During an election period, and at all other times, work expenses claimed under the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 (PBR Act) may only be claimed for conducting your parliamentary business, and cannot be used for any commercial purpose.
This page does not cover travel related matters or reporting arrangements (such as quarterly expenditure or monthly management reports). Information in relation to travel by parliamentarians and their employees or reporting is available from the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA).
All queries regarding Commonwealth-funded office and mobile ICT equipment should be directed to the Department of Parliamentary Services' (DPS) 2020 Service Desk.
The cessation checklist (see related resources) is designed to assist you with the cessation process.
Annual budget for office expenses
Can I access the annual budget for office expenses after the dissolution of the House of Representatives?
No. The last date that a member of the House of Representatives who is not seeking re-election can incur office expenses for their parliamentary business is the day the House of Representatives is dissolved. Office expenses incurred after this time are not claimable.
This includes, but is not limited to, printing, communicating and distributing a ‘farewell newsletter’ or similar printed item, purchasing a hard copy or electronic publication, or placing material in printed and electronic publications produced by third parties.
If you have ordered, but not been provided with, any goods or services at the dissolution of the House of Representatives, you will need to cancel the order or arrange to meet the costs personally. If goods and/or services are received on and from the day after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Commonwealth is unable to meet the cost. Invoices provided to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services that relate to such goods and services will be returned/forwarded to you for payment.
Can I send out a 'farewell' newsletter after the election is called?
No. The last date that a Member not seeking re-election can access the annual budget for office expenses for printing or distribution is the day the House of Representatives has been dissolved.
If you have ordered, but not taken delivery of any printed items at the dissolution of the House of Representatives, you will need to cancel the order. If a final printed product is received after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Commonwealth is unable to meet the cost and the invoice will be returned to you for payment.
You should therefore ensure that any material, letter or newsletter is printed and distributed prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
What should I do with my remaining letterhead and other personalised stationery?
As you will be unable to use this stationery beyond the date of the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the contracted property service provider can provide secure/confidential bins on request for the disposal of these items. When you dispose of any remaining stocks, care should be taken to ensure that it cannot be fraudulently used by others.
What should I do with any remaining flags and other nationhood material?
Remaining stocks must remain in the office. Flags and constituent request items are purchased at Commonwealth expense and provided for parliamentary business.
Invoices for flags and other nationhood material ordered after the dissolution of the House of Representatives will be forwarded to you for payment.
What should I do with any remaining office stationery and supplies?
Remaining stocks, including toner and printer cartridges and blank paper supplies, must remain in the office (office stationery and supplies are purchased at Commonwealth expense, and are provided for parliamentary business).
Invoices for office stationery and supplies ordered after the dissolution of the House of Representatives will be forwarded to you for payment
Do I need to cancel the delivery of newspapers and subscription services to electronic publications?
Yes, prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
If you wish to continue receiving any newspapers or maintain subscription services after you leave the Parliament, please arrange to make payment personally.
If you wish to cancel the service, please advise your supplier prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
What happens to my Australia Post account and to the funds on my postage meter?
Your Australia Post account is a personal arrangement, and if you wish to close this account you should contact Australia Post directly.
Access to funds available on your postage meter will be removed at the dissolution of the House of Representatives. However, in order to provide continuity of service to constituents, please ensure that a balance of $500 remains on the electorate office postage meter for electorate use by staff up until the declaration of the poll.
Can I keep my PO Box number?
No. The PO Box number will be retained by MaPS.
If you wish to have your mail redirected, you will need to make arrangements directly with Australia Post at your own expense.
Do I need to close my Commonwealth-funded website?
Yes, this should be closed as soon as practical after you cease.
Can I produce postal vote applications and reply-paid envelopes from my annual budget for office expenses?
Yes – provided you receive and/or distribute the postal vote applications and reply-paid envelopes by the day the House of Representatives is dissolved. You must take into account your obligations under the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 (PBR Act), including that expenses incurred are for the dominant purpose of conducting your parliamentary business and achieve value for money. You are also personally responsible and accountable for the use of your annual budget for office expenses and you must be prepared to publicly justify any expenditure.
There is no prescribed limit on the number of postal vote applications (PVA) and reply paid envelopes for PVAs that may be printed and distributed using your annual budget for office expenses. However, in determining an appropriate number of PVAs to be printed, it would be appropriate for you to consider the number of enrolled voters in your electorate.
