Funding and Disclosure - Local Government

The Local Government Electoral Act 2011 governs the financial obligations for candidates and third parties who take part in Local Government elections.  The electoral commission publishes a handbook to assist candidates and third parties.

Nomination deposits are refunded to eligible candidates, those who poll 4% or more of the vote or are elected, after the end of the disclosure period (30 days after polling day) and once their disclosure return is received by the electoral commission. 

Candidates at a Local Government election and entities or persons with an obligation to disclose as a third party for an election (this term includes persons or entities that gave gifts of $200 or  more to a candidate at that election) have an obligation to lodge a disclosure return with the electoral commission within 15 weeks after polling day.  Click here for a Local Government candidate's disclosure form.  (This form can be completed on line but must be printed for signature and lodgement)  Click here for a Local Government third party disclosure form.

There is no specific time frame within which the electoral commission must make Local Government election disclosures available for inspection.  Disclosures are being published progressively after they are received.  Click here to access the disclosure returns posted.  Candidates who are elected or poll more than 4% of the vote are entitled to a refund of their nomination deposits.  Refunds can be processed at the end of the disclosure period once a disclosure return is given to the commission.  Use Form QLG04 Registration of EFT Details for Nomination Refund.

Funding and Disclosure - Queensland State

The capped expenditure period for the next State general election commenced on Monday 24 March 2014.  Capped expenditure amounts are those applicable to the financial year in which the capped expenditure period starts; in this case the 2013/14 financial year.

Click here to go to funding and disclosure forms.  Handbooks are available here.

All funding and disclosure publications are available via the Publications Guide here.

The Electoral Act 1992 provides for capping of electoral expenditure by and donations to candidates, third parties and registered political parties—

  • Candidates and registered political parties may apply to the electoral commission for reimbursement of electoral expenditure
  • Click here for information about third parties

FUNDING

Election Funding

Registered Political Parties

A registered political party is entitled to election funding for all elections held on the same day if, in relation to a candidate who the party endorses in an election, the total number of formal first preference votes given for the candidate is at least 4% of the total number of formal first preference votes made in the election.

Election funding entitlements are calculated against actual electoral expenditure within the capped expenditure amount for the election.  The amount of election funding that the registered political party is entitled to is—

  • All of the first 10% of electoral expenditure
  • ¾ of the next 80% of electoral expenditure
  • ½ of the remaining 10% of electoral expenditure

Candidates

A candidate is entitled to election funding if the total number of formal first preference votes given for the candidate is at least 4% of the total number of formal first preference votes made in the election.

Election funding entitlements are calculated against actual electoral expenditure within the capped expenditure amount for the election.  The amount of election funding that a candidate is entitled to is—

  • All of the first 10% of electoral expenditure
  • ½ of the next 80% of electoral expenditure
  • ¼ of the remaining 10% of electoral expenditure

Candidates' Funding and Disclosure Handbook is available from the Commission.

When and how claims are made

To be paid election funding, agents of candidates and registered political parties must submit a claim in the approved form to the electoral commission.

Candidates and registered political parties may claim an advance payment if the candidate or party was entitled to election funding at the previous election.  The advance payment that a candidate or registered political party may claim is half of the amount of election funding they were paid for the previous election.

A claim, other than a claim for advance payment must state all electoral expenditure for which election funding is sought.  Other than a claim for advance funding, claims for election funding for an election must be lodged with the commission during the period of 20 weeks after the polling day.  Claims for advance payment must be lodged with the commission before the later of six weeks before the capped expenditure period for the election starts or the day the writs for the election are issued.

Advance Election Funding

A registered political party or a candidate in an election is entitled to be paid an amount of the election funding in advance of the election if the party or candidate was entitled to election funding at the previous election.

Political parties or candidates can claim an entitlement of 50% of the amount of election funding that they were paid for the previous election.  Advance election funding claims must be lodged with the electoral commission before the later of six weeks before the capped expenditure period for the election starts or the day the writs for the election are issued.

Click here for an advance election funding claim form.  An EFT Details Registration form for payment to the nominated State campaign account must be completed and lodged with the electoral commission.

DISCLOSURE

Registered Political Parties

The agent of a registered political party must, within 15 weeks after polling day, give the electoral commission an audited return in an approved form stating the details of all electoral expenditure for the capped expenditure period for the election incurred by or with the authority of the registered political party.

Additionally, within 8 weeks of the end of the first 6 months of the financial year (July–December) and the full financial year (January–June), the agent of each registered political party must give the electoral commission an audited return in the approved form stating—

  • the total amount received by or for the party during the reporting period together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more
  • the total amount of political donations received by the party during the reporting period together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more
  • the total amount paid by or for the party during the reporting period together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more
  • the total outstanding amount at the end of the reporting period of all debts incurred by or for the party together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more

Associated Entities

Within 8 weeks of the end of the first 6 months of the financial year (July–December) and the full financial year (January–June), the financial controller of each associated entity must give the electoral commission an audited return in the approved form stating—

  • the total amount received by or for the entity during the reporting period together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more
  • the total amount paid by or for the entity during the reporting period together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more
  • the total outstanding amount at the end of the reporting period of all debts incurred by or for the entity together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more

Donors

If in a reporting period a person makes political donations or other gifts totalling $1,000 or more to the same registered political party (includes associated entities and related political parties), the person must give a return to the electoral commission within 8 weeks after the end of the reporting period disclosing all political donations or other gifts the person made to the registered political party during the reporting period.

