The following obligations apply when you claim or use work expenses, allowances and public resources provided under Part 3 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 (PBR Act):
- dominant purpose test (s26 PBR Act): you may claim or use public resources only where it is for the dominant purpose of conducting your parliamentary business
- value for money (s27 PBR Act): all claims you make or expenses you incur must achieve value for money, taking into account your need to conduct parliamentary business
- conditions are met (s28 PBR Act): you may claim only when the conditions for claiming or incurring expenses in relation to public resources are met
- personal responsibility and accountability (s25(2) PBR Act): you are personally responsible and accountable for your use of public resources
- preparedness to publicly justify (s25(3) PBR Act): you must be prepared to publicly justify your use of public resources
- act ethically and in good faith (s25(4) PBR Act): you must act ethically and in good faith in using, and accounting for your use of public resources.
These obligations do not apply to payments in the nature of remuneration such as salary, electorate allowance, or a private-plated vehicle (PPV) or an allowance in lieu of a PPV provided under Part 2; nor to the insurance, legal assistance or injury compensation schemes provided under Part 5.
If any of the dominant purpose, value for money or conditions for claiming obligations are contravened, a claim may be rejected or have to be repaid. Any amount not repaid within 28 days of an incorrect claim attracts a 25% penalty loading, and is a debt the Commonwealth may recover or set off against future work expenses otherwise payable to you (see Accountability and Transparency).
While Ministerial and Parliamentary Services and the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) can provide you and your staff with advice and assistance, it remains your responsibility to ensure that your use of public resources is not only lawful, but publicly justifiable, ethical and in good faith. You should also bear in mind that IPEA has information gathering powers to support its functions (more about IPEA and its functions can be found at www.ipea.gov.au).
Guidance Material - Parliamentary business expenses – five step check
The following checklist may be a helpful reminder of your overarching obligations when making decisions or claims under the PBR Act framework:
|1. Dominant purpose?|
|Is the dominant purpose of the expenditure for your parliamentary business (i.e. parliamentary duties, electorate duties, party political duties or official duties)?||
|2. Value for money?|
|Does the expenditure provide value for money? Will it use public money efficiently, effectively and economically? (NB the cheapest option may not represent the best value for money)|
|3. Rules and forms?|
|Does the expenditure meet the conditions for the claim under the Parliamentary Business Resources Act and Regulations? Have you kept your own records of the claim? Have you used the approved form if required?|
|4. Ethical and in good faith?|
|Is the expenditure in the spirit of the legislation and is your claim being made in good faith?|
|5. Publicly justifiable?|
|Are you prepared to publicly defend your expenditure?|