Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on electoral funding and disclosure of political donations and electoral expenditure for State and Local Government election campaigns in NSW.

Agent

If you are a Local Government candidate or group you have to appoint an agent. If you are a State candidate or group and you are not a member of a registered party, you have to appoint an agent.

Yes, every candidate and group is required to have an Official Agent, regardless of whether they receive donations or make expenditure. Local government candidates and groups must appoint an agent. State election candidates and groups that are not members of a registered political party must appoint an agent.

Disclosures

Yes, a disclosure form must be lodged irrespective of whether no political donations were received or made and no electoral expenditure was incurred. Disclosure forms must be lodged by the due date (22 September).

Disclosure forms can be downloaded from the Forms and Publications page on this website. Once completed, the forms can be sent to NSW Electoral Commission by post or fax, or scanned and sent via email. Disclosure forms cannot be submitted online at present.

Yes, you are required to lodge a disclosure form. The amount you contributed to your campaign is shown on your disclosure form as 'Self-Funding'.

If you were an elected member running for re-election, you must lodge two disclosure forms for that period: one elected member disclosure form and one candidate disclosure form. The Official Agent is responsible for completing and lodging the relevant Candidate Disclosure form (FD.693 or FD.678)

You received a letter from the NSW Electoral Commission because a political party, candidate or other person disclosed that they received a donation from you. For more information of what was disclosed, please contact us directly.

You need to lodge your disclosure form as soon as possible. Under NSW laws, if you make a reportable political donation i.e. $1,000 or more, the person who received the donation must provide you with a receipt that includes information about your obligation to disclose the donation to the NSW Electoral Commission.

Refer to your company records to confirm the donation was made by your company. If confirmed, your company must lodge a donor disclosure form with the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC). It is the donation recipient's (i.e. candidate or political party) responsibility to amend what they disclosed to the NSWEC or you can contact the recipient of the donation and request they amend their disclosure form.

All disclosure forms are to be lodged with the NSW Electoral Commission after 30 June of each year. Disclosure forms lodged before this date will be returned.

All pages of a disclosure form must be completed even if a page is not applicable to your situation. A disclosure form is considered invalid if all pages of the form are not included when lodged with the NSW Electoral Commission.

All disclosures are published on this website in November/December of each year.

Political donations

A political donation is a gift made to, or for the benefit of, a political party, elected member, candidate or group of candidates or other person or entity in NSW. Examples of political donations include:

  • money,
  • non-monetary gifts (e.g. sporting memorabilia),
  • providing free or discounted services (e.g. advertising or printing),
  • paying to attend or participate in an election fundraising event or venture (e.g. raffle tickets, crowd-funding websites, auction items, tickets to a dinner, fee to attend a conference),
  • paying a membership fee or affiliation fee to a political party,
  • charging no interest or insufficient interest on a loan to a political party, candidate or group of candidates,
  • a transfer of property (including money) from the NSW branch of a political party to the federal branch or other State or Territory branch of the party, and
  • a transfer of property (including money) between a political party and an associated party (either because of common membership, a collation agreement or otherwise).

A political donation of $1,000 or more made to or for the benefit of the party, elected member, group, candidate or other person or entity. Reportable political donations include multiple donations made by the same donor to the same recipient that add up to $1,000 or more in one financial year.

Yes. Any money donated or paid for the benefit of a political party or candidate is a political donation.

Paying a membership or affiliation fee to a political party is a political donation. If a membership fee along with other donations made by the same person to the same recipient in a financial year are $1,000 or more then the donations (including the membership fee) are reportable political donations and must be disclosed. Party levies paid by a Member of Parliament or local councillor to the party are also political donations.

Receipts are maintained by the political party or the Official Agent of a candidate, group, elected member or third-party campaigner. The NSW Electoral Commission provides political parties, candidates and other donation recipients with a Receipt and Acknowledgement Book that includes 25 receipts. The receipt includes information about the donor's obligation to disclose reportable donations. A receipt must be issued to any donor who makes a reportable donation.

Caps on political donations have been in place for State elections since 2011 and for Local Government elections since 1 July 2016. Details on capped amounts for each financial year are available on this website.

Auditing

Some disclosure forms must be signed by a registered company auditor before they are submitted to the NSWEC. You must provide an audit certificate with your disclosure form if you are any of the following:

  • a political party
  • a Member of Parliament
  • a State election candidate or group
  • a third-party campaigner
  • a local government candidate, group or local councillor who has disclosed more than $2,500 in political donations received, or more than $2,500 in electoral expenditure incurred, or you have made reportable donations to others (except for party membership fees). The auditor is encouraged to follow the following guidelines: Reference Guide for Auditors.

Only registered company auditors can audit a disclosure form. A Registered Officer or Deputy Registered Officer of a registered political party, an elected member, a candidate, an official agent or a party agent is not permitted to audit a disclosure form even if they are also a registered company auditor.

Public funding

Public funding is public (i.e. taxpayer) money that is administered by the NSW Electoral Commission to facilitate State election campaigns and political party activity. Public funding is only available to eligible candidates contesting NSW State elections and to eligible State registered political parties and independent Members of Parliament. Public funding is not available to candidates, local councillors or political parties registered for NSW Local Government elections. More information here.

Yes. The three-member NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) approves all public funding payments before they are made. If the NSWEC considers the party or candidate does not meet the requirements under the legislation or has not complied with certain provisions under the legislation, a payment will not be approved and may be withheld until the party or candidate has met the legal requirements.