Summary of recommendations

Updated: 14 November 2011

RECOMMENDATION 1

The Act be amended to allow the AEC to withhold payment of election funding if a registered political party or candidate specifically indicates that they do not wish to receive election funding.

RECOMMENDATION 2

The Act be amended to include provision for the payment of election funding to eligible unendorsed candidates and Senate groups into an Australian bank account held in the name of the candidate or, in the case of a Senate group, the candidate whose name is listed first on the ballot paper, by direct deposit.

RECOMMENDATION 3

The Act be amended to reduce the four separate provisions to a single provision that meets the requirements of all parties in order to rationalise and simplify provisions for payment of public funding to political parties.

RECOMMENDATION 4

The Act be amended to ensure the payment of election funding entitlements for eligible candidates and Senate groups can be made to the party whether or not the party is organised on the basis of a particular state or territory.

RECOMMENDATION 5

In the event of electoral reform increasing the frequency of periodic reporting, reducing the disclosure threshold and reducing the timeframe for political parties to lodge periodic returns, and for the AEC to make them publicly available, the Act be amended to require political parties and associated entities to lodge disclosure returns electronically.

RECOMMENDATION 6

Division 6 of Part XX of the Act be amended to insert definitions for 'formal error' and 'formal defect' with guidance from Parliamentary Counsel on appropriate wording.

RECOMMENDATION 7

The Act be amended to include total monies received at fundraising events in the definition of 'gift' for disclosure purposes.

RECOMMENDATION 8

The Act be amended to include 'financial guarantees' in the definition of 'gift'.

RECOMMENDATION 9

The Act be amended to clarify that receipts should not be "netted off" for disclosure purposes.

RECOMMENDATION 10

Subsection 292(2) of the Act be amended to automatically revoke the appointment of a party agent when a new party agent is appointed.

RECOMMENDATION 11

Subsection 290(2) of the Act be amended to remove reference to 'a particular election'.

RECOMMENDATION 12

The Act be amended to introduce administrative penalties to support compliance with the provisions of the disclosure scheme based on objective tests, for example late lodgement.

RECOMMENDATION 13

The Act be amended to provide a penalty similar to the penalty for failure to furnish a return provided under s.315 of the Act, for individuals that do not cooperate with a notice issued under s.318(1) requesting information required to complete a return.

RECOMMENDATION 14

Section 317 of the Act be amended to recognise periodic disclosures.

RECOMMENDATION 15

The Act be amended to provide a penalty for a person who fails to make records to enable complete and accurate disclosure.

RECOMMENDATION 16

Section 320 of the Act be amended to reflect the ability to publish returns on the internet and include a requirement to retain copies of claims and returns for a period of at least 10 years.

RECOMMENDATION 17

The Act be amended to include a provision that requires political parties to provide to the AEC details of their known associated entities, including a penalty for failure to comply.

RECOMMENDATION 18

The Act be amended to formalise the requirement for political parties and associated entities to distinguish between donations which go to benefit a registered political party and all other receipts on disclosure returns.

RECOMMENDATION 19

The Act be amended to impose an obligation on inactive associated entities to lodge a disclosure return until such time as they lodge a final disclosure return with the AEC after cessation of their association.

RECOMMENDATION 20

The Act be amended to clarify the definition of 'Associated Entity' by extending the definitions of:

  • 'controlled' – define as the right of a party to appoint a majority of directors, trustees or office bearers,
  • 'to a significant extent' – define as the receipt by a political party of more than 50% of the distributed funds, entitlements or benefits enjoyed and/or services provided by the associated entity in a financial year, and
  • 'benefit' – define as the receipt of favourable, non-commercial arrangements where the party or its members ultimately receives the benefit.

RECOMMENDATION 21

Subsection 314AEB(1)(a)(ii) of the Act be deleted.

RECOMMENDATION 22

The Act be amended to delete ss.314AEB(1)(a)(v).

RECOMMENDATION 23

The Act be amended to allow for the appointment of Senate group agents to be lodged at the state or territory office of the AEC in which the Senate group is standing for election.

RECOMMENDATION 24

The Act be amended to allow for the appointment of candidate agents to be lodged at the state or territory office, or the divisional office, where the candidate nomination was lodged.

RECOMMENDATION 25

The Act be amended to deem the party agent of an endorsed candidate to be the candidate agent unless a different agent is appointed by that candidate.

RECOMMENDATION 26

Nomination forms described at s.166 and in Schedule 1 of the Act be amended to include the ability to appoint candidate and Senate group agents.

RECOMMENDATION 27

The Act be amended to increase penalties for failure to comply with a s.316 notice, with an equivalent to the accumulating penalty for each day that compliance remains outstanding.

RECOMMENDATION 28

The Act be amended to provide for the adoption of a prescribed model political party constitution, all the elements of which would need to be included in the mandatory constitution currently required under s.123 of the Act.

RECOMMENDATION 29

Subsection 123(3) of the Act be amended to change the requirement for registration of a political party from having 500 members 'entitled to enrolment under this Act' to having 500 members 'entitled to vote in General elections'.

RECOMMENDATION 30

The Act be amended to require political parties to provide the residential address and date of birth details of members.

RECOMMENDATION 31

The Act be amended to expand requirements for membership so that a member being used to support a party's registration must have:

  1. been formally accepted as a member according to the party's written rules,
  2. joined the party or renewed their membership within the previous 12 months prior to a list of members being lodged with the AEC, and
  3. paid a minimum annual membership fee in the last 12 months.

RECOMMENDATION 32

The Act be amended to include failure to lodge, and continued failure to lodge, by a political party by the due date for returns as grounds for forfeiture of party registration.

RECOMMENDATION 33

The Act be amended to limit the registration of political parties to one registration for each party. That is, no separate registrations for additional state or territory branches or other levels of the party.

RECOMMENDATION 34

The Act be amended to deem registered political parties to be incorporated associations.

RECOMMENDATION 35

The Act be amended to prevent political parties from registering or maintaining registration in the name, abbreviation or acronym of a prominent organisation without the written approval of that organisation.

RECOMMENDATION 36

The Act be amended to prevent political parties from registering or maintaining registration in the name of an individual without the written approval of that individual.

RECOMMENDATION 37

The Act be amended to prevent the name, abbreviation or acronym of certain special words (for example, Anzac, OAM) from being used in the name or abbreviation of a registered political party.

RECOMMENDATION 38

The Act be amended to provide that an application to deregister a parliamentary party must be submitted by three members of the party, with the party secretary being one of those members.

RECOMMENDATION 39

Section 141 of the Act be amended to provide a right of review of decisions to approve an application for voluntary deregistration under s.135 or decisions to deregister a party under ss.137(1)(cb) where a registered officer has failed to respond to a notice of review issued under s.138A.

RECOMMENDATION 40

The Act be amended to require the nomination of a party agent as part of the registration of a political party.

RECOMMENDATION 41

The Act be amended to empower the AEC to serve a Notice of Intention to Deregister to political parties who fail to appoint an agent for a period of 28 days on the revocation of appointment, resignation or death of the previously appointed party agent.