Additional telecommunications and ICT
The Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 imposes overarching obligations.
The dominant purpose and value for money tests and specified conditions must be met. See s25, 26, 27, 28.
The Commonwealth is not liable to pay an expense or provide a public resource where you contravene any of these obligations (s29, PBR Act).
For the conduct of your parliamentary business, and subject to the limit of your annual budget for office expenses, you may claim costs for:
- virtual town hall meetings by electronic communications
- interactive voice response (IVR) phone surveys, and
- short messaging service (SMS) broadcasting and survey services.
You may also use your annual budget for office expenses to provide for additional information and communications technology (ICT) and services provided by the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS).
Virtual town hall meetings include commercial services that allow you to connect to a number of your constituents via telephone in a virtual town hall style discussion, allowing you to answer questions and seek feedback from participants in real time.
IVR phone surveys can include inbound and outbound communication to fixed and mobile telephone devices.
SMS broadcasting and survey services include bulk SMS communication to individuals.
Additional ICT and services
Where your ICT requirements go beyond the items generally provided to you by DPS (as prescribed under section 74(2)(b) of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017), additional ICT and services may be sourced and provided by DPS. ICT and services not procured through DPS will not be claimable under your annual budget for office expenses.
These work expenses are subject to:
- your overarching obligations that the expenditure must be for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business (and not for the dominant purpose of providing personal benefit to, or pursuing the commercial purposes of, you or another person) and achieve value for money, and
- the specific restrictions under s66 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 that the expenses must not be used to solicit a vote for a person or party other than yourself, or to solicit support or party memberships; and must not include an advertisement pursuing a commercial purpose (see Office expenses – restrictions).
DPS administers all additional ICT and services. Costs for these items and services will reduce your annual budget for office expenses.
Claims for payment of suppliers or for reimbursement of costs for virtual town hall meetings, IVR phone surveys, SMS broadcasting and survey services are submitted with an itemised account to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services electronically via the Parliamentary Expenses Management System (PEMS). PEMS provides efficient digital claims processing at any time of the day or night. If PEMS is unable to be used, complete a 'certification and request for payment - printing, communications and software' form.
For all items purchased from the annual budget for office expenses, tax invoices must meet the requirements as per guidance issued by the Australian Tax Office.
Last updated: 26 March 2020