Australia

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Question Value
1. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to political parties?
2. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates?
3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties?
4. Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates?
5. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties?
6. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates?
7. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to political parties?
8. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates?
9. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties?
10. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates?
11. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with partial government ownership to political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    There is no explicit ban on donations from corporations that are partially government owned.   For example, Telstra made political donations when is was still partially government owned.   Corporations that are former public entities or partially-government owned may choose not to not make explicit donations but pay fees to attend events by political parties.

  • Source

    For example see discussion on Telstra donation:

    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2004-03-10%2F0126;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2004-03-10%2F0000%22

12. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with partial government ownership to candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    There are no explicit bans on donations from corporations that are partially government owned.

  • Source
13. Is there a ban on the use of state resources in favour or against a political party or candidate?
14. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period?
15. If there is a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment
  • Source
16. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election?
17. If there is a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment
  • Source
18. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source

    'Calls to cap the amounts that political parties can spend and receive when campaigning for a federal election are a mainstay of Australian political discourse.' (Source: Jennifer Rayner, More regulated, more level? Assessing the impact of spending and donation caps on Australian State elections, 2016 http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n2109/html/ch06.xhtml?referer=2109&page=13)

19. If there is a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment
  • Source
20. Is there a limit on the amount a candidate can contribute to their own election campaign?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
21. Is there a limit on in-kind donations to political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
22. Is there a limit on in-kind donations to candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
23. Is there a ban on political parties engaging in commercial activities?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source

    'There is little legislative interference in the internal workings of political parties— for example, how parties select their candidates for public and party
    office, how they formulate their policies, structure decision-making procedures and administer the party on a daily basis.'

    'Party registration requirements in Australia are generally quite lax. Although a party must be established on the basis of a written constitution, there are few legislative directives as to what the constitution should actually contain, such as a minimum level of detail for certain intraparty procedures.'

    'Although registered political parties require a formal written constitution under the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, the structure and content of the party constitution are essentially regarded as internal matters for individual political parties to determine. The Act requires only that the aims of the party (one of which must be the endorsement of candidates to contest federal elections) be enumerated, in addition to the terms and conditions of party membership (for example, the procedures for accepting or terminating membership). It is important to note that like the aims of the party, the Act requires only that the terms and conditions of party membership be formally codified in the party’s constitution and does not impose any requirements as to their actual content'.

    Source: Anika Gauja, Dilemmas of party regulation: Hands-on courts versus hands-off legislators? (2016) <http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1rrd7k8.14?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents>.

24. Is there a ban on political parties taking loans in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    "Section 306A of the Act provides that it is unlawful for a political party or a person acting on behalf of a political party to receive a loan of more than the disclosure threshold from a person or entity other than a financial institution unless a record of the loan is kept"  Section 306A(3) sets out the reporting criteria for loans from different entities.  

    There are various funding disclosure laws for loans for each state and territory goverment. 

  • Source

    For Federal elections:

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Funding Disclosure Guide for Political Parties',  6 July 2016http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/financial_disclosure/guides/political-parties/important.htm

    For States and Territories:

    "Election funding and disclosure in Australian states and territories: a quick guide" 9 November 2017, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/library/prspub/5621507/upload_binary/5621507.pdf

25. Is there a ban on candidates taking loans in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
26. Is there a ban on donors to political parties/candidates participating in public tender/procurement processes?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source
27. Are there provisions requiring donations to go through the banking system?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    There are no specific provisions that donations must go through the banking system.  However, to complete registration as a political party there must be a party bank account and  financial returns of political parties for donations received should be substantiated with bank account statements and record keeping.  Different regulations apply for state and territory governments some regulations require a specific campaign account to receive electoral donations.  This does not apply to federal election campaigns.

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Obligations of Registered Political Parties'

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/party_registration/guide/obligations.htm

    'Election funding in Australian States and Territories', Dr. D. Muller, 9 November 2017

    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/library/prspub/5621507/upload_binary/5621507.pdf

Question Value
28. Are there provisions for direct public funding to political parties?
  • CodeYes, in relation to campaigns
  • Comment

    Political parties that are registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) and their state branches and candidates that obtain at least four per cent of the formal first preference vote are eligible to receive public funding.  Division 3 of Part XX of the Act denotes qualification for funding; Sections 294(1) and (2) of the Act specify amounts.

