Behind the Scenes: The AEC's 1998 Federal Election Report: Funding and Disclosure

Updated: 9 October 2007

Funding and Disclosure

The funding and disclosure scheme has been in operation since the 1984 election. The scheme has two main components:

  • public funding of election campaigns; and
  • disclosure of certain financial details by candidates, registered political parties and other persons and groups (returns are submitted to the AEC).

Election Funding

A candidate or Senate group was eligible for election funding if they won at least four percent of the formal first preference vote in the division or the State or Territory they contested. The amount paid was calculated by multiplying the number of votes won by the current election funding rate. The funding rate for the 1998 federal election was 162.210 cents per vote. This rate is indexed every six months to increases in the Consumer Price Index.

Payment procedures

The AEC was required to calculate the amount candidates and groups were entitled to on the 20th day after polling day and arrange payment by cheque of a minimum of 95 percent of that amount as soon as possible. For the 1998 federal election, an interim election funding payment of $31 103 228.82 was paid to candidates and parties on 29 October 1998.

Any balance was paid as soon as the full entitlement was known, that was following the conclusion of the counting of votes. The AEC finalised the election funding payments for the 1998 election on 27 November 1998, paying a remaining $2 719 267.45 to candidates and parties. The total election funding paid at the 1998 federal election was $33 920 787, including an additional $98 291.16 paid to candidates following the Newcastle supplementary election.

For candidates and Senate groups endorsed by registered political parties, payments were made directly to their parties. Independent (not endorsed) candidates and Senate groups received their payments direct, unless they had appointed an agent who was to receive the payment.

Total election funding payments for the 1998 federal election are listed below:
Payee Amount $
Australian Labor Party 13 959 511.97
Liberal Party of Australia 11 488 881.15
National Party of Australia 2 321 589.02
Northern Territory Country Liberal Party 116 916.10
Australian Democrats 2 247 677.46
Australian Greens 147 867.39
The Greens (WA) 172 137.25
Pauline Hanson's One Nation 3 044 525.97
Australia First Party 25 280.43
Australian Shooters Party 8 554.96
Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine Group 39 342.41
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) 5 339.95
Progressive Labour Party 5 054.46
Unity – Say No to Hanson 48 692.20
Peter Andren (Calare NSW) 47 887.64
Anthony Beck (Barker SA) 6 464.07
Barry Cunningham (McMillan VIC) 6 163.98
Robert Ellis (Mackellar NSW) 7 670.91
Paul Filing (Moore WA) 23 908.13
Philip Nitschke (Menzies VIC) 11 100.03
Graham Nuttall (New England NSW) 10 060.26
Allan Rocher (Curtin WA) 22 587.74
Margaret Scott (Oxley QLD) 4 952.27
Anthony Smith (Dickson QLD) 10 697.75
Douglas Treasure (Gippsland VIC) 6 611.68
Robert Wilson (Parkes NSW) 14 042.52
Paul Zammit (Lowe NSW) 18 978.57
Sub Total 33 822 496.27
Newcastle supplementary election
Australian Labor Party 51 000.45
Australian Democrats 9 095.11
Australian Greens 9 675.83
Pauline Hanson's One Nation 16 976.90
Harry Criticos 4 408.87
Ivan Welsh 7 134.00
Sub total 98 291.16
TOTAL 33 920 787.43

Receipt of Returns

Following the election key participants in the electoral process were required to lodge with the AEC various returns disclosing election campaign transactions including donations and expenditure.

Recent legislative changes to the Act removed the previous requirement for registered political parties to lodge returns of electoral expenditure. Parties now disclose the expenditure they incurred during an election period in their annual return to the AEC.

Summary table of returns
Participant Type of return Time frame Due date
Candidates donations received and electoral expenditure within 15 weeks after polling day 18 Jan 1999
Senate groups donations received and electoral expenditure within 15 weeks after polling day 18 Jan 1999
Third parties details of electoral expenditure, donations received, and donations made to candidates and others within 15 weeks after polling day 18 Jan 1999
Broadcasters electoral advertisements broadcast within 8 weeks after polling day 30 Nov 1998
Publishers electoral advertisements published within 8 weeks after polling day 30 Nov 1998

All these returns were available for public inspection 24 weeks after polling day, that was from 22 March 1999.

The AEC was required under subsection 17(2) of the Act to prepare a separate report for the Minister on the operations of the funding and disclosure provisions in relation to the 1998 federal election. This report will be tabled in parliament.

Registered Political Parties

Political parties must register with the AEC for federal elections. This is to fulfil legislative requirements under the funding and disclosure provisions of the Act and to enable party names to appear on the ballot paper.

Some parties, such as the Australian Democrats, do not separately register their State and Territory branches, but such branches are nevertheless recognised as independent registered parties for funding and disclosure purposes.

For federal elections the register closes on the day the writ is issued. For the 1998 federal election the register closed on Sunday 30 August 1998. The parties registered for the 1998 election are listed on the following page.

List of registered political parties.