Information on the number of enrolled voters is available from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
It is expected that the delivery address for a reply paid envelope for PVAs would be your electorate office, Parliament House office, capital city office or Post Office Box. It is also expected that you conform to the restrictions that apply to the timing and distribution of PVAs to electors as set out in the AEC’s guidelines for the reproduction of postal vote applications.
The Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) prohibit the use of the annual budget for office expenses to pay for postage stamps or stamped envelopes, other than those provided by a Department of the Parliament established under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.
The last date that a retiring Member can access the annual budget for office expenses for printing or distribution (including PVA and reply paid envelopes) is the day the House of Representatives has been dissolved.
If you have ordered, but not taken delivery of any printed items at the dissolution of the House of Representatives, you will need to cancel the order. If a final printed product is received after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Commonwealth is unable to meet the cost and the invoice will be returned to you for payment. Similarly, if a reply paid charge is incurred after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the invoice will be returned to the Member for payment.
You should therefore ensure that any material is printed and distributed by the day the House of Representatives is dissolved.
What if the form of postal vote applications (PVA), as gazetted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), changes after I produce my PVAs - can I still claim the cost from my annual budget for office expenses?
Yes. However, you will still need to comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
For further information please refer to the AEC’s guidelines for the reproduction of postal vote applications.
Do my employees cease employment at the same time that my retirement takes effect (i.e. the date of dissolution of the House of Representatives)?
No. For electorate employees of a retiring Member (other than those Members who also hold an office), the following arrangements apply:
|Ongoing employees||Employment will cease at the declaration of the poll.|
|Non-ongoing employees||Employment will cease at the earlier of:
|Casual employees||Employment will cease at the earlier of:
During this time, employees may continue to provide service to constituents, albeit in a limited way, and assist in the closure of the office.
For personal employees or employees of a Member who also holds an office, MaPS will write to employees separately regarding their individual circumstances.
See the information on Federal elections and MOP(S) Act employees for more details.
Can I direct my staff to travel after the Parliament has been dissolved?
No. You are no longer able to direct staff to travel from the day the House of Representatives has been dissolved.
However, MaPS is able to approve direct travel between the electorate office and Canberra in limited and special circumstances (for example, to assist with the packing up of the Parliament House office or to complete a journey that had commenced prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives).
Approval is required from MaPS prior to travel taking place.
Can I employ relief or other staff after the dissolution of the House of Representatives to help with packing up the office?
No. Once the House of Representatives has been dissolved, you are no longer able to engage staff under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 and are therefore unable to engage any new staff or make any changes to arrangements for existing staff. Only staff who were engaged and commenced with you prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives may assist with the cleaning up of the office.
Office accommodation and resources
What do I need to do in my electorate office in preparation for my retirement?
Your MaPS state or territory manager can provide assistance with relocating personal effects from the electorate office and general advice on vacating the office. Boxes can be provided for you to pack personal effects, and a one-off removal of your personal items and papers to your private residence (or other place) can be arranged. You will need to meet costs of insurance of personal items, including during transit.
It is recommended that you commence clearing your office as early as practical to ensure it is handed over to MaPS in good condition.
The contracted property services provider can provide additional general rubbish/recycling bins and secure/confidential bins for this purpose. An office handover and stock-take will be conducted by MaPS prior to your retirement. All Commonwealth owned assets that may be off-site, including cameras and digital/video equipment, must be returned to the office.
As office stationery and supplies, minor office equipment and accessories for ICT are purchased at Commonwealth expense, and are provided for parliamentary business, items must remain in the office.
During the office handover, all keys to the electorate office, PO Box (if applicable) and security passes must be returned.
Please contact the Department of Parliamentary Services' 2020 Service Desk regarding the return of Commonwealth-funded mobile ICT equipment (other than any equipment directly leased or hired by you). These items may also be provided to MaPS at the handover for return to DPS.
You should ensure procedures for clearing out the office do not introduce risks to the health and safety of employees or volunteers, particularly with regard to manual handling. The workplace inspection checklist (see related resources) contains a number of considerations for manual handling.
What do I need to do in my Parliament House office?
You can contact the Department of the House of Representatives regarding the removal of your items from your Parliament House office.
Which records should be kept and/or destroyed?
The National Archives of Australia (NAA) provides advice to senators and members on the preservation, storage and disposal of records.
When do I need to vacate my electorate office?
You need to vacate your electorate office on, or as soon as practical after, the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
When do I need to vacate my ministerial or senior office holder office?
You need to vacate the office provided to you as a Minister or senior office holder (where relevant) at, or as soon as practical after, the time that you cease to hold that office.
