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Legal Assistance to Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries

Overarching Obligations

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.

Part 5, Division 2 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 provides a scheme for legal assistance to Ministers (including Parliamentary Secretaries).

A Minister (or former Minister who was appointed after 24 May 1990) may be eligible to receive assistance in meeting the cost of legal proceedings and inquiries against them arising out of their Ministerial duties. Assistance is not provided for Ministers (or former Ministers) wishing to institute legal proceedings.

Any Minister or former Minister who may need assistance should first raise the issue with the Attorney-General. The Office of Legal Services Coordination at the Attorney-General’s Department coordinates legal assistance matters.

The PBR Regulations require the Attorney-General to inform the Parliament of each decision to provide assistance and to report on expenditure.

Staff of Ministers

Legal assistance for staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 may be available under the Legal Services Directions, Appendix E – Assistance to Commonwealth employees for legal proceedings. Contact the Attorney-General’s Department for guidance.

Relevant Legislation

Last updated: 11 December 2019