Who is a recipient?
The laws apply to a person or an organisation that receives a political donation, being:
- a registered political party
- a candidate at an election
- a group of Legislative Council candidates
- an elected member
- an associated entity
- a third party campaigner
- a nominated entity of a registered political party.
Donations to an associated entity or a third party campaigner are only considered political donations when they will be used to help make a political donation, or promote or oppose a candidate or registered political party at an election.
What is an associated entity?
Associated entities are organisations that fit at least one of the following criteria:
- they are controlled by one or more registered political parties
- they operate wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit of one or more registered political parties
- they are a financial member of a registered political party
- they are a financial member of a registered political party via another person
- they have voting rights in a registered political party
- they have voting rights in a registered political party via another person.
What are third-party campaigners?
Third party campaigners are people or organisations that receive political donations or incur political expenditure of more than the general donation cap each financial year.
What is a nominated entity?
A nominated entity is an incorporated body that operates for the benefit of the party, but does not have voting rights in it.
A nominated entity must be appointed by the party, which also must provide the VEC with written confirmation of the appointment.
A registered political party can only have one nominated entity.
See a full list of Registered nominated entities.
What is political expenditure?
Political expenditure is any expenditure for the main purpose of directing how a person should vote at an election by promoting or opposing a candidate, elected member or registered political party.
For associated entities and third party campaigners, this expenditure occurs:
- during the election campaigning period (for a general State election from 1 October to 6.00 pm on election day, for any other election from the day the writ is issued to 6.00 pm on election day), or
- outside the election campaigning period when material published, aired or issued refers to both a candidate or registered political party and how a person should vote.
Are there penalties for receiving a donation not allowed by the laws?
If a recipient accepts a political donation not allowed by the laws, it must be forfeited to the State. This includes donations above the general cap, foreign donations, anonymous donations of equal to or more than the disclosure threshold, and donations from a donor to more than six third-party campaigners.
If a recipient knowingly receives a foreign donation, an anonymous donation of equal or more value than the disclosure threshold, or a donation above the general cap, they may be fined, imprisoned or both.
The fine for this offence is 300 penalty units (more than $49,000). The imprisonment term is up to two years.
It is also an offence to enter into or carry out a scheme with the aim of avoiding a ban or requirement under the funding and disclosure provisions of the Electoral Act 2002. For example, setting up a regular, small value payment to try to characterise it as a small contribution, when in total it would add up to more than the disclosure threshold over a period of time.
The penalty for this offence is up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
When do I have to disclose donations I receive?
You must disclose any political donations equal to or more than the disclosure threshold via VEC Disclosures within 21 days of receiving the donation.
Recipients are also required to disclose the aggregate of donations received during the financial year in a report known as an ‘annual return’.
Is a ticket to attend a fundraising event organised by a political party or candidate, considered a political donation?
The portion of the ticket that is profit after covering the cost of the function is considered a donation. For example, if a table of 10 to a fundraising event costs $2,040, but the cost of the function (e.g. catering, staff, venue hire) was $1,020 per table, only $1,020 of that ticket is considered a political donation.
It is the responsibility of the organiser of the fundraiser to inform attendees of the donation versus cost split. Donors and recipients may need to disclose the donation via this website.