Reporting periods are the first 6 months of the financial year (July–December) and the full financial year (January–June).

Candidates

The agent of each person who was a candidate or the candidate if there is no appointed agent, in an election must within 15 weeks after polling day give the electoral commission an audited return in the approved form stating—

  • the total amount of all political donations, the number of persons who made the donations together with particulars of sums of $1,000 or more made during the disclosure period for the election
  • all loans received from a person other than a financial institution during the disclosure period for the election

Third Parties

A third party for a State election is defined as any entity other than a candidate, registered political party or an associated entity (of a registered political party).  It may include an individual.

A third party that intends to incur electoral expenditure for an election may apply for registration with the commission.  See below for registration details.

Unregistered third parties must comply with a lower electoral expenditure cap.  Caps that would apply should a writ for an election be issued in the 2013/14 financial year are:

  •  for registered third parties the cap is $535,900 in total, but not more than $80,500 in any one electoral district;
  •  for unregistered third parties the cap is $10,900 in total, but no more than $2,300 in any one electoral district.

For the 2013/14 financial year, all third parties are subject to a maximum political donation of $2,300 from any one donor.  Political donations are gifts which are intended to be used for a political purpose and can include gifts in kind or payment of electoral expenditure by another person on behalf of the third party.  A third party, or a person acting on behalf of a third party must not, in a financial year accept political donations exceeding the donation cap for the financial year from an individual donor.

Dependant upon the level of campaign finance activity, third parties may be required to meet additional obligations.  This includes the keeping of a separate account with a financial institution for State election campaigns and the lodgement of a disclosure return detailing all electoral expenditure incurred and political donations received and/or made.

Third party disclosure returns for the 2014 Redcliffe by-election are due for lodgement with the commission by 10 June 2014.  Click here for a return form in relation to the 2014 Redcliffe by-election.

A third party that incurs expenditure for political purposes including gifts to candidates during the disclosure period of less than $1,000 is not required to lodge a disclosure return.

Click here for the third party handbook.

Registering a Third Party

An application to register a third party must be made in the approved form (QTP01) and be accompanied by an appointment of an individual as the party's agent.

Applications must be lodged with the commission by close of business on Friday the day before polling day.

A separate form will be required in the event that the third party’s details change. Third parties are required to give the electoral commission notice of change to their details within 30 days of the change happening.

QTP01 Application for Registration of a Third Party
QTP02  Notice of Appointment of an Agent by a Third Party
QTP03 Notice of Change of Details for a Registered Third Party
Election Funding and Financial Disclosure Handbook for Third Parties 

Broadcasters

Each broadcaster who during the capped expenditure period for an election broadcasts an advertisement relating to the election with the authority of a participant in the election must within 8 weeks after polling day give the electoral commission a return in the approved form stating—

  • the broadcasting service as part of which the advertisement was broadcast
  • the person at whose request the advertisement was broadcast
  • the participant in the election with whose authority the advertisement was broadcast
  • the starting date on which and the times between which the advertisement was broadcast
  • whether on each occasion the advertisement was broadcast, a charge was made and stating the amount of the charge

Publishers

Each publisher of a journal who during the capped expenditure period of an election publishes an advertisement relating to the election with the authority of a participant in the election must within 8 weeks after polling day give the electoral commission a return in the approved form stating—

  • the journal in which the advertisement was published
  • the person at whose request the advertisement was published
  • the participant in the election with whose authority the advertisement was published
  • the date on which the advertisement was published
  • the page in the journal on which the advertisement was published and the space in the journal occupied by the advertisement
  • whether on each occasion the advertisement was published, a charge was made and stating the amount of the charge

Special Reporting of Large Gifts

Gifts in the amount of or accumulating to $100,000 or more during a reporting period (July–December and January–July) must be reported to the electoral commission on each occasion that threshold is reached in a separate return given to the commission within 14 days after the special reporting event occurs by—

  • the person
  • the registered political party to which the person made the gifts
  • or if the person made any part of the gifts to an associated entity of the registered political party, the associated entity

Auditing of Returns

Disclosure returns by registered political parties and associated entities, other than for a special reporting event, must be accompanied by an auditor’s certificate.

An auditor cannot be, or have ever been, a member of a political party and must satisfy one of the following qualification or experience criteria—

  • registration as an auditor under the Corporations Act
  • membership of CPA Australia and entitled to use the letters CPA or FCPA 
  • membership of the Institute of Public Accountants and entitled to use the letters MPA or FIPA 
  • membership of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and entitled to use the letters CA or FCA 

The electoral commission may also conduct its own reviews and investigations related to returns lodged and entitlements claimed under the Electoral Act 1992.

