Overview

If a political party wishes to nominate candidates for an election, the political party must be registered with the ECQ. The Register of Political Parties is made public by the ECQ. Registered political parties must meet specific eligibility criteria and maintain compliance with all legislated obligations under the Electoral Act 1992. ​​Applications to change the register can be found on the Register of Political Parties - Notices page.

For the purposes of dedicated State campaign bank accounts, expenditure caps, and political donation caps, an associated entity is considered part of the registered political party or candidate/s they are associated with.

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Appointing or changing political party agents

Agents play an important role in the electoral system as they are responsible for election funding and disclosure obligations. Political parties must appoint an agent. An agent must be an adult, consent to their appointment and declare their eligibility to act as an agent.  Political parties have 28 days to appoint a new or replacement agent.

Forms:

State campaign bank account (political party)

State campaign bank accounts are required to ensure transparency of financial transactions, including receiving political donations and incurring electoral expenditure. Political parties must notify the ECQ of their State campaign bank account details within five business days of becoming a participant in the State election. Registered political parties must also notify the ECQ of any changes to the details of this account.

All political donations must be deposited into a party’s State campaign account within five business days of receiving the donor statement. There are also restrictions about what other amounts can be placed into a party’s State campaign account.

All electoral expenditure for a State election must be paid for from the party’s State campaign account.

Receiving gifts and loans (registered political party)

Agents of registered political parties have obligations to disclose gifts and loans received by their political party.

Gifts and loans of $1,000 or more, including cumulative amounts that total $1,000 or more from a single donor within a six-month reporting period, must be disclosed to the ECQ, via the Electronic Disclosure System (EDS). Most of the information in a disclosure return is accessible by the public.  

Generally, disclosure returns must be lodged within seven business days of the gift or loan being received. This is known as real-time disclosure. In the last seven days before election day, disclosures of gifts or loans received must be lodged within 24 hours.  

All records must be kept for five years after the day the record is made and are subject to audit procedures and compliance activities conducted by the ECQ. There are substantial penalties for not complying with record keeping responsibilities and obligations.

Note: Queensland law bans political donations from property developers and industry bodies, the majority of whose members are property developers. The ECQ publishes a register of individuals and entities who, following an application made to the ECQ, have been determined not to be prohibited donors. The register and application forms for a determination are available on the ECQ website at Prohibited donors scheme.

Caps on political donations (registered political parties)

Queensland’s electoral laws impose limitations (caps) on the amount or value of political donations which can be made to, or received by, registered political parties or State election candidates.

Not all gifts or loans made to political parties or State election candidates are political donations. Caps only apply to political donations.

A political donation is any gift or loan given to, or for the benefit of, a registered political party or State election candidate, that, within 14 days, is accompanied by a Donor Statement. Gifts or loans not accompanied by a Donor Statement may not be deposited into a State campaign bank account, and cannot be used to incur electoral expenditure for a State election.

Between 1 July 2022 and 25 November 2024, donors must not make political donations of more than $4,000 to the same registered political party.

The caps will be adjusted after the 2024 State general election, and a new cap will apply from 26 November 2024 to 27 November 2028.

A political donation must not exceed the cap either by itself, or when added to other political donations made by the same donor during the same period.

Links to further information:

State general election

Registered political parties may incur electoral expenditure of up to $95,964.09 in each electoral district where they have endorsed a candidate, during the capped expenditure period.

The capped expenditure period for the 2024 State general election starts on Tuesday, 2 April 2024 and ends at 6pm on the polling day for the election.

Any expenditure incurred before the capped expenditure period will still count towards the cap if the associated goods are first used for a campaign purpose during the capped period.

Should a party endorse more than one candidate in an electoral district the $95,964.09 cap amount is divided by the number of candidates endorsed.

Registered political parties must record and disclose all electoral expenditure incurred towards a campaign in an election summary return within 15 weeks after the election. This includes all electoral expenditure whether it was incurred during the capped expenditure period or not.

By-election

Any electoral expenditure incurred by a registered political party will count towards the expenditure cap of that party’s endorsed candidate.

Any expenditure incurred before the capped expenditure period will still count towards the cap if the associated goods are first used for a campaign purpose during the capped period.

Registered political parties must record and disclose all electoral expenditure incurred towards a campaign in an election summary return within 15 weeks after the election. ​This includes all electoral expenditure whether it was incurred during the capped expenditure period or not.

Preselection and endorsement of a candidate (registered political party)

A registered political party may endorse a candidate to contest a State or local government election.

Preselection ballots

Where that endorsement involves a preselection ballot, as defined under part 9 of the Electoral Act 1992, the ECQ must be notified of the endorsement of a candidate within seven days.

Preselection is the process by which a political party chooses an individual to become a candidate endorsed by the party for a particular election. Depending on the rules in the political party’s constitution, a party may conduct a preselection ballot as part, or whole, of the preselection process.

A preselection ballot involves members of the political party voting for their preferred candidate in a ballot, where a party member votes in the ballot in their capacity as a member of the political party, rather than as a member of a discrete committee of the party.

If the selection of a candidate for an election involves a poll of the party members followed by the endorsement of the poll result by a party committee, only the poll constitutes a preselection ballot.

Notification of endorsement

Regardless of how a candidate is endorsed, the party’s registered officer must notify the ECQ of a candidate’s endorsement within seven business days. Similarly, if a party withdraws a candidate’s endorsement or changes their endorsement, the ECQ must be notified within seven business days.

Nomination of candidate (registered political party)

The registered officer of a registered political party is responsible for nominating candidates endorsed by their party. Nominations must be accompanied by a nomination deposit.​

Nominations open after the issue of the writ and close at noon on the day specified in the writ.

Information on how and when to nominate for the election will be published prior to the nomination period.

Electoral advertising (registered political party)


​Registered political parties, their endorsed candidates and associated entities must ensure that they are aware of all regulations relating to:

  • the broadcast and publication of electoral advertising
  • the authorisation of electoral material
  • the display of election signage at polling places, and
  • how-to-vote cards.

Lodging election summary returns (registered political party)​

Disclosure returns ensure that transfers of money used to support election participants in a State election are transparent. ​

In addition to reporting gifts and loans in real-time, a registered political party must lodge election summary returns. The election summary return is a summary of electoral expenditure incurred for an election and must be accompanied by an audit certificate and a bank statement of the party’s State campaign account.

The return must be submitted within 15 weeks after the election.

Lodging periodic returns (registered political party)​

The agent of a registered political party is required to lodge a disclosure return for each six-month reporting period. The return must be lodged within eight weeks of the end of the reporting period. The return can be lodged via the Electronic Disclosure System (EDS). The return must include:

  • the total amount received by the party.
  • total amount paid by the party.
  • the total amount of outstanding debts, incurred by the party, as at the end of the reporting period.
  • a copy of the bank statement for the party’s State campaign account.
  • an audit certificate completed by a qualified auditor.

Links to more information: ​

Claiming election funding (political party)

Agents of registered political parties may claim election funding if any of the party’s endorsed candidates receive 4% of the formal first preference vote. Maximum entitlements are calculated by multiplying the formal first preference votes (for eligible districts) by the relevant election funding amount.

Claims must be lodged with the ECQ within 20 weeks after election day for an election.

Claims for election funding must identify each item of electoral expenditure incurred for the election and include supporting documentation such as invoices, copies of advertisements, receipts, etc.

Registered political parties will only be paid the amount of electoral expenditure claimed (and accepted by the ECQ), or their maximum entitlements, whichever is lower.

Links to further information:

Forms: ​