Disclosure

General requirements

Political donations and electoral expenditure must be disclosed to the NSWEC after each financial year.

A declaration of disclosures must be made using an NSWEC disclosure form for the relevant year (See Forms).

Disclosures must be made by:

  • political parties
  • elected members
  • candidates and groups
  • third-party campaigners
  • major political donors

A declaration of disclosures must cover a specific disclosure period which is each 12 month period ending 30 June.

Disclosures are to be made to the NSWEC each year between 1 July and 22 September (or between 1 July and 20 October for major political donors).

A declaration of disclosures will only be accepted by the NSWEC if:

  • it covers the full reporting period,
  • it has been signed by the party agent, official agent or political donor (as applicable),
  • the correct form has been used and all sections of the form have been completed,
  • it has been certified by a registered company auditor (unless exempt), and
  • the form (containing all pages) is lodged with the NSWEC

Relevant Disclosure Period

A declaration of disclosures must cover a specific disclosure period which is each 12 month period ending 30 June.

Vouching

Political donations and electoral expenditure included in a declaration of disclosures must be vouched for by providing with the declaration the following (except for major political donors):

  • copies of the accounts or receipts for electoral communication expenditure, and
  • copies of advertising and printed election material, and
  • the receipt and acknowledgement book containing copies of each receipt and acknowledgement slip issued to political donors.

Complete and accurate records must be kept in order to make full and accurate disclosures (See Record Keeping).

Amendments

A declaration of disclosures may be amended by lodging an amended declaration with the NSWEC.

Amended declarations must be made by the party agent, official agent (or their successor) or political donor and must be made using an NSWEC amendment form (See Forms).

Amended declarations must be certified by a registered company auditor (unless exempt).

Political donations and electoral expenditure included in an amended declaration must be vouched for correctly.

Extensions

If a person is unable to lodge a complete declaration of disclosures by the due date they may, before that date, request the NSWEC extend the date for lodging a complete declaration.

The NSWEC can only extend the due date for a person if there is good cause to do so. The due date cannot be extended for longer than 8 weeks after the original due date.

The NSWEC may, as a condition for extending the due date, require a person to lodge the declaration containing disclosures the person is in a position to make.

A request for extension must be made in writing to the NSWEC (See Contact us).

Offences

It is an offence to:

  • fail to lodge a declaration of disclosures,
  • lodge a declaration of disclosures after it is due, or
  • fail to have a declaration of disclosures certified by a registered company auditor (unless this requirement has been waived by the NSWEC).

If a person makes a false statement in a declaration of disclosures or request for extension the person may have committed an offence.

If an elected member, candidate, group of candidates or third-party campaigner gives or withholds information from an official agent causing the agent to make a false statement in a declaration of disclosures the person may have committed an offence.

The NSWEC may issue penalties or prosecute a person who commits an offence in relation to a declaration of disclosures.

How to disclose

Audit requirements
A declaration of disclosures may be required to be certified by a registered company auditor before it is lodged with the NSWEC (except political donors).

Political Party Disclosures
The party agent of a political party is required to lodge a declaration of disclosures with the NSWEC on behalf of the party on an annual basis.

Political parties are required to disclose:

  • political donations made
  • political donations received, and
  • electoral expenditure incurred.

Elected Member Disclosures
The official agent of an elected member is required to lodge a declaration of disclosures with the NSWEC on behalf of the elected member on an annual basis.

Elected members are required to disclose:

  • political donations made
  • political donations received, and
  • electoral expenditure incurred.

Candidate and Group Disclosures
The official agent of a candidate (including a candidate who is a member of a group) and a group of candidates is required to lodge a declaration of disclosures with the NSWEC on behalf of the candidate or group on an annual basis while the candidate or group remains a candidate or group.

Candidates and groups are required to disclose:

  • political donations made
  • political donations received, and
  • electoral expenditure incurred.

Third-party Campaigner Disclosures
The official agent of a third-party campaigner is required to lodge a declaration of disclosures with the NSWEC on behalf of the campaigner on an annual basis.

Third-party campaigners are required to disclose:

  • reportable political donations made
  • political donations received, and
  • electoral communication expenditure incurred in the regulated expenditure period for a State or local government election.

Political Donor Disclosures
A political donor that makes one or more reportable political donations in a financial year is a major political donor. A major political donor is required to lodge a declaration of disclosures with the NSWEC in respect of a financial year where reportable political donations were made.

Major political donors are only required to disclose reportable political donations made during the financial year.

Public Access to Disclosures

The NSWEC publishes disclosures of political donations and electoral expenditure online following the end of a disclosure lodgement period (View Disclosures).

Copies of disclosures are kept by the Electoral Commission for at least 6 years after the period to which they relate and are available for public inspection at the NSWEC's office in Sydney, NSW. Contact us to make an appointment to inspect disclosures.