Guidelines issued by the NSW Electoral Commission under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981
The NSWEC may, from time to time, determine and issue guidelines, not inconsistent with the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 or the regulations, for or with respect to any matters dealt with in the Act; see section 24(1).
|Guideline||Date of Determination||Section of Act|
(i) a voter intention survey is carried out on behalf of a candidate, and
(ii) no charge is made for the survey,
the value of the survey should be declared as a political donation, except to the extent that the value arises from the provision of volunteer labour directly to the candidate or any party of which the candidate is a member.
2. If a candidate uses a vehicle not owned by him or her during an election campaign, the value of the use of the vehicle should be shown as a political donation, unless a payment is made by the candidate for the use of the vehicle which adequately reflects the commercial value of the use of the vehicle.
4. Forms approved by the NSW Electoral Commission pursuant to the EFEDA must be used by political parties, elected members, candidates, groups, third-party campaigners and political donors. These forms include:
- applications of registration of candidates
- applications of registration of groups
- applications of registration of third-party campaigners
- notices of appointment and revocation of the appointment of party agents
- notices of appointment and revocation of the appointment of official agents
- claims for payment from the Election Campaigns Fund
- declarations of disclosures
6. With respect to administrative or policy development expenditure of an eligible party or elected member, the rate of remuneration for staff (being the proportion of remuneration that relates to the time spent engaged in administrative or policy development activities outlined in sections 97B(1)(a)(i-v) and 97C(1)(a)(i-iv) of the EFED Act respectively) may only be included in a claim from the Administrative or Policy Development Fund where the remuneration is reasonable in all the circumstances, including but not limited to, the qualifications and skills necessary to the relevant activities.
7. With respect to administrative expenditure of an eligible party or elected member, the remuneration of a driver of a Member of Parliament (being the proportion of the remuneration that relates to the time spent engaged in administrative activities outlined in section 97B (1)(a)(i)-v) of the Act) is not administrative expenditure for the purposes of making a claim from the Administration Fund.
8. Where a referendum is being conducted concurrently with a general election, expenditure incurred by a candidate or party, in advising the electorate how to vote in the referendum is not electoral communication expenditure of the candidate or party.
9. Expenditure incurred for the following purposes are not electoral communication expenditure:
(a) Where a candidate suffers a loss of pay caused by his attendance at campaign activities, that loss of pay is not electoral communication expenditure,
(b) Expenditure incurred for a celebration or social function after the close of the poll,
(c) A deposit paid by a candidate when lodging his or her nomination for election,
(d) Purchase of flowers and other gifts to office staff,
(e) Parking fines imposed on candidates during their election campaign,
(f) Amounts paid for annual subscription to newspapers or magazines,
(g) Annual motor vehicle registration and insurance fees in respect of a vehicle owned by a candidate,
(h) Telephone accounts for candidates private telephone outside the capped expenditure period,
(i) Fees paid by a candidate to scrutineers for services at the count after polling day,
(j) Non-promotional clothing purchased to be worn by candidate in his or her campaign,
(k) Candidates' personal services such as hairdressing expenses,
(l) Payments made for child care,
(m) Expenses incurred by a candidate or his campaign director in attending party seminars 'Meet the Leader' functions etc.,
(n) Any amount specified in a contract or agreement whereby a payment is contingent upon receipt of funding under the EFED Act.
11. With respect to payments made by a candidate, group or elected member for electoral expenditure for their own election or re-election, minor payments (being payments for items of electoral expenditure of $50 or less) not exceeding a total of $1,000 in any election period may be made external to that candidate's, group's, or elected member's campaign account. Such payments must, however, be recorded in the petty cash book maintained in respect to the candidate, group or elected member.
12. In some circumstances a commercial discount, sales promotion or rebate made to or for the benefit of a political entity could be a political donation, and require disclosure in a declaration.
Where a discount, promotion or rebate is a political donation, all legislative provisions with respect to political donations apply.
15. In some circumstances, if a political entity owns or operates a publication and sells advertising space in that publication, and an advertiser pays more than the lowest usual market price for a piece of advertising space that the advertiser buys, the excess of the amount paid over the lowest usual market price of that piece of advertising space may constitute a political donation.
18. The recommended method for quantifying expenditure on travel for candidates and their staff engaged in electoral campaigning, (assuming that expenditure is incurred for the dominant purpose of electoral campaigning) candidates or their staff who use their own vehicle for electoral campaigning may claim expenses based on business kilometres travelled.
Business kilometres are kilometres travelled in a candidate's or staff member's own car in the course of electoral campaigning.
A candidate may make use of a log book to establish and show the number of business kilometres travelled.
A candidate may utilise the cents per kilometre method as set out by the Australian Tax Office in their D 1 Work-related car expenses policy.
Policy to be reviewed on a calendar year basis.
19. The recommended method for quantifying expenditure on travel for the purposes of sections 97B(1)(a)(vii) and 97C(1)(a)(vi) of the Act, for administrative or policy development expenditure of an eligible party or elected member, is on the basis of business kilometres travelled. Business kilometres are kilometres travelled using a vehicle acquired by the party or elected member for the purposes of the policy development, administration or operation of the party or elected member (as the case requires).
A party or elected member may make use of a log book to establish and show the number of business kilometres travelled.
