Guidelines relating to Official Gifts received

1  APPLICATION OF GUIDELINES

1.1 The following guidelines apply to the Prime Minister, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, their families and their ministerial and electorate staff who receive a gift(s) in the course of their official duties.
(Note: Departmental staff who receive gift(s) in the course of their official duties should refer to their departmental Secretary’s Instructions, see section 12.)

1.2  Gifts from all sources, both private and government (government sources include Australian or foreign governments at the national, state, provincial or local levels and persons holding office in such governments), received overseas or within Australia, are subject to these guidelines.

2  AUSTRALIA’S GIFT POLICY

2.1  Australia is not traditionally a gift giving country. However, good manners, goodwill and the respect for other countries’ customs may necessitate the presentation and receipt of gifts.

2.2  Where at all possible and reasonable, appropriate opportunities should be taken to inform potential gift donors of Australia’s gift policy. For official visits overseas and visits to Australia by international dignitaries this information may be conveyed through diplomatic channels.

2.3  Alternatively potential gift donors could be made aware of the allowable limits that apply to recipients (see section 3.2).

3  ALLOWABLE LIMIT

3.1  The allowable limit in section 3.2 applies to an item or group of items given to the recipient by a donor at the one time.

3.2 The allowable limits are:

From government sources: $AUD750.00
From private / industry sources: $AUD300.00

3.3  For the purposes of these guidelines the value of an official gift is assessed on the basis of the:

  • Wholesale (tax free) value in the country of origin of the donor of the gift and converted to Australian dollars at the current exchange rate, or
  • Current market value of the gift in Australia (GST exclusive).

(Note:  this may be different to the Customs value described in section 5)

4  DECLARATION

4.1  Any gift received from any source which is believed to exceed the allowable limit (see section 3.2) is to be declared to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet by completing the Declaration of an Official Gift Exceeding Valuation Limit form. (See Attachment A.)

4.2  A declaration must be made within 28 days of receipt if it exceeds the allowable limits or immediately after a formal valuation is received (refer section 7). Declarations should be emailed to AOG@pmc.gov.au.

4.3  If a valuation is necessary to determine whether the gift is over the allowable limit then the gift is to be forwarded to a valuer within 28 days of receipt.

4.4  All gifts should be declared where there may be some particular sensitivity associated with the gift.

5  CUSTOMS FORMALITIES

5.1  All gifts received by recipients whilst travelling overseas on official government business are deemed to be the property of the Commonwealth. Normal customs and quarantine provisions apply and no specific concessions are available. 

5.2  Please refer to the Australian Border Force document Official Gifts – Guidelines for the Importation of Official Gifts’. (See Attachment B.)

6  MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS REGISTRABLE INTERESTS DECLARATIONS

6.1  Both the resolution of the House of Representatives in relation to the registration of Members’ interests (Part 2 paragraph (k)) and the resolution of the Senate in relation to the registration Senators’ interests (paragraph 3(k)) require separate declarations relating to some official gifts. Declarations to the Parliament and declarations under section 4.1 above should be consistent in relation to the same official gift.

7  VALUATIONS

7.1  Where the value of the gift exceeds the allowable limit in section 3.2, or if there is doubt about its value, valuations may be obtained from the donor, through the relevant overseas Post, or a formal valuation should be sought from a valuer competent to value in the field, or from the List of Approved Valuers issued by the Cultural Gifts Program, Department of Communication and the Arts.

7.2  The recipient’s department is responsible for obtaining and paying for all valuation advice. 

7.3  If the value of the gift is over the allowable limit in section 3.2, a copy of the formal valuation should be submitted, together with the recipient’s declaration form (Attachment A), to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (see section 9.1).

8  RETENTION OF A GIFT

8.1  Under the Limit - A gift may be retained by a recipient, if its individual value does not exceed the allowable limit (see section 3.2). If a recipient does not wish to keep gifts that are deemed to be under the allowable limit, the recipient’s department is responsible for the disposal of these items.

8.2  Over the Limit - a gift in excess of the allowable limit in section 3.2 may be retained by the recipient if he/she elects to purchase the gift by paying the difference between the allowable limit and the value of the gift plus GST on the difference.

Examples:

Wholesale value of gift from country of origin of $950.00 (from a Government source):
Value of gift $950.00
Minus Allowable limit $750.00
  $200.00 +
Add 10% GST $20.00
Total Amount due for payment $220.00

 

Retail value of gift of $850 (from private/industry source):
Value of gift $850.00
Divide by 1.1%* $772.73
Minus Allowable limit $300.00
Sub-total $472.73
Add 10% GST $47.27
Total Amount due for payment $520.00
* = Dividing retail value by 1.1% gives the true reflection of the wholesale value of the gift.

9  PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS

9.1  If a recipient wishes to purchase a gift that is valued over the allowable limit he/she must:

  • complete the declaration form at Attachment A
  • attach evidence of gift value/valuation process
  • enclose a personal cheque or money order for the calculated amount owing, payable to the Collector of Public Monies. Alternatively, an invoice can be raised by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to facilitate payment by EFT. If an invoice is required, please provide on the declaration form the name and contact number of the person requesting an invoice to be raised.

The above documents should be sent to:

Assistant Secretary
Protocol and International Visits Branch
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
One National Circuit
BARTON  ACT  2600

Also email a copy of the completed declaration documentation to AOG@pmc.gov.au.

10 SURRENDERING ITEMS

10.1 If a recipient elects not to purchase a gift that is determined to be over the allowable limit, the gift must be surrendered to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet following the same procedures as outlined at section 9.1 above.

10.2 Any recommendation for the future use of surrendered official gifts (which recipients are encouraged to provide) should be accompanied by a formal acknowledgement relinquishing the recipient’s claim to ownership, (see Attachment A), to allow the appropriate disposal action to be taken.

11 TRANSFER OR DISPOSAL OF GIFTS RECEIVED

11.1 Gifts surrendered to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet may be:

  • transferred on loan to Ministers’/Parliamentary Secretaries’ offices, Commonwealth Government offices or buildings administered by the Commonwealth Government, to be returned to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on retirement of Minister/Parliamentary Secretary or on change of Government
  • transferred in title to Commonwealth departments, repositories of National Collections including museums, galleries, libraries, archives and special interest collections, education or community institutions
  • donated to a nominated non-profit organisation or charity at the discretion of the recipient and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • disposed of in an appropriate manner by the Ministers’/Parliamentary Secretaries’ department, with advice of disposal to be provided to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

12 GIFTS RECEIVED BY OFFICIALS

12.1 The procedures as outlined above are also to apply to officials, except the declaration and disposal system is operated by the recipient’s department. Officials should also consult their departmental Secretary’s Instructions. Note: offers of cash or shares as a gift or benefit must be declined.

13 SECURITY SCREENING OF OFFICIAL GIFTS

13.1 It is the responsibility of each Minister’s portfolio department to arrange the appropriate security screening of gifts received by the Minister. Gifts should be screened at the earliest opportunity following receipt by the Minister.

Attachment A: Declaration of an Official Gift Exceeding Valuation Limit DOCX 60 KB | PDF 21 KB

Attachment B: Official Gifts – Guidelines for the Importation of Official Gifts DOCX 625 KB | PDF 454 KB

Any enquiries regarding these guidelines should be directed to:

Protocol and International Visits Branch
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
One National Circuit

BARTON   ACT   2600
Phone: (02) 6271 5130
Email: AOG@pmc.gov.au

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