     

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, Election Funding Guide

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/public_funding/files/election-funding-guide.pdf

29. What are the eligibility criteria for political parties to receive public funding?
  • CodeShare of votes in previous election
  • Comment

    To be eligible for public funding a political party needs to be registered with the Australian Electoral Commission under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.  A candidate or Senate group is eligible for election funding if they obtain at least 4% of the formal first preference vote in the division or the state or territory they contested.

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, Election Funding

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/public_funding/index.htm

30. What is the allocation calculation for political parties to receive public funding?
  • CodeFlat rate by votes received
  • Comment

    The amount to be paid is calculated by multiplying the number of votes obtained by the current election funding rate. This rate is indexed every six months to increases in the Consumer Price Index.  The Commonwealth Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 1983 introduced public funding for campaigns.  Parties and candidates were required to file election returns making a claim for payment.  The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 1995 removed the obligation for electoral returns thus removing the link between funding and reimbursement. 

  • Source

    Electoral and Political Financing: the Commonwealth Regime and its reforms, 20 March 2012.

    https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/ElectoralFinancing

31. What are the provisions on 'ear marking' direct public funding to political parties (how it should be used)?
  • CodeCampaign spending
  • Comment
  • Source

    BLANK

32. Are there provisions for free or subsidized access to media for political parties?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    There is provision for free air time presentations by for the two main parties on the publicly-funded broadcaster.

  • Source
33. What criteria determine allocation for free or subsidized access to media for political parties?
  • CodeOther
  • Comment

    "Under Section 79A of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, the ABC may determine to what extent and in what manner it will broadcast political matter.  The Government and the official Opposition in an outgoing Federal, State or Territory Parliament or Assembly are granted equal time by the ABC for election broadcasts within the relevant jurisdiction during election campaigns. When political parties are in coalition, either as a Government or as the official Opposition, the ABC will provide an equal allocation of time to the Government and to the official Opposition, leaving it to the parties which are in coalition to divide the time between them as they see fit."  The ABC Board also determines criteria for 'eligible minor parties' to access 'free election broadcast time'.  This is not subsidised.

  • Source

    ALLOCATION OF FREE BROADCAST TIME TO POLITICAL PARTIES DURING ELECTION PERIODS: Statement of policy approved by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Board

    http://about.abc.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/FreeTimeElectionBroadcastsPolicySep2014POL.pdf

34. Are there provisions for free or subsidized access to media for candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

35. Are there provisions for any other form of indirect public funding?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Political gifts and contributions can be made in a personal capacity (to be tax deductible) to political parties, independent candidates and members up to a A$1,500 cap respectively ie. total deduction of A$3,000.

  • Source

    Australian Tax Office, Claiming Political Contributions and Gifts

    https://www.ato.gov.au/Non-profit/Gifts-and-fundraising/In-detail/Fundraising/Claiming-political-contributions-and-gifts/

     

36. Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties tied to gender equality among candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source

    BLANK

37. Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source

Question Value
38. Is there a ban on vote buying?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    There is a prohibition against 'electoral bribery' implicit in S.326  that has been given scope by interpretation through various State Supreme Court cases. "Section 326 of the Act provides that a person cannot ask for, receive or obtain, or give or confer, any property or benefit with the intention of influencing the vote or candidature of a person at a federal election. The electoral bribery offence does not apply to declarations of public policy or promises of public action...The findings in these [court] cases suggest that s. 326 of the Act is directed at the giving or conferring or promising to a person of any property or benefit, by a candidate, with the direct intention of influencing or affecting the way a person votes by generating feelings of gratitude or obligation."

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Electoral Backgrounder: Influencing Votes' 8 April, 2010

    http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/backgrounders/influencing-votes.htm

39. Are there limits on the amount a political party can spend?
40. If there are limits on the amount a political party can spend, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment
  • Source
41. Are there limits on the amount a candidate can spend?
42. If there are limits on the amount a candidate can spend, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment
  • Source
43. Are there limits on the amount that third parties can spend on election campaign activities?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
44. Are there limits on traditional media advertising spending in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
45. Are there limits on online media advertising spending in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source
46. Do any other restrictions on online media advertisement (beyond limits) exist?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment
  • Source

Question Value
47. Do political parties have to report regularly on their finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Political parties have to submit annual returns.

