Changes to ACT Legislative Assembly campaign finance laws commence today 3 March 2015

Published 3 Mar 2015

Changes to ACT Legislative Assembly campaign finance laws came into effect on 3 March 2015, the ACT Electoral Commissioner, Phillip Green said today.

“Major changes to the ACT’s campaign finance laws were passed by the ACT Assembly on 19 February 2015. These changes have now come into effect following official notification on the ACT’s Legislation Register,” Mr Green said.

The changes include:

  • The removal of the $10,000 cap on donations for ACT election purposes;
  • The removal of the restriction on receiving donations for ACT election purposes from organisations and persons not enrolled in the ACT;
  • An increase in election funding for parties and non-party candidates from $2 per vote to $8 per vote at the 2016 ACT Assembly election;
  • A decrease in the electoral expenditure cap to $40,000 per candidate and third party campaigner for an election held in 2016, compared to a $60,000 cap at the 2012 election – the expenditure caps now are:
    • $40,000 per candidate to a maximum of 25 candidates per party (allowing for $1 million total expenditure for a party fielding 25 candidates);
    • $40,000 per non-party MLA or non-party candidate;
    • $40,000 per third party campaigner; and
    • $40,000 per associated entity;
  • Changes to the timing for the regular reporting of gifts so that:
    • In an election year, gifts of $1,000 or more must be declared within 7 days of receipt after 1 July (previously this requirement was due to commence on 1 January in an election year); and
    • At other times, gifts of $1,000 or more must be declared quarterly (before this change, such gifts had to be reported within 30 days of receipt); and
  • An extension to the deadline for submission of annual returns by political participants, so that annual returns must be provided to the Electoral Commissioner no later than 31 August each year, increasing the timeframe by a month.

More detail on the changes made by the Electoral Amendment Act 2015 can be found on the Elections ACT website under funding and disclosure.