All employees of Opposition Office Holders, both personal and electorate, are employed under Part III of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.1 The terms and conditions of employment under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 are provided by the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015 and its accompanying guidelines.
- View Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015
- View Enterprise Agreement Guidelines
The Prime Minister allocates a block of personal employee positions to the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition then allocates these positions to other Opposition Office Holders and Shadow Ministers, and advises Ministerial and Parliamentary Services of the allocation. These personal employee positions are in addition to the allocation of electorate officer positions. An Opposition Office Holder may only employ a person as a member of staff according to arrangements approved by the Prime Minister and subject to such conditions as are determined by the Prime Minister.2
Ministerial and Parliamentary Services can organise the placement and will meet the cost of online advertisements for ongoing personal employee vacancies on online recruitment websites. The entitlement provides for up to three online advertisements for each vacant Electorate Officer position and up to four online advertisements for each vacant personal employee position.
Opposition Office Holders may advertise ongoing personal employee vacancies in print media. Opposition Office Holders who wish to advertise using print media can use his or her capped printing and communications entitlement to meet the cost of the advertisement or alternatively meet the cost of the advertisement personally.
Opposition Office Holders who wish to outsource the recruitment of personal employees to a private employment agency must meet the cost of these services personally.
Further information on recruiting employees, including sample advertisements, is available.
Travel to Attend Interviews
Ministerial and Parliamentary Services will meet the cost of economy class travel for any candidate to attend an interview for a vacant position as a personal employee of an Opposition Office Holder. Candidates requiring reimbursement for this travel should complete Form 61 - Notification of Travel to Attend Interview for Personal Staff Position.
Opposition Office Holders appoint or engage their employees on behalf of the Commonwealth. A written employment agreement between the Opposition Office Holder and the employee is required3 and should be completed prior to commencement.
Since both personal and electorate employees of Opposition Office Holders are employed under Part III of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (and not Part IV of that Act, as is the case with electorate employees of Senators and Members), upon appointment as an Opposition Office Holder, he or she must enter into new employment agreements with all of his or her employees. Subsection 13(2) of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 provides that an Opposition Office Holder’s ability to enter into an employment agreement with an employee can only be exercised in accordance with arrangements approved and any conditions determined by the Prime Minister.4
Further information relating to employment, including for employees that are not covered under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984, probationary employment, and the risks to which the employee, the employing Opposition Office Holder and the Commonwealth may be exposed if employment documentation is not submitted without delay is available in the Senators and Members’ Entitlements handbook.
It is strongly recommended that Opposition Office Holders require all new employees to undertake a National Police History Check. The employing Opposition Office Holder must indicate on the employment agreement if the employee is required to undertake a National Police History Check.
Employees who are required to undertake a National Police History Check must complete Form 78 - Crimtrac National Police Checking Service (NPCS) Application/Consent as part of the employment process. This form is included in the employment agreement bundle. Form 78 must be completed in full and returned to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services with the completed employment agreement.
Results of the National Police History Check are not retained by the Department of Finance and are only forwarded to the employing Opposition Office Holder by their Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Entitlements Manager if an adverse result is returned. Entitlements Managers will be available to provide further guidance if adverse findings are reported, or where employees fail to undertake a National Police History Check or fail to provide consent for the results to be disclosed.
There may be implications in relation to continued employment if an employee who is required to undertake a National Police History Check fails to do so, or if the National Police History Check reveals an adverse result that was not previously disclosed to the employing Opposition Office Holder. An Opposition Office Holder who is considering action in relation to a person’s employment, including because of any adverse National Police History Check result, should contact their Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Entitlements Manager.
1 See clause 7 of Determination 2014/01:Employment of Electorate Officers made under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.
2 Sbsection 13(2) of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.
3 Subsection 13(1) of the Members of Parliament Staff Act 1984.
4 See subsection 13(2) of the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.