International Travel

Parliamentarian

This part of the website provides guidance to parliamentarians about the new parliamentary work expenses framework starting 1 January 2018.

For further assistance, contact IPEA on 02 6215 3000 or email enquiries [at] ipea.gov.au.


In this page you will find information about:


International Travel

As a parliamentarian, your international travel needs to be consistent with the new legislated principles: ensuring the trip is for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business, and that it represents value for money. The specific rules for conducting international travel under the new framework have largely been preserved, and should be familiar to parliamentarians'.

International Travel is defined as travel to and from Australia, or travel between places outside of Australia.

International expenses that can be claimed by a parliamentarian cover the type of costs normally incurred when travelling internationally for work purposes.

Claimable expenses include:

  • transport costs for travel by unscheduled commercial transport within and between other countries
  • transport costs for travel by Commonwealth transport in accordance with a Commonwealth transport determination
  • accommodation costs (but not separate accommodation for a spouse)
  • meal costs
  • pre travel medical expenses such as vaccinations
  • medical supplies (such as medicine or a first aid kit)
  • emergency medical, dental or hospital expenses
    • for parliamentarians and employees, and for medical doctors accompanying the Prime Minister—official or diplomatic passports (including the costs of obtaining visas and photographs);
    • for parliamentarians—laundry and dry cleaning
    • for employees, and for medical doctors accompanying the Prime Minister
    • premiums for insurance for baggage and personal effects up to an insured value of $5,000
    • if a claim is made on the insurance—any excess payable in relation to the claim
    • for travel lasting at least seven days—laundry and dry cleaning.

Limits for Spouse Travel

For a spouse accompanying a parliamentarian on international travel, transport costs for travel by commercial transport may be used only for the purposes of accompanying the parliamentarian, or engaging in a spouse program.

First Class Round the World Airfares

The value of a first class round the world airfare for a financial year is determined by IPEA. The determination is made using reasonable costs of first class airfares before the start of the financial year.

Travel and Approvals

As a parliamentarian, international travel needs to be approved by the Presiding Officer, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition or a Leader of the Minority Party.

Required approvals for international travel are:

  • travel approved by a Presiding Officer needs to be obtained by:
    • a Presiding Officer, or
    • a parliamentarian representing a Presiding Officer.

Travel approved by the Prime Minister needs to be obtained by:

  • The Prime Minister
  • other Ministers
  • parliamentarian's representing Ministers, or
  • parliamentarian's representing the Government.

Travel approved by the Leader of the Opposition needs to be obtained by:

  • The Leader of the Opposition, or
  • another Member of the Opposition.

Travel approved by the leader of a minority party needs to be obtained by:

  • The relevant Minority Party Leader, or
  • another Member of the Minority Party.

Travel approved by both Presiding Officers needs to be obtained by:

  • a Member of a parliamentary delegation.

In respect to travel approved by a Presiding Officer, the Leader of the Opposition or a Leader of a Minority Party, there are annual expenditure caps contained in sections 41, 50 and 54 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017.

More travel and approval information in terms of expenditure that can be claimed in relation to approval by a Presiding Officer can be found in Subdivision B – Travel and approvals – presiding officers in the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017.

Approvers are, in effect, taken to have self-approved their own travel where they make a claim for travel expenses relating to international travel.

The approver of international travel for a parliamentarian may be quite specific about the approved travel and activities. In relation to approval for accompanying spouses and employees, there is some travel for which approval must be given expressly in relation to international travel to claim expenses, such as any significant travel that will be independent of the parliamentarian, and for a spouse, any attendance at a spouse program.

A generally-worded approval for a spouse to accompanying a parliamentarian on proposed international travel is sufficient, and would enable the parliamentarian to claim the spouse’s travelling costs while the spouse was accompanying the parliamentarian on the trip.

If the spouse wishes to travel home to Australia on a separate flight from the parliamentarian; that separate travel must be the subject of specific, express approval. If express approval is not given, the accompanying traveller’s expenses for that travel would not be claimable.

For parliamentarians whose accompanying spouse may be eligible for attendance at a spouse program, express approval is also required in order for any travel or other costs for that purpose to be claimable.

Transport Costs for Incidental Travel within Australia

Where domestic travel is required for the purpose of facilitating international travel, parliamentarian of Parliament will be able to claim that travel.

