Letter to the Editor-Thursday,October 10:Allowances clear-cut

FRED Perring (DEX, October 2013) quotes Malcolm Turnbull on the alleged vagueness of rules concerning travelling allowances available to federal parliamentarians.

I don't think the rules are in any way ambiguous, as is seen by Clause 3.12 of the Remuneration Tribunal's August 2012 determination:

"Travelling allowance shall be payable to a senator or member for each overnight stay in a place other than his or her home base when that stay is occasioned primarily by:

(a) sittings of the House of Parliament or direct travel to or from such sittings; or

(b) meetings of or the formal business of parliamentary committees of which he or she is a member or direct travel to or from such meetings; or

(c) attendance at functions representing a Minister or a Presiding Officer on official business as a Minister or Presiding Officer, or direct travel to or from such functions, provided the Minister or Presiding Officer nominates the function in advance in a written request to the senator or member to represent him or her; or

(d) meetings in Canberra of his or her parliamentary political party, of its executive or of its committees (see clause 1.5.2) or direct travel to or from such meetings; or

(e) meetings of his or her parliamentary political party executive (see clause 1.5.2) outside Canberra or direct travel to or from such meetings; or

(f) meetings, other than in Canberra, of a parliamentary political party, or of its executive, or of its committees, attendance at the national and state conferences of a political party, of which he or she is a member (see clause 1.5.2), and meetings outside the electorate on electorate business up to a maximum of ten overnight stays per annum in total, and direct travel to or from such meetings or conferences; or

(g) attendance at official government, parliamentary or vice-regal functions; or

(h) meetings of a non-statutory body which a senator or member has been nominated to attend by resolution of either House, where the senator or member performs duties principally as a representative or alternate representative, of the Parliament; or

(i) attendance at properly constituted meetings of a Government advisory committee or task force provided that the senator or member is a member of the committee or task force."

The Department Of Finance defines official business for the purpose of plane, train, hire car/taxi travel entitlement as attendance at: "properly constituted meetings of a Government advisory committee or task force provided that the Senator or Member is a member of the committee or task force; and functions representing a Minister or a Presiding Officer on official business as a Minister or Presiding Officer, provided that the Minister or Presiding Officer nominates the function in advance in a written request to the Senator or Member to represent him or her."

It is plain to see that there is no leeway for expenses associated with high-profile weddings, off-the-record meetings with journalists, birthday parties, winter holidays or ironman events.

Sincerely,
Judith M. Melville



A toast to local community doing their bit for environment

premium_icon A toast to local community doing their bit for environment

Bring your own cup deal paying off for the environment

MyHealth: patients need to weigh up pros and cons of system

premium_icon MyHealth: patients need to weigh up pros and cons of system

Medical practices like MyHealth in theory, but urge caution.

Redmen's great escape

Redmen's great escape

Dramatic comeback seals minor premiership

Local Partners