Introduction, overarching obligations and legislative framework
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).
The Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 (PBR Act) framework commenced on 1 January 2018 and recognises that you should be provided with and be able to use public resources to support your work as a parliamentarian, but that you have obligations to the public in how you use those resources.
The PBR Act provides for:
- your remuneration, including your base salary, additional salary payable if you are an office holder, electorate allowance, private plated vehicles, internet and telephone services in your private residences, and resettlement allowance
- the expenses, allowances and other public resources which you may claim subject to you meeting certain conditions and overarching obligations
- compliance and enforcement measures, including rulings and a 25% loading on repayments
- the role of the Remuneration Tribunal in determining your remuneration and rates of travel allowances, and reporting to its Minister that regulations relating to travel expenses and allowances should be made or amended
- when your eligibility for remuneration and public resources commences and ceases.
The work expenses, allowances and public resources that are prescribed by the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 (PBR Regulations) include:
- travel expenses (s30 PBR Act): Part 2 of the PBR Regulations divides these into your domestic and international travel, and domestic family reunion and other family travel
- travel allowances (s31 PBR Act): included under domestic and international travel in Part 2 of the PBR Regulations
- work expenses and other public resources (s32 PBR Act): Part 3 of the PBR Regulations includes office expenses, postage costs for official duties, photographic services, chamber flags and satellite office leasing expenses for certain parliamentarians
- public resources determined by the Minister (s33 PBR Act):
- Part 2 of the PBR Regulations includes Commonwealth transport (such as COMCAR)
- Part 4 of the PBR Regulations includes provision of electorate offices; visiting suites in Commonwealth Parliament Offices, offices for Ministers and office holders; office resources including furniture and equipment; additional resources during an election campaign for the Leader of the Opposition; and exceptional circumstances determinations
- other resources (ss 41 and 42 PBR Act): s41 of the PBR Act provides for the parliamentary injury compensation scheme; and Part 5 of the PBR Regulations provides for insurance cover for parliamentary business, and legal assistance in relation to ministerial duties.
Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (MaPS) provides the following functions:
- human resources, payroll and other employment related advice and services for MOP(S) Act employees
- office accommodation (including Ministerial Wing at APH and Commonwealth Parliament Offices)
- advice, support and administration of non-travel related work expenses
- contract management of non-travel related third party service providers.
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) is established under the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Act 2017.
IPEA’s functions include:
- providing personal advice to you and your staff on travel expenses, allowances and related expenses
- monitoring the travel expenses, allowances and related expenses of you and your staff
- administering travel expenses, allowances and related expenses, including processing claims made by you and your staff
- publicly reporting all work expenses
- issuing rulings in respect of travel expenses and allowances under the PBR Act
- auditing all work expense claims.
More about IPEA and its functions can be found at www.ipea.gov.au.
Note: While Ministerial and Parliamentary Services and IPEA each has a role in providing you and your staff with advice and assistance, it remains your responsibility to ensure that your use of public resources is not only lawful, but publicly justifiable, and that you act ethically and in good faith.
The parliamentary departments administer the payment of salary, superannuation, electorate allowance and the provision of photographic services, the Chamber Flag Program and information communications technology equipment and services in electorate, ministerial and office holder offices and at Parliament House.
Last updated: 21 January 2020