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 PDF (0.53 MB) 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. If the registered officer of a political party fails to comply with these requirements, the party’s registration may be cancelled. ​​

An associated entity of a registered political party is an entity controlled by, or operates wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit or dominant purpose of a registered political party,  or two or more candidates endorsed by the same registered political party.

Under recent amendments to the Electoral Act 1992, there are new requirements relating to the operation of associated entities of registered political parties and candidates. For the purposes of dedicated State campaign bank accounts and expenditure caps, an associated entity is considered part of the registered political party or candidate/s they support.   

Recent changes to legislation affecting registered political parties:

  • requirement for the registered political party to operate a dedicated State campaign bank account
  • requirement for endorsed candidates to also operate a dedicated State campaign bank account
  • new processes to endorse, or withdraw endorsement of, candidates
  • caps on electoral expenditure
  • increased record keeping obligations
  • new rules for how associated entities operate
  • recovery of amounts that exceed expenditure caps as a debt to the State
  • restrictions on the display of election signage at polling places
  • donation caps to be introduced on 1 July 2022
  • increased election funding for registered political parties and candidates from 2022
  • gifts and loans must be disclosed within 24 hours in the last week before election

Handbook 3 - Election and Disclosure Obligations for Registered Political Parties and Associated Entities for State elections
PDF (0.61 MB)

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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 and this is recorded on the ECQ’s register of agents. 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.

Transitional arrangements 2020:

Any agent will remain current if they have been appointed for a registered political party or candidate prior to 1 August 2020, the commencement of the new amendments to the Electoral Act 1992.

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Notification of State campaign bank account (political party)

State campaign bank accounts are required to ensure transparency of financial matters, including incurring electoral expenditure.  Political parties must use the correct form to notify the ECQ of their State campaign bank account details within five business days of becoming a participant in the State election. Political parties must also notify the ECQ of any changes to the details of this account.

Transitional arrangements 2020:The agent of a participant in the 2020 State election has 14 days to notify the ECQ the details of the State campaign bank account of the participant from the commencement of the new legislation on 1 August 2020.

Receiving gifts and loans (registered political party)

Registered political parties and associated entities have obligations in relation to the disclosure of gifts and loans.   ​ 

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

Registered political parties receiving gifts that cumulatively reach the threshold of $1,000 or more from one donor, must lodge a real-time disclosure return (i.e. within 7 business days).​ In the last 7 days before election day, disclosures of gifts received must be lodged within 24 hours.  

All records must be kept for five years after the day that 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 with property developers as a majority of their members.  The ECQ publishes a register of individuals and entities who, following an application, have been determined to be non-prohibited donors through a formal determination process. The register and application forms for a determination are available on the ECQ website at Prohibited donors scheme.

Note: Caps (limits) on political donations made to candidates, registered political parties, third parties and donors during the donation cap period for an election will commence on 1 July 2022. Penalties will apply for any gifts, loans and political donations that do not comply with the caps after that date.

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Incurring electoral expenditure (registered political party)

Registered political parties can incur electoral expenditure up to:

  • $92,000 in each electoral district where they have endorsed a candidate, during the capped expenditure period.
  • For the 2020 State general election, the capped expenditure period commences on 1 August and runs until 6pm on 31 October 2020.

Should a party endorse more than one candidate in an electoral district the $92,000 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 lodged with the ECQ within 15 weeks after the election. ​This includes all electoral expenditure whether it was incurred during the capped expenditure period or not.  If the cap is exceeded, the ECQ may recover twice the amount of expenditure exceeded as a debt to the State.

Transitional arrangements for 2020 State general elections:Electoral expenditure that is incurred to obtain goods that are first used for a campaign purpose during the 2020 State general election capped expenditure period is not counted towards an election participant's cap if a contract for supply of the goods was entered into before 17 June 2020.

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Preselection and endorsement of a candidate (registered political party)

A registered political party may endorse a candidate to contest an election in an electoral district.

Where that preselection involves a preselection ballot, as defined under part 9 of the Electoral Act, the ECQ must be notified of the endorsement of a candidate within 7 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. A party member will vote 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. Where there are doubts about whether a particular preselection process involves a preselection ballot as defined by the Electoral Act, a representative of the political party should contact the ECQ for clarification.

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.

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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 provide transparency for the movement of money used to support election participants in a State election. ​

In addition to the previously mentioned reporting of gifts and loans in real-time, election summary returns, are required. The election summary return is a summary of electoral expenditure incurred for the purposes of an election and must include an audit certificate and a bank statement of the party’s state campaign account. This must be submitted within 15 weeks of the election.  

Summary returns must include the electoral expenditure of the associated entity for the political party as they are considered part of the political party’s expenditure for calculations towards the cap. ​

Lodging periodic returns (registered political party)​

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 Electoral Commission of Queensland (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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Claiming election funding (political party)

Registered political parties may be able to claim election funding for an electoral district if they receive 6% of the formal first preference vote. Maximum entitlements are calculated as formal first preference votes multiplied by the relevant election funding amount, with consideration given to expenditure.​

Changes to the amount of election funding that registered political parties and candidates can claim will change from 2022.

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Forms: ​