamentary business be the dominant purpose.
You should consider whether:
- you would undertake the activity ‘but for’ your parliamentary business; that is, even if you were not conducting the parliamentary business. If so, a claim must not be made
- the activity could be perceived to have a personal or commercial benefit to you
- you are prepared to publicly justify your use of public resources as being for the conduct of your parliamentary business
- the activity has a personal or commercial benefit that is so significant that it would not be publicly defensible to incur any expense, regardless of the parliamentary business being undertaken.
- ordering office stationery or equipment specifically for your personal use or the use of an organisation such as your political party, a sports club or community group would not be for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business
- making arrangements for a business to print newsletters, where you have, or a person connected to you has, a financial interest in that business would be considered a commercial purpose
- including information on your webpage to advertise or link to a business or venture from which you or another person could derive a financial gain or reward would be considered a commercial purpose.