State campaign account

What is a State campaign account?

A State campaign account is one or more accounts set up to keep money associated with State elections. It also separates political donations from funds used for administration, operations, Federal elections or other activities.

Part 12 of the Electoral Act 2002 prescribes how the State campaign account must be used.

Who must have a State campaign account?

A recipient must have a State campaign account(s). A recipient is any of the following:

Find more information for recipients

Are there any requirements for setting up a State campaign account?

State campaign accounts must be set up with a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union recognised as an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) listed on the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Recipients may choose to have one or more State campaign accounts. However, the recipient must ensure that funds are

  • transferred into and out of all these accounts in accordance with the funding and disclosure laws outlined in the Act
  • disclosed in the appropriate annual return.

The VEC maintains a record of State campaign accounts established by recipients to meet their requirements under the Act. We ask recipients to provide the account name, the BSB and the account number for each of their State campaign account(s) and to advise us of any future changes to this information. Recipients can do this in writing to the Funding and Disclosure Unit.

Who is responsible for managing the State campaign account(s)?

The agent of the recipient is responsible for establishing and managing the State campaign account(s).

Find out more about agents

What must be paid into the State campaign account?

All political donations in relation to a State election, including small contributions, must be paid into the State campaign account.

All public funding payments (for eligible independent candidates and registered political parties) must also be paid into the State campaign account.

What must not be paid into the State campaign account?

The following must not be paid into a recipient's State campaign account(s):

  • political donations received for Commonwealth electoral purposes
  • administrative expenditure funding payments (for eligible independent elected members and registered political parties).

For registered political parties:

  • annual membership fees to registered political parties
  • an annual affiliation fee paid to the registered political party by an associated entity
  • an annual levy paid to the registered political party by:
    • an elected member
    • staff of the elected member (including an electoral officer)
    • an employee or elected official of the registered political party.
  • administrative expenditure funding payments
  • policy development funding payments.

For associated entities and third-party campaigners:

If an associated entity or third-party campaigner deposits annual membership fees or an annual levy paid by an employee or elected official of the associated entity or third-party campaigner into the State campaign account, these payments are then treated as political donations and may need to be disclosed on VEC Disclosures by both the donor and recipient. For more information on disclosing political donations, visit Information for recipients.

The associated entity or third-party campaigner must let their members or employees know if they will be using membership fees or levies for political expenditure, as this classifies them as political donations.

What must be paid for out of the State campaign account?

Political expenditure must be paid for out of the State Campaign account.

What must not be paid for out of the State campaign account?

The Act does not exclude any payments from being made out of the State campaign account. However, the primary purpose of the State campaign account is to manage money associated with State elections and separate political donations from funds used for administration, operations, Commonwealth elections, or other activities.

Accordingly, electoral expenditure can be paid out of the State Campaign account or another account managed by the recipient.

Summary of the requirements of a State campaign account

 

Paid into the State campaign account(s)

Paid out of State campaign account(s)

Required

  • Political donations
  • Public funding payments
  • Political expenditure

Permitted

  • (associated entities and third-party campaigners only) Annual subscription fees or an annual levy paid by an employee or elected official
  • Electoral expenditure

Not permitted

  • Political donations for Commonwealth purposes
  • Administrative expenditure funding payments
  • (registered political parties only) annual membership fees to registered political parties
  • (registered political parties only) an annual affiliation fee paid to the registered political party by an associated entity
  • (registered political parties only) an annual levy paid to the registered political party by:
    • an elected member
    • staff of the elected member (including an electoral officer)
    • an employee or elected official of the registered political party.
  • (registered political parties only) policy development funding payments.

 

Do political donations have to be paid directly into the recipient's State campaign account?

Ideally, yes, however this is not a requirement. The agent is responsible for ensuring political donations are kept in the State campaign account, but they do not necessarily need to be paid directly into that account. 

What happens if the wrong type of payment is paid into a State campaign account?

For administrative expenditure funding payments, there are penalties if this funding (or part of this funding) is paid or transferred into the State campaign account.

If a registered political party or independent elected member pays administrative expenditure funding into their State campaign account, the registered political party or independent elected member will be liable to pay a penalty of twice the payment. The penalty amount will be recovered as a debt to the State or through withholding the entirety of or a portion of the next administrative expenditure funding payment/s until the amount is recovered.

Other types of payments may be taken to be political donations under the Act. This includes an annual subscription fee or annual levy paid to an associated entity or third-party campaigner. If these annual subscription fees or annual levies are paid into the State campaign account(s), they will be considered a political donation and must be disclosed as required in the appropriate annual return. Similarly, if any amount for Commonwealth electoral purposes is accidentally paid into the State campaign account, it may be considered a political donation under the Act and may need to be disclosed in the appropriate annual return.