The authority which sponsored the issue of a Diplomatic or Official passport is responsible for ensuring that:
- Holders are aware of the proper use of the passport, understand the penalties for improper use, and understand that the passport should be stored securely when not in use;
- A record is kept of all Diplomatic and Official passports which it has sponsored;
- Diplomatic and Official passports that are no longer required (e.g. because the officer no longer qualifies to hold the document) are returned to a Passport Office for cancellation;
- All employees who are separating from the organisation and who hold a Diplomatic or Official passport surrender their passport so that it can be returned to a Passport Office for cancellation;
- Where an officer who holds a Diplomatic or Official passport transfers to another agency and continues to require a Diplomatic or Official passport, the passport must be returned to a Passport Office along with a letter of support (see Letter 14) from the new sponsoring authority. The passport will be sent to the new sponsoring authority if approval to continue to hold the passport is granted by the Passport Office;
- An annual audit of all Diplomatic and Official passports sponsored by the agency is conducted to identify all passports sponsored by the agency and to bring to attention those passports which are no longer required. The results of this audit must be passed to APO by 1 April each year;
- It pays any penalties to replace any lost/stolen Diplomatic and Official passports (or require the passport holder to pay the penalty); and
- It pays any penalties imposed for not returning Diplomatic and Official passports as required above or for not being able to account for a passport as part of the annual audit.
The publication ‘Australian Diplomatic and Official Passports - Guidelines for Sponsoring Authorities’ (Annex 6) provides guidance to sponsoring authorities on the issue, use and management of Diplomatic and Official passports. Information in this publication should not however override the ministerial guidelines for the issue of a Diplomatic and Official passport, see ‘ Ministerial Guidelines for the issue of a Diplomatic & Official Passport ’.