(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a person has a special circumstances exemption in respect of a period if:
(a) the Secretary is satisfied that special circumstances, beyond the person's control, exist; and
(b) the Secretary is satisfied that in those circumstances it would be unreasonable to expect the person to satisfy the activity test for that period.
(1AA) Subsection (1) does not apply to circumstances wholly or predominantly attributable to the person's misuse of alcohol or another drug, unless the person is a declared program participant, a new apprentice or undertaking full-time study.
Meaning of special circumstances
(1A) In making a decision under subsection (1), the Secretary is to have regard to the guidelines.
(1B) The Minister, by legislative instrument:
(a) is to set guidelines for the exercise of the Secretary's discretion under subsection (1A); and
(b) may revoke or vary those guidelines.
Duration of period
(2) The period referred to in subsection (1) is not to be more than 13 weeks.
Duration where a number of determinations made
(a) the Secretary makes more than one decision under subsection (1) or under subsection 731E(1); and
(b) the periods to which the decisions relate form a continuous period;
the continuous period is not to be more than 13 weeks, unless the Secretary decides otherwise, having regard to the continued existence, or likely continued existence, of the special circumstances on which the last preceding decision was based.