Guidelines relating to Official Gifts for presentation by Ministers

ROLE OF THE MINISTER'S OFFICE

1  Official Gifts Background

1.1  Although Australia is not traditionally a gift giving country, other countries’ customs, good manners and goodwill may necessitate the presentation of gifts.

1.2  Whilst under the direction of the Protocol and International Visits Division (PIV) of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), the responsibility for the supply of official gifts for presentation has been outsourced to Intandem Holdings Pty Ltd (Intandem). Intandem utilises the services of its nominated sub-contractor, National Mail and Marketing (NMM). NMM provides physical storage of products, online ordering, gift wrapping, packaging, local (Canberra) delivery services and national/international distribution services as required. Under the terms of the contract, official gifts are supplied by Intandem.

2  Eligibility to Present Official Gifts

2.1  Official gift givers who are eligible to use this service are the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and official Parliamentary Delegations. For the purpose of these guidelines, the word ‘minister’ is inclusive of all/any of these eligible users.

2.2  The service should only be used by ministers undertaking overseas travel approved by the Prime Minister; ministers hosting a Guest of Government visit or a visiting foreign official; and official parliamentary delegations approved by the Prime Minister. 

3  Australia’s Gift Policy

3.1  The Government’s policy of being a non-gift giving country should be made known to representatives of foreign governments at the time visits are being planned. This should encourage a more modest approach to such exchanges.

3.2  The decision to present a gift is always at the discretion of the minister. To assist with this, planning for any official overseas visit by the minister, or an official visit to Australia by a Guest of Government or a foreign official, should include a request for advice from the relevant Australian Embassy or High Commission about known gift giving customs and requirements (including any cultural or religious sensitivities). In Australia, PIV officers escorting Guests of Government will advise if the visitor is presenting a gift. For Guest of Government visits the host minister will present a gift on behalf of the Australian Government.

4  Procedure for Acquiring Gifts

4.1  If it is considered that there is a gift requirement, an order should be completed on-line using Intandem’s website. The official gifts site will allow the user to view the products listed in the catalogue, or with the right permission, allow you to log in and place orders. For new log ins, contact the Adviser Official Gifts, PIV on adviserofficialgifts@pmc.gov.au who will liaise with Intandem to provide a log in and password as well as a ‘how to’ guide and can provide one-on-one remote training as needed. A new order will be required for each gift giving occasion (ie. each overseas visit by the minister, or official visit to Australia involving the giving of a gift by the minister).

4.2  For the most efficient and appropriate selection of gifts it is important that Intandem is given as much information as possible about gift recipients, including advice received from relevant DFAT posts overseas, and any particular emphasis the visit may have or known cultural/religious sensitivities. The notice given should allow sufficient time for considered selection and quality presentation.

5  Choice of Gifts

5.1  Where required, Intandem staff will provide advice and assistance, but the choice of gifts, subject to certain financial limitations, is made by the minister or his/her agent.

5.2 PIV has requested Intandem sort gifts into the following categories based on value and appropriateness of the gift for the level of recipient. Suggested maximum values should be:

  • Heads of State/Heads of Government $500-$750
  • Government to Government up to $300
  • Senior Minister up to $250
  • Junior Ministers/Officials up to $150
  • Protocol up to $30
  • Drivers, security staff, etc up to $25.

5.3  The dollar amount assigned to each listed category by Intandem, in consultation with PIV, is indicative. Discretion and judgement may be required in relation to the status of some gift recipients. While the choice of gift should not exceed the recommended upper limit of the relevant category, there may be occasions where a gift of lesser value from another category will be appropriate. PIV must be consulted before committing to any purchase that significantly exceeds these limits.

5.4  Where there is a separate gift to a spouse of an overseas host/visitor, its value should be equivalent to or less than the value of the gift to the principal.

5.5  There may be other recipients who do not fall into the listed categories such as institutions, overseas schools, hospitals, etc. The gift chosen should be appropriate to the occasion.

5.6  It is not considered appropriate to make official gift presentations to Australian Government employees or their families.

6 Gift Acquittals

6.1  Upon receipt of the gifts from Intandem, the accompanying gift order and packing slip must be signed. From that time until the acquittal is completed on line and any unused gifts are returned to Intandem, the care and control of the gifts are the responsibility of the minister’s office

6.2  For each gift presentation, the gift order and packing slip must be annotated by the responsible staff member, recording the recipient’s name and title, or, for minor gifts, the category of recipient, and in all cases, the presentation date.  These fields are mandatory.

6.3  In the case of gifts not being presented, this should be reflected in the on-line acquittal eg in the column titled “Qty to be returned” insert 1

6.4  The acquittal, together with any gifts not presented, should be completed and returned to Intandem within twenty (20) working days of presentation and/or return to AustraliaFailure to do so within twenty (20) working days will incur a financial penalty on the Commonwealth and will be included in a report to PIV. Any gifts not presented/not returned to Intandem must be surrendered to PIV unless agreement is sought to reissue the gift at a later date.

6.5  As part of the acquittal process, any comments on the gifts or service can be emailed to Intandem to ensure the service continues to meet the minister’s needs.

ROLE OF THE GIFTS SUPPLIER

7  Intandem

7.1  Under the direction of PIV, Intandem provides a wide selection of Australian made and crafted items, purchased from sources throughout Australia, in a range of values that are suitable for presentations as official gifts.

7.2  Intandem staff will be available to provide advice on choice, local custom and protocol relating to the presentation of official gifts. If selecting gifts electronically, this protocol information is available on request from Intandem. A database maintained by Intandem records gifts presented on previous occasions so that duplication is avoided.

7.3  Whilst there will be a large stock from which gifts can be selected, any special requests for particular gifts should be discussed with Intandem enabling enough time to source items should they be appropriate.

7.4  The selection of gifts will be listed, clearly identified and packaged for presentation and travel.

7.5  After gifts have been presented, acquitted and (together with unused items) returned to Intandem, data base records will be updated to ensure presentation information is current.

ROLE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

8  Protocol and International Visits Division Responsibilities:

8.1  It is the role of PIV to manage the contract with Intandem and oversee all aspects of the official gifts service.

8.2  All invoices for use of this service are submitted by Intandem to PIV for payment.

8.3  Under the terms of the contract, official gifts are supplied by Intandem. PIV will not support or fund the purchase of items from any other source. In the event that Intandem is unable to supply a required product or to deliver on time, offices/departments must seek permission from PIV to go outside of this arrangement.

8.4  As part of the management role, PIV liaises between users of the service and service providers where necessary.

8.5 Any enquiries regarding these guidelines should be directed to:

Adviser Official Gifts
Protocol and International Visits Division
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Phone: 02 6271 6101
Email: adviserofficialgifts@pmc.gov.au

Summary of Contact Details

Cheryl Webb, Accounts Manager
Intandem
Phone:  03 9417 0707
Fax:  03 9417 0556
Email: gifts@intandem.com.au

Intandem Mailing Address:

PO Box 7028
Canberra BC  ACT  2601

Contract Manager enquiries:

Protocol and International Visits Division
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
One National Circuit
Phone: (02) 6271 5130
Fax: (02) 6271 5796
Email: adviserofficialgifts@pmc.gov.au

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