A parliamentarian is able to travel at Commonwealth expense for the purposes of commencing or completing their international travel, and may do so using scheduled commercial transport, taxi or other chartered transport car services, or Commonwealth transport.

For example:

  • using a taxi/and or domestic flight to connect to an international flight
  • for any other persons who may accompany a parliamentarian on international travel, for example, spouses or for the Prime Minister, a medical doctor, incidental travel expenses associated with the international travel would not be claimable

This Allowance is payable to a parliamentarian, staff member or a medical doctor accompanying the Prime Minister for each day or part day the person is outside Australia. The rate of International travel incidents allowance is:

  • $63 per day for a parliamentarian
  • $40 per day for an employee or medical doctor.

International Travel Equipment Allowance

This allowance is payable for equipment and clothing for a parliamentarian, employee or a medical doctor accompanying the Prime Minister. The $430 allowance is payable once in any period of three consecutive financial years.

International Travel Meal Allowance

  • The International Travel Meal Allowance is available to parliamentarians and their employees.

The amount of an International Travel Meal Allowance is determined by IPEA, having regard to the following:

  • the amount of international travel expenses provided to the person for meals
  • meals provided for the person other than under this instrument
  • any other matters IPEA considers relevant.

Travel by Prime Minister

Travel expenses can be claimed at Commonwealth expense and must be approved by the Prime Minister. International travel expenses can be claimed for:

  • The Prime Minister
  • employees accompanying the Prime Minister
  • employees travelling in advance of the Prime Minister
  • a medical doctor accompanying the Prime Minister
  • an interpreter accompanying the Prime Minister.

For a medical doctor accompanying the Prime Minister, the following expenses are claimable:

  • transport costs for incidental travel within Australia
  • costs of accommodation and meals, and incidental expenses incurred, within Australia to the extent that they are reasonably required for the medical doctor to commence or complete the journey that includes the international travel.

The following expenses are claimable for the spouse of the Prime Minister when accompanying the Prime Minister:

  • international travel expenses
  • transport costs for incidental travel within Australia.

Additional expenses for resources reasonably required for the conduct of the Prime Minister’s official duties during international travel are also claimable, including:

  • hiring office space, office equipment or other premises or facilities
  • facilities and services for the use of information and communications technology (other than mobile telecommunications or mobile internet devices or services)
  • interpreters or other specialist services
  • hospitality
  • newspapers and other consumables
  • booking and cancellation fees
  • other associated fees and charges
  • other Ministers—approval by Prime Minister.

A Minister, including an Assistant Minister and employees accompanying the Minister, may only undertake international travel for parliamentary business when the Prime Minister provides approval. Travel expenses relating to this travel can be claimed at Commonwealth expense.

If the spouse of the Minister accompanies the Minister on travel, the following expenses are claimable:

  • international travel expenses
  • transport costs for incidental travel within Australia.

International travel expenses and transport costs for incidental travel are also claimable for parliamentarian's representing the Minister or a parliamentarian representing the Australian Government if approved by the Prime Minister.

Travel by Leader of the Opposition

The Leader of the Opposition can undertake international travel. Travel expenses can be claimed by the Leader and up to two employees accompanying the Leader.

A parliamentarian of the opposition may travel internationally, when approval is given by the Leader of the Opposition. Travel expenses can be claimed by the parliamentarian and up to two accompanying employees.

Travel by a Leader of a Minority Party

The Leader of a minority party can undertake international travel. Travel expenses can be claimed by the Leader and up to two employees accompanying the Leader.

A member of the minority party may travel internationally, when approval is given by the Leader of a minority party. Travel expenses can be claimed by the parliamentarian and two accompanying employees.

More Information?

  • For travel related queries, contact IPEA on phone (02) 6215 3000 or email enquiries [at] ipea.gov.au.
  • A Fact Sheet is available on International Travel [PDF 128 KB] International Travel [DOC 97.91 KB].
  • Additional information on the new expenses framework can be found on the Legislative Framework page. 
  • For all other work expense matters, phone (02) 6215 3542 for parliamentarians' or (02) 6215 3333 for MOP(S) Act employees or email mpshelp [at] finance.gov.au.