Background on expenditure reporting
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) publicly reports parliamentarians’ work expenses and travel expenses of their staff under section 12 of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Act 2017.
Data is also published on data.gov.au for download:
- Expenses data from 1 April 2017 onwards
- Certifications, office costs and adjustments data from 1 January 2019 onwards
Certification of work expenses
As part of the public reporting process, current and former parliamentarians (including former Prime Ministers, surviving spouses / de facto partners of former Prime Ministers, and post retirement travellers) are asked to certify that the expenses listed in their report were used for the dominant purpose of conducting their parliamentary business.
Current and former parliamentarians are not asked to certify the specific amount of listed expenses as they may have limited knowledge or control over various types of expenses, such as office facilities.
Why do some offices have higher travel expenditure?
When comparing parliamentarians travel expenditure, it is important to note the following:
- Ministers are likely to have more staff and a greater requirement to travel (depending on the nature of their portfolio). This may have an impact on the volume and cost of travel for their office.
- The location and size of a parliamentarian’s electorate may also have an impact on the overall cost of travel for an office. For example, flights between Perth or Darwin and Canberra are often more expensive than flights between Sydney or Melbourne and Canberra and this will have an impact on the total travel expenditure for that office. This is also the case for electorates in more remote locations as the cost of travel to Canberra may include multiple flights and/or ground transport costs.
- Some parliamentarians may have a greater requirement to travel overseas depending on their role, for example the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the Minister for Trade and Tourism. This is likely to result in a higher volume of international travel for their office.
- As part of their parliamentary business, some parliamentarians are involved with Committees. Committees are an important part of the business of Parliament and allow more detailed scrutiny of specific matters of policy or government and parliamentary administration or performance. Some Committees, for example those considering matters impacting rural, regional or remote communities may, by their very nature, incur additional travel and travel related expenses. More information on Committees is available on the Parliament of Australia website.
- As a result of mandatory quarantine arrangements, some offices may have increased domestic and international travel expenses from the July to September 2020 reporting period onwards.
Historical changes to expenditure reporting
From the April to June 2017 reporting period, aggregate employee travel costs (domestic and international) have been included in expenditure reports.
From the April to June 2018 reporting period, signage costs for mobile electorate offices have been included under office facilities in expenditure reports.
From the January to March 2020 reporting period, expenditure reports for special units of government have been published on the IPEA website.
From the July to September 2020 reporting period, expenditure reports include party political affiliation (as at the compilation of the reports) for each parliamentarian.
Reporting of publications expenses
As a result of administrative changes within the Department of Finance, detailed reporting of publications expenses was unavailable for the period 1 January to 31 March 2018 at the time of publishing those reports.
For detailed publication information relating to this period, please contact Ministerial and Parliamentary Services in the Department of Finance.