Caps on Political Donations

Political donations made to political parties, elected members, candidates, groups of candidates and third-party campaigners are subject to specific caps in NSW. The caps apply to local government elections, State elections and other electoral purposes.

Background

In November 2010, the NSW Parliament passed the Election Funding and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2010. This was the first legislation in the NSW Parliament to cap political donations. The Bill came into effect on 1 January 2011 but only for State elections (not local government elections).

On 1 July 2016, new laws came into effect to cap donations for local government elections (the Local Government and Elections Legislation Amendment (Integrity) Bill 2016). This means that the same rules and regulations now apply to caps on political donations for NSW local government elections as they do for State elections.

General Requirements

Political donation caps are adjusted for inflation each financial year – refer to list below.

  • Political donations made by the same donor to the same recipient in a financial year are to be aggregated for the purpose of the donation caps.
  • Political donations made by the same donor to elected members, candidates and groups of candidates endorsed by the same party in a financial year are to be aggregated for the purposes of the donation caps.
  • Donations made by the same donor to the same recipient in a financial year are to be aggregated separately in relation to donations for local government elections and donations for other purposes.
  • Contributions made by a candidate to their own campaign are not political donations and not subject to donation caps.

It is unlawful to accept a donation that exceeds the applicable donation cap (see Unlawful Political Donations).

Adjusted caps on political donations

  • $6,100 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $6,100 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,700 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,700 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,700 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,700 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,900 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,900 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,600 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,600 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,600 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,600 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,800 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,800 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,500 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,500 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,500 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,500 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,000 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,000 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,700 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,700 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,400 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,400 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,400 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,400 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,500 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,500 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,300 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,300 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,300 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,300 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,300 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,300 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,200 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,200 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,200 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,200 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,200 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,200 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,100 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,100 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,100 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,100 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner
  • $5,000 to or for the benefit of a registered political party
  • $5,000 to or for the benefit of a group
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of an unregistered party
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of a candidate
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of an elected member
  • $2,000 to or for the benefit of a third-party campaigner

A party subscription paid to a party is not subject to the caps on political donations, up to the maximum subscription amount.
The maximum subscriptions are:

  • for membership of a party the maximum subscription allowed is $2,000 per member
  • for an affiliation with a party the maximum subscription allowed is:
    • $2,000 if the amount of the subscription is not based on the number of affiliate members, or
    • $2,000 multiplied by the number of affiliate members if the amount of the subscription is based on the number of affiliate members

A party levy paid to a party by an elected member endorsed by the party, is not subject to the cap on political donations.