Accounts and public funding FAQ

Updated 20 Mar 2015

No. From 3 March 2015, the concepts of ACT election account and federal election account have been removed by the Electoral Amendment Act 2015. This means that political entities are no longer required to quarantine expenditure for ACT elections within a defined ACT election bank account.

Similarly, there is no longer a need to keep a separate federal account for depositing gifts that were not able to be deposited in the ACT election account. Prior to 3 March 2015, ACT political entities were not able to deposit in an ACT election account any gifts from any organisations, or gifts from persons not enrolled in the ACT. There was also a $10,000 cap on donations from any enrolled electors that could be deposited in an ACT election account in a financial year. These restrictions no longer apply from 3 March 2015. Political entities may now receive donations and use them for ACT election purposes from individuals irrespective of their place of residence and from any other entities. In addition, there are no restrictions on the size of donations.

Yes. Restrictions apply in relation to administrative funding payments given to parties and non-party MLAs by the ACT Electoral Commission and in relation to payments received by ACT registered political parties from related parties. There is also a cap on electoral expenditure during the capped expenditure period, which commences on 1 January in an election year and concludes at the end of polling day for the election.

See the following questions for more detail.

Political parties with elected MLAs and non-party MLAs are entitled to receive quarterly administrative funding payments from the ACT Electoral Commission. These payments are intended to help parties and non-party MLAs meet the administrative cost of running their offices and complying with the disclosure requirements of the ACT’s Electoral Act 1992.

These administrative funding payments cannot be used for electoral expenditure in relation to an ACT, federal, state or local government election.

If a party does spend administrative funding on an ACT, federal, state or local government election, an amount equal to twice the amount used will be payable as a penalty to the Territory.

While administrative funding payments do not have to be deposited in a designated account, recipients of funding need to be able to demonstrate administrative funding payments have not been used for electoral expenditure purposes. It is suggested that an easy way to demonstrate this would be to deposit these payments in a dedicated administrative funding account that is not used for any electoral purposes.

Administrative funding payments need to be reported on annual returns by parties and independent MLAs as a receipt.

More information.

A party may not spend more than $10,000 received from a related party on ACT election expenditure in each financial year. (This does not include a payment from a related party to an ACT registered party that is simply passing on public funding paid to the party by an Australian electoral authority.)

For example, if a federal branch related to an ACT registered party made a payment of $15,000 to the ACT registered party in a financial year, the party may only use up to $10,000 of that payment for the purposes of incurring ACT electoral expenditure; the remaining $5,000 must not be used for ACT electoral expenditure in that year. If, in the following financial year, the related federal branch gave the ACT registered party an additional $8,000, the party may spend up to $10,000 of the combined amounts on ACT electoral expenditure in that year. The remaining $3,000 must not be used for ACT electoral expenditure in that year.

Funds to which these restrictions apply may be received in cash or in-kind. For example, if a federal branch of an ACT registered party pays for ACT election advertising for the party, that payment will be considered within the $10,000 cap on payments.

Parties must retain their financial accounts in such a way as to demonstrate to the ACT Electoral Commission that they have not used funds from related parties for ACT election expenditure in excess of the $10,000 cap.

If a party spends more than $10,000 received from a related party on ACT electoral expenditure in a financial year, an amount equal to twice the amount by which the spending exceeds $10,000 will be payable as a penalty to the Territory. (However, if the party returns the amount by which the spending exceeds $10,000 to the related party within 30 days after the amount was spent, no amount is payable to the Territory.)

A payment received from a related party by an ACT registered party needs to be reported in the party’s annual return as a receipt.

There is a cap on electoral expenditure during the capped expenditure period, which commences on 1 January in an election year and concludes at the end of polling day for the election.

More information.

Election funding is provided to registered political parties and non-party candidates that receive at least 4% of the total number of formal first preference votes in an electorate.

In 2016, each group of party candidates and each ungrouped candidate that receives at least 4% of the formal votes in their electorates will be paid $8 per vote (indexed by CPI for future elections), compared to $2 per vote at the 2012 election.

More information.

Election funding payments may be deposited into any account and may be used for any type of expenditure.

Election funding payments need to be reported on annual returns by parties as receipts.