Prime Minister’s Official Residences Donor Policy

GovernmentOfficial EstablishmentsPolicies and Guidelines
Thursday, 10 August 2017
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

This policy is designed to provide a standard approach for the consideration, acceptance and recognition of donations private donors can make for the Prime Minister’s Official Residences.


The Prime Minister’s Official Residences (the Official Residences) are nationally significant heritage properties owned by the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Official Residences are furnished, maintained and renovated to provide safe and appropriate accommodation for the Prime Minister, including for the purposes of hosting events, and to safeguard the homes’ national heritage.

Australian companies, organisations and citizens may from time to time offer to donate goods, services or money to the Australian Government for the enhancement of the Official Residences.

The Donor Policy

The donor policy ensures that a consistent approach is in place for the consideration, acceptance and timely acknowledgement of contributions to the Official Residences by Australian companies, Australian organisations and Australian citizens. The policy is a publicly available document, intended to provide transparency and raise awareness of donation opportunities relating to the Official Residences.

This document also provides guidance for seeking, obtaining and managing donations and philanthropic support and outlines principles to guide all aspects of donations.

The Official Residences

The official residences covered by the donor policy are:

  • The Lodge – Official Residence of the Prime Minister
  • Kirribilli House – Sydney residence available for the Prime Minister’s use.

The Governor-General’s official residences, Government House in Canberra and Admiralty House in Sydney, are managed by the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General. They are not covered by this policy.

Donations for the Official Residences

Donations for the Official Residences are considered to be donations to the Commonwealth of Australia and are to be treated in an ethical and open manner.

The Official Residences are private homes as well as public places for entertaining and hospitality. The Official Residences are dwellings, not institutional buildings.

The Official Residences are secure properties with restricted access. They are designated heritage buildings and are managed in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and within the framework of that Act’s guidelines and schedules. Their management, use and upkeep are subject to considerable public scrutiny.

As the residences of the Prime Minister it is important that any real or perceived conflict of interest, influence or bias resulting from donations of goods, services or money are avoided.

Donor Guidelines

The Australian Government, through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), is committed to building and maintaining relationships with donors, based on mutual trust, strong ethical behavior, and a proactive approach to open communications and meaningful recognition.

The following are the considerations that will be taken into account in considering the acceptance of donations for the Official Residences:

  • Donors are Australian citizens, companies or organisations
  • There are no reasonably foreseeable conflicts of interest arising from the making or acceptance of the donation
  • The purpose of the donation is for the enhancement of the Official Residences
  • Openness and transparency concerning Official Residences objectives and standards, the donation process and decision-making around donations
  • Timely information and responses to donors regarding donation proposals, including status updates and reasons for accepting or declining a donation
  • Consideration of donor anonymity if requested to the extent that legal or parliamentary requirements would allow. Requests for anonymity will not be granted where to do so might reasonably give rise to an inference of a conflict of interest, real or perceived, or where it would raise any other ethical concerns
  • Compliance with all legislative and regulatory standards including, but not limited to: Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013; Privacy Act 1988; Income Tax Assessment Act 1997; and Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Donor Solicitation

The above guidelines apply to all phases of the donation process. Donations will be solicited or accepted only for gifts of goods, services or money which fulfill an existing need at, or provide a suitable enhancement to, the Official Residences. All donors, solicited or unsolicited, are entitled to accurate information about the donation process and realistic expectations with respect to timelines, benefits and recognition.

The acceptance of donations will be consistent with broader policies, practices and objectives of the Australian Government. For example, donations from tobacco companies would not be accepted.

Donor Acknowledgement

A donor acknowledgement process that provides for timely and respectful correspondence with donors is key to positive donor relations, and to a successful donor program.

Table 1 outlines the donor acknowledgement process. The process illustrates the desired standards of timeliness, key messages and a clear responsibility framework to promote professionalism and credibility with donors.

Table 1
Activity Acknowledgement Format From Timing*
Donation Proposal Letter to potential donor (thank you, potential interest and next steps for Donation Review/or decline with rationale) FAS, MSD, PM&C 14 days
Donation Review by PM&C Letter of decision (accept or decline) with rationale and next steps FAS, MSD, PM&C 7 days from date of decision
Donation Transfer Letter, Agreement, Deed of Gift FAS, MSD, PM&C 2-3 months

* Note 1: The timelines are approximate and contingent upon the completeness of information being provided at each stage of the process.

Approval of donations

The decision to accept or decline a donation will be made by PM&C in accordance with Schedule A of the PM&C Financial Delegations (Ref No.9).

Donor Recognition

Each donation is a valuable and appreciated contribution. The level of recognition should be commensurate with the value of the donation and in keeping with the dignity of the Official Residences.

While some traditional forms of donor recognition are not appropriate at the Official Residences, a variety of communications and/or events are strategies that may be used to recognise donations and to convey appreciation to donors. Donor recognition plaques are not appropriate at the Official Residences.

For example, means of recognition might include: thank you letters; media releases; inclusion on a Donor Recognition Wall on the PM&C website; or, events relating to the unveiling or use of the donation1

While a coherent and consistent approach to the recognition of donors is an important objective of the Official Residences Donor Policy, each donation’s individual circumstances will be considered in choosing the form of recognition.

This policy was noted by the Prime Minister on 27 January 2017.

1 All travel and accommodation associated with attending events are at donor’s expense

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