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission

    www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives

48. Do political parties have to report on their election campaign finances?
49. Do candidates have to report on their election campaign finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Candidates have to lodge election disclosures 15 weeks after polling day outlining details of donations received, number of donors and details of expenditures

  • Source

    Sect. 304 and 309 of the Electoral Act

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Financial Disclosure Guide for Candidates and Senate Groups, 2016 Federal Election

50. Do third parties have to report on election campaign finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Third Parties are required to lodge a 'Third Party Return of Electoral Expenditure Disclosure Return' on 17 November annually for expenditure over the disclosure threshold; there are 5 categories of expenditure.

  • Source

    Sections 314AEB and 314AEC  of the Electoral Act

51. Is information in reports from political parties and/or candidates to be made public?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment
  • Source

    The Commonwealth funding and disclosure scheme (the disclosure scheme) established under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) deals with the public funding of federal election campaigns and the disclosure of detailed financial information.

    The disclosure scheme requires candidates, registered political parties, their State Branches, local branches/sub-party units and their associated entities, donors and other participants in the electoral process to lodge annual or election period financial disclosure returns with the AEC (Source AEC: http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/financial_disclosure/)

52. Must reports from political parties and/or candidates reveal the identity of donors?
  • CodeSometimes
  • Comment

    Reporting threshold is $13,500 in 2017/2018.

  • Source

    Disclosure of certain information (e.g. details of gifts and donations) is subject to a minimum threshold below which disclosure is not required.

    The financial disclosure scheme was amended with effect from 8 December 2005 to increase the threshold to 'more than $10 000'. This amount is indexed with effect from 1 July each year based on increases in the consumer price index.

    The disclosure threshold amount that will apply from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 is more than $13,500

    Source: AEC, http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/public_funding/threshold.htm

53. Must reports from political parties and/or candidates include information on itemized income?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Disclosures reveal details of donors who have contributed above the threshold amount (2017: $13,500).

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Financial Disclosure Guide for Political Parties' http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/financial_disclosure/guides/political-parties/files/political-parties-2016-17.pdf

     

54. Must reports from political parties and/or candidates include information on itemized spending?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Political Parties do not need to itemise expenditure and only provide total amount of payments.  Candidates and Senate Groups are required to provide six categories of information on expenditure.  

  • Source

    Sect. 308(1) of the Act lists categories of election expenditure; Section 309(2) requires all expenditure authorised by candidate be disclosed; Sect. 309(3) requires all expenditure authorised by Senate Group to be disclosed.

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Financial Disclosure Guide for Candidates and Senate Groups' 2016 Federal Election

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/financial_disclosure/guides/candidates/files/candidates-and-senate-groups-guide-2016.pdf

55. Which institution(s) receives financial reports from political parties and/or candidates?
  • CodeEMB
  • Comment

    The Australian Electoral Commission

  • Source

    The Commonwealth funding and disclosure scheme (the disclosure scheme) established under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) deals with the public funding of federal election campaigns and the disclosure of detailed financial information.

    The disclosure scheme requires candidates, registered political parties, their State Branches, local branches/sub-party units and their associated entities, donors and other participants in the electoral process to lodge annual or election period financial disclosure returns with the AEC.

    Source: AEC, http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/financial_disclosure/index.htm

56. Which institution(s) is responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations?
  • CodeEMB
  • Comment

    The AEC has been given authority to undertake investigations concerning compliance with the disclosure obligations contained in Part XX of the Electoral Act.  Section 316(2A) of the Electoral Act provides an authorised officer with the authority to find out whether a prescribed person, the agent of a political party, or the financial controller of an associated entity has complied with their obligations under Part XX of the Electoral Act.

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Financial Disclosure Compliance Framework' July 2017, p. 6

57. What power is granted to the institution(s) responsible for examining reports and/or investigating violations?
58. What sanctions are provided for political finance infractions?
  • CodeFines | Prison
  • Comment

    Sections 315 and 316 of the Electoral Act set out the offences and the relevant penalties that relate to Part XX of the Electoral Act.  Fines are incurred for serious violations, while providing false or misleading information can incure a prison sentence of 6 months.

  • Source

    Australian Electoral Commission, 'Financial Disclosure Compliance Framework' July 2017, pp.14, 16

Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA. Maps are used in order to add visual clarity to data.