A party or elected member may utilise the cents per kilometre method as set out by the Australian Tax Office in their D1 Work-related car expenses policy.
Policy to be reviewed on a calendar year basis.
20. This guideline outlines the recommended method for quantifying the value of an indirect campaign contribution by way of electoral expenditure for advertising, as defined in section 96E(1)(b) and (c) of the EFED Act, that is shared between more than one party, elected member, candidate or group of candidates ("recipients ").
The electoral expenditure incurred, or to be incurred by each recipient, is equal to the amount paid, or to be paid, by each recipient for the advertising. The amount of electoral expenditure incurred by a recipient is to be disclosed to the NSW Electoral Commission in the recipient's annual declaration of disclosures as electoral expenditure, and any amounts paid on behalf of another recipient are to be disclosed as political donations.
An indirect campaign contribution includes the following situation where electoral expenditure for advertising is incurred, or is to be incurred, by more than one recipient, and the advertising is authorised by those recipients:
- an indirect campaign contribution has been made to a recipient if the electoral expenditure incurred, or to be incurred by the recipient, is less than the recipient's share of the total cost of the advertising as divided equally between all recipients; and
- the person who made the indirect campaign contribution is to disclose the value of the indirect campaign contribution as a political donation made to the recipient; and
- if the recipient has accepted the indirect campaign contribution the recipient must disclose the indirect campaign contribution as a political donation received.
The value of the indirect campaign contribution/s made by that person in a financial year cannot exceed $1,000. The indirect campaign contribution cannot be accepted if the value of the contribution exceeds $1,000.
If a party, elected member, group or candidate benefiting from an advertisement has not authorised the advertisement, that party, elected member, group or candidate has not incurred electoral expenditure or accepted an indirect campaign contribution.
21. This guideline applies to the provision of volunteer labour and the ancillary use of vehicles or equipment of volunteers for a party, elected member, candidate or group of candidates benefit.
An indirect campaign contribution, as defined by section 96E of the Act, does not include the provision of volunteer labour or the ancillary use of vehicles or equipment of volunteers for a party, elected member, candidate or group of candidates for an election campaign. Accordingly, if a volunteer provides labour, vehicles or other equipment that are necessary for the election campaign of a party, elected member, candidate or group of candidates no indirect campaign contribution has been made by the volunteer.
A volunteer is a person who provides labour to a party, elected member, candidate or group of candidates for no payment, or payment less than the market value.
A volunteer does not include a person whose labour consists of providing products or services that the person supplies as a function of his/her profession or trade, or would otherwise be paid for in the ordinary course of their employment. For example, if a person is a sign writer and provides free sign writing services to a party for inadequate or no payment, the person is not a volunteer. The provision of those services is a political donation.
The ancillary use of a vehicle or equipment of volunteers may include but is not limited to:
- the use of a vehicle to deliver or distribute electoral material;
- the use of a vehicle to transport staff or volunteers engaged in an election campaign;
- the use of a vehicle to attend fundraising ventures or functions for an election campaign;
- the use of a vehicle to meet with other candidates or party representatives for an election campaign;
- the use of a vehicle to meet with constituents as part of an election campaign;
- the use of a vehicle to meet with suppliers of election material, advertising or other services; and
- the use of computers, telephones, photocopiers, printers, fax machines and other office equipment during an election campaign.
22. A political donation includes any uncharged interest on a loan. Uncharged interest is the additional amount that would have been payable if:
a) the loan had been made on terms requiring the payment of interest at the generally prevailing interest rate for a loan of that kind; and
b) any interest payable had not been waived; and
c) any interest payments were not capitalised.
As a guide the generally prevailing interest rate for a loan of that kind is as follows:
1) From 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013 the rate is based on the cash rate of the Reserve Bank which was set at 5% per annum.
2) From 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 the rate is based on the cash rate of the Reserve Bank which was set at 5% per annum.
3) From 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 the rate is 7.1% p.a. for secured loans and 14.1% p.a. for unsecured loans.
4) From 1 January 2016 the rate is 6.6% p.a. for secured loans and 14.1% p.a. for unsecured loans, to be reviewed periodically.
A 'secured loan' would generally be secured by a mortgage or charge of real estate the value of which, after deducting the amount of any other mortgages or charges over the property, exceeds 125% of the amount of the loan.
23. The disclosure of the amount of a political donation or amount of electoral expenditure in a declaration of disclosures made in accordance with section 91 of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 is to include the disclosure of the GST component of the donation or expenditure.
24. The applicable cap on political donations, as provided for in Division 2A of Part 6 of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981, applies to the GST inclusive amount of a political donation.
In the case of a State election, the applicable cap on electoral communication expenditure incurred in the capped expenditure period, as provided for in Division 2B of Part 6 of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981, applies to the GST inclusive amount of electoral communication expenditure.
25. Where a claim for payment is made from the Election Campaigns Fund (in accordance with Division 3 of Part 5 of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981), the Administration Fund or the Policy Development Fund (in accordance with Division 4 of Part 6A of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981), the GST component of expenditure is only to be included in the claim if the claimant considers it is not entitled to a tax credit for these expenditures.
The Electoral Commission will only reimburse the GST component of expenditure where the claimant is not entitled to a tax credit.
Where a tax credit is received from the ATO for expenditure that was paid out of the State Campaign Account of a party, the tax credit may be deposited into that account.