Election Funding and Disclosure Report - Federal Election 2013: Investigations report under section 17(2C)

Updated: 29 May 2014

Subsection 17(2C) of the Act requires the AEC to include particulars of the operation of s.316(2A) in this report since the last reporting on the section. Section 316(2A) provides as follows:

(2A) An authorised officer may, for the purpose of finding out whether a prescribed person, the financial controller of an associated entity or the agent of a registered political party has complied with this Part, by notice served personally or by post on:

(a) the agent or any officer of the political party; or

(aa) the financial controller of the associated entity or any officer of the associated entity; or

(b) the prescribed person or, if the prescribed person is a body corporate, any of its officers;

as the case may be, require the agent, financial controller, person or officer:

(c) to produce, within the period and in the manner specified in the notice, the documents or other things referred to in the notice; or

(d) to appear, at a time and place specified in the notice, before the authorised officer to give evidence, either orally or in writing, and to produce the documents or other things referred to in the notice.

Where a political party operates party units, such as local branches, a s.316(2A) notice may seek a sample of records from these party units. A report provided pursuant to s.17(2C) must comply with s.17A which provides that particulars of any information given in evidence or contained in documents or other things produced in compliance with a notice served on a prescribed person or an officer of a prescribed person under s.316(2A) must not be reproduced.

The purpose of investigating documents and evidence produced in response to the notices issued under s.316(2A) is to determine whether the person lodging the disclosure return has complied with their obligations under Part XX of the Act. Under s.316(2A) for political parties the person lodging the return is the party agent. In respect of associated entities the person who must comply is the financial controller. A s.316(2A) notice allows for any documents and evidence in the possession of the particular party or associated entity to be obtained to assess the completeness and accuracy of disclosures of:

  • total receipts
  • total payments
  • total debts
  • receipts above the disclosure threshold (detailed receipts)
  • debts totalling above the threshold (detailed debts).

The last report under s.17(2C) which included particulars of the operation of s.316(2A) was the "Election Funding and Disclosure Report, Federal Election 2010". That report contained particulars of the operation of s.316(2A) investigations (which are also called compliance reviews by the AEC) for notices issued between 2007 and 2011.

This report, therefore, sets out particulars of the operations of s.316(2A) between 1 July 2011 and up to 1 April 2014.

Between 1 July 2011 and 1 April 2014 the AEC issued 104 s.316(2A) notices in respect of registered political parties, State branches of registered political parties and associated entities. As at the date of the publication of this report, 93 compliance reviews have been completed, consisting of 23 in the 2011–12 financial year, 37 in 2012–13 and 33 so far in the 2013–14 financial year. A further 11 compliance reviews remain active.

Table 14 lists the compliance reviews completed. It also indicates the areas where errors were identified in disclosure returns from an analysis of documents produced under s.316(2A) notices.

Table 14: Investigations (compliance reviews) conducted under s.316(2A) between 1 July 2011 and 1 April 2014
Investigations Total receipts Total payments Total debts Detailed receipts Detailed debts
Christian Democratic Party
(Fred Nile Group) WA Branch
tick tick      
One Nation tick tick      
Australian Greens       tick  
Australian Labor Party (ALP)          
Australian Labor Party
(Legacies and Gifts) Ltd
         
John Curtin House Limited          
The Chifley Research Centre Ltd          
The Green Institute tick tick tick    
Building Australia Party         tick
Stable Population Party of Australia          
Australian Labor Party (N.S.W. Branch)       tick  
Labor Campaign Pty Ltd          
NSW Labor Campaign Investment Pty Ltd          
Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch) tick tick tick    
Emily's List Australia tick tick tick    
Progressive Business Association Inc     tick    
Labour Movement Education
Association Inc.
         
