New ACT election campaign finance laws commence on 1 July 2012

Published 29 Jun 2012

"New ACT election campaign finance laws will commence on Sunday 1 July 2012," the ACT Electoral Commissioner, Mr Phil Green said today.

Substantial changes to the laws regulating ACT political donations, expenditure and disclosure were enacted by the ACT Legislative Assembly in May 2012, Mr Green said.

The changes include:

  • A cap on electoral expenditure permitted to be spent on the ACT election campaign between 1 July and polling day on 20 October, limited to $60,000 per candidate, up to a total of 17 candidates per registered political party.
  • A cap on electoral expenditure of $60,000 for third-party campaigners.
  • A cap on donations that parties and candidates can receive for ACT election purposes, limited to $10,000 per donor per financial year.
  • Only individual persons enrolled on the ACT electoral roll are able to make donations to ACT parties and candidates for ACT election purposes.
  • Parties, candidates and associated entities must disclose details of individual gifts totalling $1,000 or more within 7 days of receipt from 1 July up until polling day, and the ACT Electoral Commission must publish details of those gifts on its website as soon as practicable.  Gifts totalling $1,000 or more received outside the election period will need to be disclosed within 30 days of receipt.
  • Annual returns for 2011/2012 showing expenditure, income and debts of political parties, MLAs and associated entities must be given to the ACT Electoral Commissioner by the end of July 2012, and made public by the Commissioner on 3 September 2012.
  • Parties, MLAs, associated entities and candidates may not accept more than a total of $25,000 in small anonymous gifts of $250 or less in a financial year.
  • The level of public funding payable to political parties and candidates has been increased to $2.00 per formal vote, up from around $1.63 per vote.
  • New administrative expenditure funding will be paid to parties with Members in the Legislative Assembly, at the rate of $5,000 per MLA per quarter.

Substantial penalties have also been introduced for failure to comply with the new limits on donations and expenditure.

Further information on the new ACT election campaign finance laws can be viewed on the Commission's website