Stationery and supplies
Subject to the limit of your annual budget for office expenses (office expenses budget), you may purchase office stationery and supplies to conduct your parliamentary business.
You must not use the budget for the dominant purpose of providing a personal benefit to, or pursuing the commercial purposes of, yourself or another person, such as purchasing stationery or other items to distribute to constituents or community groups, in bulk or individually.
Certain items are not subject to the office expenses budget. These are listed on the budgets page.
Stationery and supplies you purchase are included in your expenditure reports published by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA).
For further advice, please contact your MaPS state or territory office.
Work health and safety risks
Be mindful not to introduce work health and safety risks to your office when purchasing office stationery and supplies.
- Analgesics and other forms of medication are not claimable from your office expenses budget. The Work Health and Safety (First Aid in the Workplace) Code of Practice 2015 provides that ‘Workers requiring prescribed and over-the-counter medications should carry their own medication for their personal use as necessary’.
- Tools or tool kits should not be purchased to undertake tasks that should be carried out by a qualified tradesperson or by the contracted property services provider.
Flags, nationhood material and wreaths
Your office expenses budget may be used to purchase wreaths, flags, flag lapel pins, booklets and other specified items related to nationhood, as approved by the Minister, for presentation to constituents and organisations.
It is expected that there will be an element of formality in the act and/or ceremony in which wreaths, flags, and nationhood material are presented and that the presentation is made directly by you to the recipient.
Constituent is defined in section 5 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 as a person enrolled to vote or resident in your electorate (or State/Territory for a Senator).
These expenses are included in your expenditure reports published by IPEA.
The Minister has approved the following items for presentation to constituents and organisations:
- booklets on the flags of Australia
- booklets on Australia’s national symbols
- posters displaying the lyrics of the Australian National Anthem
- posters displaying the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag, including protocols for flying the flag, copyright and protocol for singing the National Anthem in First Nations languages
- CDs, DVDs and USBs with recordings of the Australian national anthem
- portraits of Her Majesty the Queen.
You must purchase these items through the contracted stationery supplier. Expenses will be deducted from your office expenses budget.
It is expected that flags not be presented to businesses or commercial enterprises. Large flags should not be distributed more generally. For example, large flags should not be included in general information packages to constituents. However, you may present a large Australian National Flag, or provide the flag to an ex-service organisation representative for presentation on your behalf, to the family of an Australian war veteran at the veteran’s funeral.
Flags and flag lapel pins must be purchased through the contracted stationery supplier. Lapel pins can only be ordered in a minimum quantity of 10 items. Costs will be deducted from your office expenses budget. The types and sizes approved by the Minister are:
- The Australian National Flag (Blue Ensign), the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag in the following sizes:
- 1370 x 685 mm
- 1830 x 915 mm
- 2400 x 1200 mm
- 3660 x 1830 mm.
- The Australian Red Ensign, as long as the flag is no larger than 1830 x 915 mm.
Note: The Flags Act 1953 proclaimed the Australian Blue Ensign as the Australian National Flag and the Red Ensign as the flag for Australian merchant ships. The Red Ensign should only be presented to service-related groups.
- Desktop and hand-waver flags.
- The Australian National Flag lapel pin with butterfly clip attachment with the following specifications:
- 15mm x 15mm size
- enamel ink-filled.
Where a special case exists for a flag of non-standard size or of more durable material, contact MaPS Help Desk. Heavy duty flags for external use at your electorate office can be ordered by your MaPS state or territory manager. Costs will be deducted from your office expenses budget.
Chamber Flag Program
Through this program, you may obtain flags that were hung on a sitting day for either house of the Parliament with an accompanying certificate, for the dominant purpose of your parliamentary business and presentation to constituents or non-commercial organisations in your electorate. Chamber Flags are provided by Australian Parliament House, and are not therefore debited from your office expenses budget.
Chamber flags are subject to availability and provided at the discretion of the Serjeant-at-Arms or Usher of the Black Rod, as relevant.
One or more flagpoles may be installed at your electorate, Ministerial or office holder office to display the Australian National Flag, subject to office lease conditions and any relevant approvals and requirements. Information on installing flagpoles is available on the office types and office resources page.
Commonwealth Flag Network guidelines
If you have a flagpole installed outside your office you should join the Commonwealth Flag Network by registering at the It's an Honour website. The Commonwealth Flag Network provides up-to-date advice on how and when to fly the flag. After registering you will receive an email at the same time as flag marshals around the country, with flag protocols for:
- special occasions such as ANZAC Day and NAIDOC Week
- occasions when flags should be flown at half-mast
- flying multiple flags or using multiple flagpoles
- treatment of the flag to maintain its dignity
- different times of day.
- The flag should be raised no earlier than first light and lowered no later than dusk.
- The flag may only be flown at night if illuminated.
If a displayed flag becomes ‘dilapidated and unsuitable for use’ a replacement should be ordered immediately.
Flags can only be ordered via the contracted supplier of flags and costs will be deducted from your annual budget for office expenses. On receipt of flag orders, the enclosed packing slip is to be endorsed by your office and provided to MaPS to arrange payment. Heavy duty flags for external use can be ordered by your MaPS state or territory office.
Australian awards and national symbols
Contact the Honours, Symbols and Territories Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for advice and information on:
- Australian honours and awards
- Imperial honours and foreign awards
- Australian flags
- Australian national and royal symbols
- Australian National and Royal Anthems
- Commonwealth Coat of Arms
- anniversary messages.
You may purchase wreaths, for example, for ceremonial purposes, and claim reimbursement through PEMS, with the expense deducted from your office expenses budget.
Purchasing from the contracted service provider
You can purchase stationery, supplies, flags and nationhood material directly through the whole-of-government contracted service provider (currently COS). Items available from COS are aligned with whole‑of‑government procurement arrangements and are therefore wide-ranging in nature. Although a particular product may be available to purchase from the provider, it may not be claimable under the Parliamentary Business Resources framework. If in doubt whether an item may be claimed, please contact the MaPS Help Desk.
The contracted office stationery and supplies provider is contractually obligated to provide competitive prices. In addition, COS provides discounts for bulk orders.
You must consider whether you need a particular type of product to conduct your parliamentary business when assessing its value for money.
To arrange access to the online shopfront COSnet, you must nominate both an ‘ordering officer’ and ‘approving officer’ by completing Form 132 (see related resources) and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orders placed in COSnet before 2:00pm will generally be delivered to your office as follows:
Metropolitan: less than 1 hour from CBD
Country: less than 3 hours from CBD
Remote: greater than 3 hours from CBD
Delivery to some country and remote locations may take up to 7 days. Please take the delivery times into consideration when placing orders.
Items which are incorrectly ordered or supplied need to be notified for return within 14 days of delivery. COS may not accept items notified for return after 14 days.
COS Support can assist with returns. They will require:
- a copy of the delivery docket noting the item/s for return
- the reason for the return e.g. wrong item, damaged.
The COSnet welcome user guide and summary sheet (see related resources) provide general guidance and information on COSnet
For further information and assistance please contact COS Support on 1300 88 22 44.
Items required to be purchased from nominated providers
You must purchase the following items from nominated suppliers:
- consumables including toners and staples for Konica Minolta multi-function devices (MFDs) must be ordered through Konica Minolta
- Lexmark printer toner cartridges and Lexmark MS812 imaging units must be genuine Lexmark products
- postage meter consumables must be ordered through the manufacturer of the meter
- bottled water suppliers are arranged through your MaPS state or territory office.
Purchasing through your choice of provider
You may purchase certain office expenses from your choice of supplier. If you choose to purchase stationery from another supplier, you must ensure value for money by comparing similar items available through other suppliers, including COS. Claims for payment or reimbursement should be submitted through PEMS. See making a PBR claim for information regarding invoice and claim requirements.
Delivery and receipt
Office expenses can be delivered to your electorate office/s, privately-funded electorate office or satellite office (where applicable). Your MaPS state or territory manager will update your delivery address with COS if you relocate your office.
When you receive a delivery, you should ensure that items received are reconciled against the delivery docket. The docket should be retained for your records with the delivery date and 'goods received' noted on the docket for your reference.
Subject to the limit of your office expenses budget, you may purchase or subscribe to printed or electronic publications, for the conduct of your parliamentary business. You may only order such publications and in such quantities as are necessary for your parliamentary business. You cannot claim publications which are for your or another person's personal benefit or for commercial purposes.
You are responsible for dealing directly with your suppliers (such as a local newsagent or electronic subscription providers).
Orders placed for a subscription will be debited from the financial year in which the subscription is commenced. This includes where a subscription is for multiple years. While MaPS may pay a publication subscription claim in advance, you should be aware that if you cease to be a parliamentarian during the period of the pre-paid subscription, you may be required to repay the cost of the subscription that exceeds the length of your parliamentary term as well as any corresponding penalty loading. The 25 per cent penalty loading applies where more than 28 days have elapsed since the original claim date. MaPS has no discretion to waive the penalty loading.
Publications you purchase are included in your expenditure reports published by IPEA.
Media monitoring services
Subject to the limit of your office expenses budget, you may purchase media monitoring services for the conduct of your parliamentary business. You are responsible for dealing directly with your media monitoring supplier(s).
While MaPS may pay a media monitoring subscription in advance, you should be aware that if you cease to be a parliamentarian during the period of the pre-paid subscription, you may be required to repay the cost of the subscription that exceeds the length of your parliamentary term as well as any corresponding penalty loading. The 25 per cent penalty loading applies where more than 28 days have elapsed since the original claim date. MaPS has no discretion to waive the penalty loading.
Expenditure for media monitoring services is included in your expenditure reports published by IPEA.