Overview

An associated entity of a registered political party is:

  • controlled by a registered political party or a group of endorsed candidates, or
  • operates wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit or dominant purpose of promoting the party, or a group of endorsed candidates of a political party, in an election.

An associated entity of a candidate is:

  • controlled by a candidate in relation to the election, or
  • operates wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit of the candidate in relation to the election, or
  • operates for the dominant purpose of promoting the candidate in the election

The Electoral Act 1992 provides that, if a registered political party has an associated entity, the two effectively constitute the political party.

Associated entities should familiarise themselves with electoral expenditure caps that apply to their political party or candidate. The receiving or giving of money and expenditure incurred by an associated entity impacts their election participant under the Electoral Act 1992. Expenditure incurred by the third party counts towards the political party or candidate’s expenditure caps. Different caps apply to different election participants and in an election, significant penalties apply for failure to comply with these laws.

Associated entities are required to fulfill disclosure and periodic reporting obligations.

Recent changes to legislation affecting associated entities:

  • Electoral expenditure incurred by an associated entity is considered to be incurred by the registered political party or candidate it is associated with, therefore is counted against the expenditure cap of the party or candidate.
  • Associated entities are not required to operate a dedicated State campaign bank account. All electoral expenditure incurred by the associated entity must be incurred using the party or candidate’s State campaign bank account
  • Record keeping obligations
  • Audit requirements
  • Election summary returns are required within 15 weeks after the election.

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Receiving gifts and loans (associated entities)

Associated entities have obligations in relation to the disclosure of gifts and loans.

Gifts and loans of $1,000 or more (including cumulative amounts which total $1,000) must be disclosed to the ECQ in a disclosure return. This is done via the Electronic Disclosure System (EDS). The ECQ is required to publish disclosures under the Electoral Act 1992. The disclosure of donations increases the integrity and transparency of the funding of political campaigns in Queensland.

Transitional arrangements

The following is classified as a gift irrespective of being organised prior to the commencement (1 August 2020), if the amount is incurred after the commencement for:

  • the amount of a loan forgiven, or
  • the sponsorship gift or service rendered.

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Incurring electoral expenditure (associated entities)

Any electoral expenditure incurred by an associated entity is taken to be incurred by the electoral participant themselves (i.e. registered political party or candidate). Electoral expenditure incurred by the associated entity must be incurred from the party or candidate’s dedicated State campaign bank account and will count towards the party or candidate’s expenditure cap.

The associated entity must keep detailed records about their electoral expenditure to ensure they can demonstrate to the ECQ when electoral expenditure is incurred. This will also be included towards the expenditure of the political party or candidate with which they are associated.

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Lodging election summary returns (associated entity)

Associated entities must lodge election summary returns for their electoral expenditure within 15 weeks after the election. The election summary return lodged by an associated entity must include a certificate from an auditor.

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Lodging periodic returns (Associated entity)

The agent of a registered political party and financial controller of an associated entity are required to lodge a disclosure return for each six month reporting period. The return must be certified by a qualified auditor and lodged with the ECQ within eight weeks of the end of the reporting period. The return can be lodged via the Electronic Disclosure System (EDS) on the ECQ's website. The return must include:

  • the total amount of gifts or donations received by the party
  • total amount paid by the party
  • the total amount of outstanding debts, incurred by the party, at the end of the reporting period.

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