International Travel

Parliamentarian

On this page you will find information about:


International travel

A parliamentarian may undertake international travel for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business, where the travel represents value for money.

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

International travel expenses that can be claimed include:

  • scheduled commercial transport at no higher than business class
  • transport costs for travel by unscheduled commercial transport within and between other countries (including ground transport)
  • 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.

Travel and approvals

International travel must be approved by a presiding officer, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition or a leader of a minority party, depending on the reason for travel.

Travel approved by a presiding officer includes:

  • travel by a presiding officer,
  • travel by a parliamentarian representing a presiding officer
  • travel by a parliamentarian as a member of a parliamentary delegation.

Travel approved by the Prime Minister includes:

  • travel by the Prime Minister
  • travel by other ministers
  • travel by parliamentarians representing ministers
  • travel by parliamentarians representing the Government or Australia.

Travel approved by the Leader of the Opposition or a minority party includes:

  • travel by the leader
  • travel by another member of the opposition or minority party.

Travel approved by a presiding officer, the Leader of the Opposition or a leader of a minority party is subject to an annual budget. For each presiding officer, the annual budget is $250,000. For opposition travel, the budget is based on 4 first class around the world airfares, and for minority party travel, the budget is based on one first class around the world airfare.

Parliamentary delegation travel

The International Parliamentary Relations Office (IPRO) assists with developing an itinerary for parliamentary delegations. IPRO also advises delegates of the notional fare for each delegate.

Once a notional fare has been set by IPRO, delegation travellers may elect to reduce the cost of their airfare (e.g. by downgrading) and use the cost saving to extend their travel and/or be accompanied by their spouse.

Conditions of international travel

The approver of international travel for a parliamentarian may include specific conditions 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 is independent of the parliamentarian, and for a spouse, any attendance at a spouse program.

A generally-worded approval for a spouse to accompany 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.

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.

If the spouse wishes to travel home to Australia on a separate flight from the parliamentarian, that separate travel must be approved in writing and advised to IPEA. If approval is not given, the accompanying traveller’s expenses for that travel would not be claimable.

First class around 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.

Transport costs for incidental travel within Australia

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 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.

International travel allowances

Allowances for international travel by a parliamentarian and/or their accompanying staff member, or a medical doctor accompanying the Prime Minister:

  • international travel incidental allowance
  • international travel equipment allowance
  • international travel meal allowance.

International travel incidental allowance

An 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 incidental 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
  • any other matters IPEA considers relevant.

Travel by the Prime Minister

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

  • 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.

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.

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 the 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.
  • Additional information on the expenses framework can be found on the Legislative Framework page. 
  • For advice on all non-travel related work expense matters, email Ministerial and Parliamentary Services at mpshelp [at] finance.gov.au or call (02) 6215 3333.