Democratic Labor Party (DLP)
– Victorian Branch
tick        
Health Services Union – HSU East          
Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch)     tick    
Perth Trades Hall Inc          
Australian Labor Party (ALP)          
Liberal Party of Australia       tick  
National Party of Australia – N.S.W. tick tick tick tick  
Mehring Books Pty Ltd          
Animal Justice Party tick tick      
Australian Greens, Northern Territory Branch          
Australian Labor (Northern Territory Branch)       tick  
Australian Labor Party (ALP)       tick  
Australian Protectionist Party          
CLP Gifts and Legacies Pty Ltd          
Country Alliance          
Country Liberals (Northern Territory) tick tick tick tick  
Democratic Labor Party (DLP) – Queensland Branch tick tick      
Family First Party – Queensland          
Katter's Australian Party tick tick   tick  
NT ALP Investment Trust tick tick      
NTN Services tick tick tick tick tick
Queensland Greens          
The First Nations Political Party          
Liberal Party of Australia       tick  
Free Enterprise Foundation          
John McEwen House Pty Ltd          
Parakeelia Pty Ltd       tick  
The Greenfields Foundation          
The Menzies Research Centre Limited          
Goulburn 100 Club tick        
Business First tick        
Scoresby City Club          
Berwick Ranges 500 Club tick tick      
Bulleen Supporters Group          
Yarra Plenty Women's Group          
Chinese Liberal Association 08/09 tick tick      
Chinese Liberal Association 09/10          
Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated          
Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Division tick tick   tick  
Bunori Pty Ltd          
Dame Pattie Menzies Foundation Trust          
Liberal Asset Management (Custodians) Limited          
Liberal Properties Ltd          
The Warringah Club tick tick   tick  
Liberal National Party of Queensland tick tick   tick  
6 St Paul's Terrace Trust   tick   tick  
Altum Property Trust tick tick   tick  
Forward Brisbane Leadership tick     tick  
YLNP No. 1 Ltd (James Killen Foundation) tick tick   tick  
Mornington Gold          
Altum ATF The HQ Trust tick tick   tick  
Australian Greens          
The Free Enterprise Foundation          
John McEwen House Pty Ltd          
Liberal Party of Australia       tick  
National Party of Australia          
The Green Institute Limited          
Gatenby Investment Trust          
Liberal Party of Australia – Tasmanian Division          
National Party of Australia (S.A.) Inc.          
Australian Greens (South Australia) tick tick tick tick  
Canberra Labor Club Ltd          
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia       tick  
CEC Australia (Services) Pty Ltd       tick tick
Citizens Media Group Pty Ltd       tick  
Secular Party of Australia tick tick      
Australian Greens, Victorian Branch tick tick   tick  
Family First Party – Victoria tick tick   tick  
National Party of Australia – Victoria tick tick   tick  
The Climate Sceptics tick tick      
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) tick tick   tick  
The Greens NSW tick tick   tick  
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)          
Socialist Equality Party          
LNP Nominees Pty Ltd ATF 6 St Paul’s Terrace Trust tick tick tick tick tick
Altum Pty Ltd ATF Altum Property Trust tick tick tick tick tick
Altum Pty Ltd ATF Altum the HQ Trust tick tick tick   tick
Total 35 32 12 31 6

Of these compliance reviews:

  • 50 (54%) resulted in the disclosure return requiring amendment
  • 35 returns (38%) required amendment to the reported total value of receipts
  • 32 returns (34%) required amendment to the reported total value of payments
  • 12 returns (13%) required amendment to the reported total value of debts
  • 31 returns (33%) required amendment to the details of individual receipts, either by correcting the details disclosed or adding receipts not included on the return
  • 6 returns (6%) required amendment to the details of outstanding debts, either by correcting the details disclosed or adding debts not included on the return.

The AEC's policy is to support, wherever reasonably possible, those who are required to comply so that they can meet their compliance obligations to disclose fully and accurately as required under Part XX. Therefore, where the AEC forms a view, based on its analysis of documents provided under s.316(2A) that any errors contained in the financial returns are unlikely to have been deliberately made, the AEC wrote to the relevant party agent or financial controller highlighting the errors and suggested that they should consider lodging a request under s.319A(2) to amend the disclosure return in order to correct the identified errors and/or omissions.

Between 1 July 2011 and 1 April 2014 the AEC wrote to 50 party agents and financial controllers highlighting errors in financial returns lodged by them and suggesting that they consider lodging an amendment of the return pursuant to s.319A(2). As a result of the AEC's recommendations all 50 lodged an amended return under s.319A(2) which resulted in the Commission permitting each of the amended returns to be made in accordance with s.319A(4).