CAPS ON DONATIONS AND ELECTORAL EXPENDITURE

All capped amounts are adjusted annually on 1 July in accordance with formulae contained in the Electoral Act.

Political Donations

Political donations are capped for each financial year.  The maximum political donation that may be made to a registered political party is $5,300 in the 2012/13 financial year and $5,500 in the 2013/14 financial year.  The cap for a candidate or third party is $2,200 in the 2012/13 financial year and $2,300 in the 2013/14 financial year. 

Campaign Expenditure

Agents of candidates, registered political parties and registered third parties must ensure that payment of electoral expenditure is paid from the candidate’s, a registered political party’s or registered third party’s State campaign account.  For a full explanation of the State campaign account, please refer to section 218 of the Act.

Where a capped expenditure period starts in one financial year and finishes in another financial year, the applicable expenditure cap is the one that applied for the financial year when the capped period started.  Therefore, the capped amounts applicable to an election for which a writ is issued in the 2013/14 financial year are—

  • Independent Candidates........ The expenditure cap for independent candidates is $80,500.
  • Registered Political Party...... The expenditure cap for a registered political party is $85,800 per district contested. 
  • Endorsed candidate............... The expenditure cap for a candidate endorsed by a registered political party is $53,700. 
  • Registered Third Party.......... The expenditure cap for a registered third party is $535,900 but no more than $80,500 in relation to a particular electoral district, in the first financial year.
  • Unregistered Third Party....... The expenditure cap for an unregistered registered third party is $10,900 but no more than $2,300 in relation to a particular electoral district, in the first financial year.
  • By-election....... The expenditure cap for independent candidates and candidates endorsed by a registered political party is $80,500.    

PUBLIC INSPECTION OF RETURNS

Periodic returns are available for public inspection at the commission’s office and on this website on 8 April and 6 October respectively.

All election returns are available for public inspection at the commission’s office and on this website 24 weeks after polling day.  For the 2012 State General election, that date is Monday 10 September 2012.

HANDBOOKS

 Registered Officers andAgents of Registered Political Parties 

Third Parties 

Registration of Political Parties 

Candidates' Funding and Disclosure Handbook 

Candidates (specific to Redcliffe by-election 2014)

DEFINITIONS

The capped expenditure period for the next general election is the period starting on the earlier of the day that is two years after the polling day for the last election or the day of the issue of the writ for the election and ending at 6.00pm on Polling Day.  Section 197 of the Act contains an expanded description of this term.

A fundraising contribution means an amount paid by a person as a contribution, entry fee or other payment to entitle that person or another person to participate in or otherwise obtain a benefit from a fundraising venture or function.  A fundraising contribution of $200 or less is not considered a gift.  If a fundraising contribution is more than $200 the first $200 of the fundraising contribution is not considered to be a gift.  Section 200 of the Act contains an expanded description of this term.

A gift means a disposition of property made by a person to someone else; otherwise than by will, being a disposition made without consideration in money or money’s worth or with inadequate consideration.  A gift includes the provision of a service other than volunteer labour for no consideration or for inadequate consideration and uncharged interest on a loan. Section 201 of the Act contains an expanded description of this term.

A political donation is a gift made to a registered political party, candidate or third party that is accompanied by a statement from the donor that the gift is intended for use for campaign purposes during the capped expenditure period for an election.  Section 250 of the Act contains an expanded description of this term.

DISCLOSURE FORMS

A list of downloadable financial disclosure forms is listed below.

QFD01    Disclosure Return - Registered Political Party 

QFD02    Disclosure Return - Associated Entity  

QFD03    Disclosure Return - Donor to Registered Political Party  

QFD04    Notice of Appointment of an Agent by a Candidate 

QFD07    Disclosure Return - Third Parties (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD09    Disclosure Return - Candidates (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD10    Special Reporting Event Report by Registered Political Party or Associated Entity 

QFD11    Special Reporting Event Report by Donor 

QFD12    Claim for Advance Payment of Election Funding 

QFD14    Claim for Payment of Election Funding (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD15    Payment Direction by an Agent of a Candidate (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD16    Registration of EFT Details for Election Funding (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD19    Electoral Expenditure Disclosure Return - Registered Political Party (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD20    Disclosure Return - Donor to Candidate (Recliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD21    Disclosure Return - Publishers (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD22    Disclosure Return - Broadcasters (Redcliffe by-election 22 February 2014) 

QFD25    Request to Amend a Return or Claim 

QLG01    Disclosure Return for a Candidate or Group of Candidates (Local Government elections 28 April 2012) 

QLG02    Disclosure Return for a Third Party/Donor (Local Government elections 28 April 2012)  

QLG04    Registration of EFT Details for Nomination Refund