Australian Electoral Commission

2012-13 annual financial disclosure returns released today

Updated: 31 January 2014

The 2012–13 annual financial disclosure returns from political parties, associated entities, donors and third parties who incur political expenditure are now available for public inspection.

The annual returns are available on the Annual returns website. This website provides images of the original returns, some analysis and a data export function to enable users to undertake additional analysis of data.

The total figures disclosed in the 2012–13 annual returns are provided in a high level summary below together with a breakdown showing the total amounts disclosed by the major party groups.

Editor's notes

Candidate and Senate Group returns from the 2013 federal election will be released by 9am (AEDT) on Monday 24 February 2014.

For media enquiries, contact the AEC media unit.

High level summary of 2012–13 financial disclosure returns

Political Parties
Party Group Receipts 2010–11
$
Receipts 2011–12
$
Receipts 2012–13
$
Payments 2010–11
$
Payments 2011–12
$
Payments 2012–13
$
Debts 2010–11
$
Debts 2011–12
$
Debts 2012–13
$
ALP 83 271 496 49 562 954 54 777 408 87 899 788 44 948 873 45 094 419 16 374 462 11 944 930 8 398 109
Liberal 102 074 751 55 085 113 73 120 903 106 587 507 40 723 725 62 617 752 15 471 399 15 061 789 12 870 942
Nationals 13 839 980 8 181 710 8 276 188 13 058 242 6 927 840 7 606 290 2 905 147 1 292 864 1 441 109
Greens 13 119 481 4 273 859 8 132 270 10 497 330 3 701 838 9 322 505 845 999 517 473 1 952 227
Others 13 862 368 8 347 628 8 780 443 11 872 642 8 502 935 7 983 220 2 273 974 2 650 993 2 682 346
Total 226 168 076 125 451 264 153 087 212 229 915 509 104 805 211 132 624 186 37 870 981 31 468 049 27 344 733

As at 31 January 2014 the AEC had received 73 political party returns with total receipts* of $153 087 212 disclosed by political parties for 2012–13. This compares to 69 political party returns with total receipts of $125 451 264 reported for the 2011–12 financial year.

Associated Entity Returns
Receipts 2010–11
$
Receipts 2011–12
$
Receipts 2012–13
$
Payments 2010–11
$
Payments 2011–12
$
Payments 2012–13
$
Debts 2010–11
$
Debts 2011–12
$
Debts 2012–13
$
796 053 292 807 135 566 787 170 734 780 175 393 769 819 926 749 157 156 127 673 629 123 564 316 179 687 504
Donor Returns
2010–11
$
2011–12
$
2012–13
$
29 235 467 12 751 191 18 322 461
Political Expenditure Returns
2010–11
$
2011–12
$
2012–13
$
39 508 576 19 447 720 23 716 198

*Note: receipts include 'gifts' (donations) and other receipts such as returns on investments or sales of assets. Parties and associated entities are asked to distinguish between 'gifts' and other receipts in their returns.

Financial disclosure facts

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires registered political parties and donors, associated entities and third parties who incur political expenditure to furnish financial disclosure returns to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) covering each financial year.

These returns are made public in February the following year.

Political parties must submit returns containing the following information:

  • the total sum received during the financial year;
  • the total expenditure for the financial year;
  • the total debt outstanding at the end of the financial year;
  • the sum and source of all receipts over the threshold; and
  • the sum and details of any debts as at the end of the financial year that exceed the threshold.

Associated entities must submit returns containing the following information:

  • the total sum received during the financial year;
  • the total expenditure for the financial year;
  • the total debt outstanding at the end of the financial year;
  • the sum and source of all receipts that exceed the threshold;
  • the sum and details of any debts as at the end of the financial year that exceed the threshold; and
  • the sum and details of capital contributions donated to the associated entity, the investment proceeds of which are donated to one or more political parties.

Where the sum of a donor's contribution to a political party is more than the threshold, the donor must submit a return that details:

  • the sum and details (date and recipient of the donation) of each 'gift'; and
  • the sum and details of any 'gifts' received by the donor that have been passed on to a political party or associated entity, or to another donor for the purposes of being passed on to a political party or associated entity.

Note that receipts include 'gifts' (donations) and other receipts such as returns on investments or sales of assets. Parties and associated entities are asked to distinguish between 'gifts' and other receipts in their returns.

Note also that donors are not required to make a return where they have received adequate consideration for their 'gift'. However, where a donor has paid to attend a political party function or conference and they do not receive services equal to the value of the payment, the payment is considered a gift/donation, that is, the payment is required to be disclosed. In some cases the donor may value an intangible service received, such as an opportunity to network.

Where a person has made political expenditure on the following activities the sum of which is in excess of the threshold, they must complete a return detailing expenditure in each of the activities, if any:

  • public expression of views on a political party, candidate in an election, member of the Federal Parliament or an issue in a federal election by any means;
  • printing, production, publication, distribution or broadcast of any material that is required by section 328 or 328A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or subclause 4(2) of schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to include an authorisation; and
  • carrying out opinion polling or other research relating to a federal election or the voting intentions of electors.

Where a person is required to lodge a political expenditure return, and that person received a gift or gifts in excess of the threshold that went towards this expenditure, the person must disclose the sum of the gift, the source of the gift and the date on which the gift was made.

Candidates and Senate Groups not endorsed by a political party must disclose the total donations received and the sum and source of donations over the threshold, as well as expenditure in the categories above. Gifts received by candidates and Senate Groups that are endorsed by a political party will be reported in the political party return for the 2013–14 financial year.

Note: The threshold for the 2012–13 financial year returns was 'more than $12 100'. The threshold is indexed and is adjusted on 1 July each year.