What will happen to my satellite office? At what point can I no longer claim any expenses related to operating the office?
You are personally responsible for all arrangements, statutory obligations and expenses for privately-leased satellite offices, including the payment of rent and service costs. The limit of the Commonwealth’s involvement is to the reimbursement of eligible expenses.
Costs can only be claimed for the period that you are a Member, and will only be reimbursed after the services have been received. As a result, eligible expenses up to the date of the dissolution of the House of Representatives may be claimed. You are personally responsible for all expenses after that date.
When does the redistribution come into effect?
Members of the House of Representatives will not represent the new electoral divisions until after the next general election. The member who was elected by their constituents at the previous general election or by-election therefore continues to represent those constituents until the election.
For representation purposes, electoral division name changes also do not come into effect until the next Federal election.
Can a member who will have a new area added to their electorate at the next federal election due to a redistribution of electoral boundaries use their office expenses to communicate with residents in this new area before polling day?
Yes, members can communicate with residents anywhere in Australia at any time subject to the limit of their annual budget for office expenses and provided the communication:
- relates directly to the member’s role as a member and is dominantly connected with the business of the Parliament or the member’s policy portfolio
- delivers value for money
- complies with all office expense conditions (including, for example, that the communication does not solicit a vote for a political party or person other than the member, does not provide instruction on how to complete a ballot paper, or does not include an advertisement pursing a commercial purpose).
The member’s annual budget for office expenses will not be recalculated based on the number of enrolled voters within the redistributed electoral boundaries until after the next federal election.
Can a member who represents an electorate that is at least 5,000km2 in area be reimbursed the cost of establishing a privately-leased office in an area that will be added to their electorate as a result of a redistribution of electoral boundaries?
No. A member who establishes a privately-leased office in an area that the member will represent if re-elected at the next federal election cannot be reimbursed any costs connected with establishing or maintaining the office that relate to the period before the election.
Due to the redistribution, a significant town has been added to my electorate. Can I now move one of my Commonwealth-funded offices to this town?
Not until after polling day, and subject to Ministerial approval.
A Commonwealth-funded electorate office is not able to be relocated to the new areas until after the date of the election.
Who can I talk to about my remuneration and any resettlement allowance?
The Department of the House of Representatives is responsible for the payment of your salary, electorate allowance and any resettlement allowance.
MaPS can assist you in relation to private-plated vehicles and residential internet and telephone services. Please contact your MaPS state or territory manager for further assistance.
Who can I talk to about my superannuation?
The Parliamentary Superannuation Team in the Department of Finance is available to give members of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme information on their superannuation.
Members who joined Parliament after 9 October 2004 will need to contact your nominated superannuation provider.
When do I return my private-plated vehicle?
Your MaPS state or territory manager will discuss arrangements for your vehicle to be collected or dropped off on the day of the dissolution of the House of Representatives to ensure that you do not personally incur any lease costs. All optional extras must be returned with the vehicle including spare keys, fuel cards and accessories. Care should be taken to remove personal effects from the vehicle. Please ensure that the vehicle is returned in a clean, sound, and serviceable condition. This assists in ensuring that the Commonwealth does not incur additional charges for unreasonable wear and tear.
If there is any damage to the vehicle, however minor, please ensure that it is repaired in advance of returning the vehicle (contact sgfleet's 24 hour help desk on 1800 009 082).
Can I buy my private-plated vehicle?
Yes, but only if the lease has expired or is due to expire shortly.
If you are considering purchasing your vehicle, please contact the MaPS VIP manager as early as possible on (03) 6242 2102 or email MPSVIP@sgfleet.com Any purchase of a vehicle is a private arrangement between you and the lease provider, with payment made directly to the provider. Please be aware that there may be costs involved with the purchase, such as inspection fees, transfer, registration and duty fees, which must be met at your personal expense.
In the event that you decide to purchase your vehicle and arrangements are not finalised by the end of the lease or you cease as a Member, you must return the vehicle to MaPS until the sale is finalised. Personal arrangements must be made for vehicle insurance once the purchase is finalised, to take effect from the date of collection.
Fuel cards cannot be used for further purchases and must be returned with the vehicle or given to your MaPS state or territory manager.
What happens to my residential internet and telephone services?
If the service account is in your name, no action is required.
If the account is in MaPS’ name, arrangements will be made for the transfer of the account to you from the date of the dissolution of the House of Representatives. You can discuss these arrangements with your MaPS state or territory office.