Explanatory notes for statements of registrable interests

Download this document (PDF 61KB)

(agreed to by committee of senators’ interests on 19 June 2002; amended 18 June 2003, 13 October 2003, 29 March 2006, 10 August 2006, 6 September 2006 and 20 March 2007)

PART 1 – GENERAL

Statement of registrable interests

The purpose of the statement of registrable interests is to advise of senators’ interests in accordance with a resolution of the Senate of 17 March 1994, as amended on 21 June 1995, 13 May 1998, 22 November 1999, 15 September 2003 and 10 August 2006.

The statement, in two parts, is kept in a Register of Senators’ Interests, similarly divided. The registrable interests of a senator are declared in Form A,and comprise that part of the register which is available for public inspection from the date of receipt, and which is also eventually tabled in the Senate. The registrable interests, of which the senator is aware, of a senator’s spouse or partner, or any children who are wholly or mainly dependent on the senator for support, are declared in Form B. The senator is not required to disclose the name(s) of a spouse, partner or children. Nor is there a requirement to return Form B if a senator does not have a spouse, partner or dependent children, or is not aware of their interests. Form B constitutes the part of the Register of Senators’ Interests which is NOT available for public inspection. The interests recorded in Form B remain confidential to the Committee of Senators’ Interests unless the committee considers that a conflict of interest arises, at which time the committee may table the declaration.

Requirement to submit statement of registrable interests

The resolution requires that all senators must provide a statement of registrable interests within 28 days of making or subscribing an oath or affirmation of allegiance as a senator AND within 28 days after the first meeting of the Senate after 1 July first occurring after a general election.

Senators who are elected or appointed for the first time to the Senate should declare any benefits received from the date of their election or appointment as a senator, as well as interests as at the date of making and subscribing an oath or affirmation of allegiance.

In the case of re-elected or continuing senators, the statement of interests should include details of benefits received since the last notification of alterations of interests, as well as interests as at the date of the first meeting of the Senate following a simultaneous dissolution, or after 1 July following a general election.

Dependent children’ means dependent children under 16 years of age or dependent full-time students under 25 years of age. ‘Partner’ means a person who is living with another person in a bona fidedomestic relationship.

When interests are held jointly with a spouse or partner, former spouse or partner, or dependent children the interests need to be included only as interests of the senator with an appropriate notation such as ‘jointly owned with [former] spouse or partner’.

Where interests could be included under more than one heading, they need to be included only under the most specific heading unless two aspects need to be disclosed (e.g. real estate, plus a mortgage liability on that real estate or savings or investment accounts, plus a deposit by a third party that is also a registrable gift).

Both Form A and Form B must be completed as appropriate, in typescript if possible, signed by the senator, and returned to the Registrar of Senators’ Interests as originals, not faxes. For the purposes of meeting the 28-day deadline, signed faxed copies may initially be sent, followed by the signed originals.

Each question on each form should be answered in some definitive way even if only, for example, nil.

Any senator may make a new, full declaration of interests at any time.

Notification of alteration of interests

Any alteration to a senator’s registrable interests, or those of the senator’s spouse or partner, or dependent children, must be notified to the registrar within 35 days of the change occurring. All notifications of alteration of senators’ interests, too, are public from date of receipt. Notifications of alteration of spouses’, etc., interests remain confidential under the same conditions as Form B of the statement of interests.

Senators with investments or other registrable interests managed by a financial or other agent are responsible for arranging their affairs to ensure that they receive timely information to enable them to comply with the 35 day notification requirements for alterations of interests.

Relevant forms are available in hard copy or electronically, and alterations are notified to the registrar in the same manner as statements of registrable interests

Publication of statements and alterations of interests

A copy of that part of the Register of Senators’ Interests which is publicly available (Form A) is tabled in the Senate in each Parliament (in practice, as soon as possible after the swearing-in of State senators after a periodical or simultaneous dissolution election). Notifications of alterations of interests declared on Form A are tabled at least every six months (towards the end of the winter and summer sittings).

PART 2 – GUIDANCE ON INTERESTS TO BE DECLARED

Senators’ responsibility for statement of registrable interests

While these notes are intended to give some guidance to senators in compiling their statement, final decisions on the appropriate interpretation of the resolution are the responsibility of individual senators.

An asterix (*) after the phrase ‘the senator’s spouse or partner, or dependent children’ signifies that a senator is required only to declare the separate holdings of spouse, partner or dependent children on Form B, and only if the senator is aware of such holdings.

Note: It is not necessary to declare the actual number or value of shares, or the value of assets, sponsored travel, hospitality or gifts. Nor is it necessary to declare the actual amounts held in savings or investment accounts, amounts of liabilities, or amounts received as income, including income from investments.

Registrable interests

1. Shareholdings in public and private companies (including holding companies) indicating the name of the company or companies

2. Family and business trusts and nominee companies:

(i) in which a beneficial interest is held, indicating the name of the trust, the nature of its operation and beneficial interest, and

(ii) in which the senator, the senator’s spouse or partner, or a child who is wholly or mainly dependent on the senator for support,* is a trustee (but not including a trustee of an estate where no beneficial interest is held by the senator, the senator’s spouse or partner or dependent children), indicating the name of the trust, the nature of its operation and the beneficiary of the trust

3. Real estate, including the location (suburb or area only) and the purpose for which it is owned

4. Registered directorships of companies

5. Partnerships, indicating the nature of the interests and the activities of the partnership

6. Liabilities, indicating the nature of the liability and the creditor concerned

7. The nature of any bonds, debentures and like investments

8. Savings or investment accounts, indicating their nature and the name of the bank or other institutions concerned

9. The nature of any other assets (excluding household and personal effects) each valued at more than $7,500

10. The nature of any other substantial sources of income

11. Gifts valued at more than $750 received from official sources (such sources being an Australian or foreign national, State, provincial or local government or a person holding an office in such a government), or at $300 or more where received from other than official sources, provided that a gift received by a senator, the senator’s spouse or partner or dependent children from family members or personal friends in a purely personal capacity need not be registered unless the senator judges that an appearance of conflict of interest may be seen to exist

12. Any sponsored travel or hospitality received where the value of the sponsorship or hospitality exceeds $300

13. Being an officeholder of, or financial contributor donating $300 or more in any single calendar year to, any organisation

14. Any other interest where a conflict of interest with a Senator’s public duties could foreseeably arise or be seen to arise.

March 2007

Top