This advice sets out the AEC's conclusion in relation to the matter described below:
Whether the Australians for Honest Politics trust fund is an associated entity.
In September 1998 and then again on 26 August 2003.
Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, sections 287 and 314AEA of the Act. S 287 of the Act defines an associated entity as "an entity that (a) is controlled by one or more registered political parties; or (b) operates wholly or to a significant extent for the benefit of one or more registered political parties". With respect to the demand powers for obtaining further information, the AEC must have reasonable grounds to believe both that an entity is or was an associated entity and that a person is capable of producing documents or other things, or of giving evidence relating to whether an entity is or was an associated entity in order to issue notices under s 316(3A) of the Act.
The AEC reviewed additional information obtained, material previously provided and media reports. The AEC also sought legal advice. Further, the AEC issued notices under s 316(3A) of the Act requiring that certain information relating to whether Australians for Honest Politics is or was an associated entity be provided to the AEC. Following a request to review the decision to issue one such notice, the Electoral Commission (as constituted under section 6 of the Act) met to consider the request. The Commission set aside the decision to issue the notice.
The AEC has determined this issue based on all the information available to it. On the basis of that information and consistent with the trust deed, the AEC has now concluded that the Australians for Honest Politics trust fund did not meet the definition of associated entity under the Act. Thus, the AEC's decision in June 1999 – that the Australians for Honest Politics trust fund did not constitute an associated entity – was and remains correct.
Date: 15 July 2004