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 election has been called?
Yes. The last date that a State Senator who is retiring or contests but is not re-elected can incur office expenses for their parliamentary business is the final day of their term as a Senator (typically, 30 June following the Federal Election). 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 prior to your term ceasing, you will need to cancel the order or arrange to meet the costs personally. If goods and/or services are received after your term ceases, 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?
Yes. You must ensure that any “farewell” letter or newsletter is printed and distributed prior to your term ceasing. For a State Senator, your term ordinarily ceases on the next 30 June that follows a Federal election. The final day of your term is the last day that the annual budget for office expenses can be accessed.
If you have ordered, but not taken delivery of any printed items before your term ceases, you will need to cancel the order, if possible. If a final printed product is received after your term ceases, the Commonwealth is unable to meet the cost and the invoice will be returned to you for payment.
What should I do with my remaining letterhead and other personalised stationery?
As you will be unable to use this stationery for official purposes after your term ceases, 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 that are received after your term ceases 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 that are received after your term ceases will be forwarded to you for payment.
Do I need to cancel the delivery of newspapers and subscription services to electronic publications?
Yes. If you wish to continue receiving any newspapers or maintain subscription services after your term ceases, please arrange to make payment personally.
If you wish to cancel the service, please advise your supplier before your term ceases.
What happens to my Australia Post account and to the funds on my postage meter?
The 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 when your term ceases.
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 when your term ceases.
Can I produce postal vote applications and reply-paid envelopes from my annual budget for office expenses?
Yes – provided you distribute the postal vote applications and reply-paid envelopes to meet the AEC’s deadline for receipt of a postal vote application. 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, you must take into account your obligations under the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017, in particular, your obligation to not claim expenses unless the expenses are incurred for the dominant purpose of conducting your parliamentary business. For example, 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.
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 prohibits 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.
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 I cease to be a Senator?
Electorate employees of retiring or defeated State Senators (other than Senators who also hold an office) continue to be employed by the Senator until the expiry of their Senate term.
During this period, employees may assist you to finalise your affairs in the electorate office.
For personal employees or employees of a Senator who also holds an office, MaPS will write to employees separately regarding their individual circumstances.
For further information, please contact the MaPS Help Desk or view the information available in the MOP(S) Act employees Federal election advice.
Can I direct my staff to travel after the expiration of my term?
No. Staff travel must be completed on or before the date your term expires.
Can I employ relief or other staff after the expiration of my term to help with packing up the office?
No. Once your term as a Senator has expired, you are no longer able to employ staff under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.
Can I direct my employees to work from the party’s campaign headquarters?
Yes. By convention, personal and electorate employees may undertake activities in support of your own re-election but not in support of the election or re-election of others. In addition, electorate employees may not be directed to undertake party political duties (refer Determination 2016/15).
You should satisfy yourself that your electorate employees are not undertaking party political duties and that you are able to defend the duties undertaken by all of your employees. Directing an employee to assist the party’s campaign in general may be defensible. The duties of an employee become less defensible to the extent that they are in support of the election of another person and not in support of your own re-election.
Office accommodation and resources
What do I need to do in my electorate office?
Your MaPS state or territory manager can provide assistance with relocating effects (other than Commonwealth-owned items) from the electorate office and general advice on vacating the office. Boxes can be provided for you to pack effects, and a one-off removal of your 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 to MaPS.
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.
What do I need to do in my Parliament House office?
You can contact the Department of the Senate 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 must vacate the electorate office by the end of the last day of your term. Prior to that date, you should ensure that all affairs have been finalised, including removal of records and personal effects.
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.
Who can I talk to about my remuneration and any resettlement allowance?
The Department of the Senate 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.
If you 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 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 unfair 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 the sgfleet 24 hours helpdesk 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 2101 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 the end of your term, 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 your term expires. You can discuss these arrangements with your MaPS state or territory office.