Ministerial and Parliamentary Services will write to a Minister when his or her appointment ceases, setting out the changes in entitlements. These changes are summarised below.
A Minister’s entitlement to additional salary and travelling allowance at Ministerial rates ceases immediately when his or her commission is resigned or revoked. If a Minister ceases simultaneously to be a Member of Parliament, his or her salary and allowances as a Senator or Member also cease immediately.
A Minister holds office until his or her commission ceases, or the Minister dies.
Where the Minister ceases to hold office for reasons other than his or her death, the employment of all the Minister’s personal and electorate employees is terminated.1 The termination of employment for the Minister’s personal and electorate employees is deferred for two weeks.2 This time may be used to settle affairs in the office and, by arrangement with the former Minister, to seek other employment.
Where the Minister dies in office, the timing of the termination of the employment of Minister’s employees depends on a number of factors, including whether the Minister was a Senator or Member, and whether an employee is a personal or electorate employee.
Where there is a change in a Minister’s circumstances, it is recommended that advice on the consequences for the Minister’s employees be sought from Ministerial and Parliamentary Services.
Australian Public Service (APS) employees
Employees who are APS employees on leave without pay from their department should give notice in writing to their Agency Head of their intention to return to the department, as soon as they are notified that their employment under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 will be terminated. They should return to their department as soon as practicable, but within the two week period.
In the period between a Minister ceasing to hold office and the termination of an employee’s employment, travel by commercial scheduled services may only be undertaken between the Minister’s electorate office and/or Ministerial office and Canberra. Associated car transport is available for essential journeys. The relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Entitlements Manager can provide personalised advice about travel during this time.
A former Minister will need to vacate his or her office in the Ministerial Wing of Parliament House within the period determined by the Prime Minister. The former Minister’s portfolio department is responsible for removing any additional furniture and equipment.
Home Capital City Office
If a former Minister has a separate Ministerial office in his or her home state, the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager will assist the former Minister to relocate items from the office. The State Manager and officers of the former Minister’s portfolio department will arrange for a stocktake of official items.
Combined Ministerial/Electorate Office
If a former Minister has a combined Ministerial/Electorate Office, and remains a Member of Parliament, officers of the former Minister’s portfolio department will conduct a stocktake of official items and remove them.
Separate Electorate Office
If a former Minister remains a Member of Parliament, no changes will be made to existing office arrangements unless the former Minister’s portfolio department has provided any additional equipment or facilities.
If additional items have been provided, officers of the former Minister’s portfolio department will conduct a stocktake and, after the settling-out period, remove any items belonging to the department.
It is normal practice that a Minister will, on ceasing office:
- return departmental records (both electronic and hardcopy) to his or her portfolio department;
- destroy Cabinet papers issued to him or her, keeping a record of documents destroyed (including copy numbers) and advising the Cabinet Secretariat (as outlined in the Cabinet Handbook). The Cabinet Secretariat will provide detailed guidance on disposal procedures when the Minister’s departure is imminent; and
- deposit other official records, including those that originated in the Minister’s office, with the National Archives of Australia. The National Archives seeks to acquire the personal papers of Prime Ministers, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, to ensure the retention of valuable official records and related private material.
1 Subparagraph 16(2)(a) of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.
2 Clauses 3 and 4 of Direction 2007/31 (‘Direction to defer the termination of employment’) made under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 apply to personal employees. Clauses 2 and 4 of that Direction apply to electorate employees.