Election Funding and Disclosure Report - Federal Election 2013: Background

Updated: 28 May 2014

General reporting obligations

Section 17 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) prescribes reports which are to be made by the Australian Electoral Commission. The section is as follows:

17 Reports by the Commission

(1) The Commission shall, as soon as practicable, after 30 June in each year, prepare and furnish to the Minister a report of the operations of the Commission during the year that ended on that 30 June.

(1A) A report under subsection (1) in relation to the operations of the Commission for the year ending on 30 June 2001, and for each subsequent year, must include particulars for that year of:

(a) each person or organisation to whom the Commission has provided a copy of a Roll under subsection 90B(1); and

(b) each person or organisation to whom the Commission has given a copy of a Roll, or an extract of a Roll, under subsection 90B(4).

(2) The Commission shall, as soon as practicable after the polling day in:

(a) a general election and any Senate election that had the same polling day as that general election; or

(b) a Senate election (other than a Senate election referred to in paragraph (a)):

prepare and furnish to the Minister a report on the operation of Part XX in relation to that election or those elections.

(2A) A report under subsection (2) in relation to an election must include a list of the names of all persons who, in the opinion of the Commission, are or may be required to furnish a return under subsection 305A(1) or (1A) in relation to that election.

(2B) The Commission may prepare and furnish to the Minister, otherwise than under subsection (2), such reports on the operation of Part XX as the Commission thinks appropriate.

(2C) Subject to section 17A, the Commission must include in any report under this section particulars of the operation of subsection 316(2A) since the preparation of the last report under this section that included particulars of the operation of that subsection.

(3) Section 34C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 does not apply in relation to a report under subsection (2).

(4) The Minister shall cause a copy of a report furnished under subsection (1), (2) or (2B) to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which he or she receives the report.

(5) A report under this section need not include particulars of a matter if those particulars have been included in an earlier report under this section.

The Report

This report has been prepared and is furnished to the Minister pursuant to s.17(2) of the Act. It reports on the operation of Part XX of The Act in relation to the federal election held on 7 September 2013 (the 2013 election). Information required to be provided in accordance with sections 17(2A) and 17(2C) is also included in this report.

The 2013 election consisted of a general election for the House of Representatives and a half-Senate election. The scope of the federal election and relevant key dates in relation to the operation of Part XX are provided at Appendix B.

Part XX

Part XX prescribes a legislative regime for the election funding and financial disclosure which applies to federal elections. The Part is structured as follows:

Division 1: Preliminary

Division 2: Agents

Division 3: Election funding

Division 4: Disclosure of donations

Division 5: Disclosure of electoral expenditure

Division 5A: Annual returns by registered political parties and other persons

Division 6: Miscellaneous

The relevant provisions of Part XX for the purposes of this report are:

(1) Division 3 – sections 294, 297 and 299 (which concern election funding entitlements).

(2) Division 4 – sections 304 (Disclosure of gifts) and 305A (Gifts to candidates).

(3) Division 5 – s.309 (Returns of electoral expenditure).

(4) Division 6 – s.316 (Investigation).