Infringement letters issued to three third-party campaigners for exceeding the electoral expenditure cap
“Three third-party campaigners: ClubsACT, Trades Hall Building Limited and United Firefighters Union of Australia – ACT Branch, have been issued with an infringement letter for exceeding the electoral expenditure cap during the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly election”, the Acting ACT Electoral Commissioner, Ro Spence, said today.
For the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly election, the expenditure cap amount was $40,000. The expenditure cap applied to third-party campaigners, associated entities and non-party candidate groupings, as well as applying to party groupings who were able to expend $40,000 for each candidate contesting the election on behalf of the party. The capped expenditure period commenced on 1 January 2016 and concluded on polling day, 15 October 2016.
“Following each election, entities are required to report the electoral expenditure they incurred during the capped expenditure period for that election”, Mr Spence said. “Each of the three third-party campaigners correctly submitted their election returns to the Commissioner, reporting their total expenditure”, Mr Spence continued. “ClubsACT reported electoral expenditure of $56,190.20 or $16,190.20 over the expenditure cap. Trades Hall Building Limited expended $41,720.78 or $1,720.78 in excess of the allowable limit. The United Firefighters Union of Australia – ACT Branch, overspent the cap by $697.40, reporting a total expenditure of $40,697.40” Mr Spence stated.
“Following the lodgement of the returns in December 2016, the Electoral Commission undertook a compliance review of all election returns to ensure correct reporting of electoral expenditure and gifts received. Each of the three third-party campaigners were found to have reported their expenditure accurately,” Mr Spence confirmed.
The Electoral Act 1992 provides for a penalty, payable to the Territory, equal to twice the amount by which the electoral expenditure exceeds the expenditure cap.
Each organisation now has 14 days to show cause as to why they should not be liable for the penalty.
The election returns can be inspected on the ACT Electoral Commission’s website or in person at the office of the Electoral Commissioner at:
Ground floor, North Building, 180 London Circuit, Canberra City between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays.