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Financial Disclosure Facts

Financial disclosure is required of candidates/parties and election donors in Australia.

The financial disclosure returns are released for public inspection by the Australian Electoral Commission 24 weeks after polling day in each particular election.

This material is reproduced from an Australian Electoral Commission media release on the Canning by-election disclosure returns.

Financial Disclosure Facts

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires candidates, Senate groups and donors to furnish financial disclosure returns to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) covering each election.

These returns are made public 24 weeks after polling day in the relevant election.

Candidates and Senate groups must submit returns containing the following information:

  • the total sum of gifts received during the reporting period;
  • the total number of persons who made gifts to them during the reporting period;
  • the sum and source of all gifts over the threshold; and
  • details of expenditure in each of the activities, if any:
    • public expression of views on a political party, candidate in an election, member of the Federal Parliament or an issue in a Federal election by any means;
    • printing, production, publication, distribution or broadcast of any material that is required by section 328 or 328A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or subclause 4(2) of schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to include an authorisation; and
    • carrying out opinion polling or other research relating to a Federal election or the voting intentions of electors.

Where the sum of a donor’s contribution to a candidate or Senate group is more than the threshold, the donor must submit a return that details:

  • the sum and details (date and recipient of the donation) of each ‘gift’; and
  • the sum and details of any ‘gifts’ received by the donor that have been passed on to a candidate or Senate group, or to another donor for the purposes of being passed on to a candidate or Senate group.

Candidates and Senate groups not endorsed by a political party must disclose the total donations received and the sum and source of donations over the threshold, as well as expenditure in the categories above. Gifts received by candidates and Senate groups that are endorsed by a political party will be reported in the political party return for the 2015-16 financial year.

Note: The threshold for the 2015 Canning by-election was ‘more than $13,000’. The threshold is indexed and is adjusted on 1 July each year.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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