Wielangta Fighting Fund

Updated: 23 December 2010

This advice sets out the Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC's) conclusions in relation to the matters described below.

The matter:

Whether the Wielangta Fighting Fund is an associated entity of the Australian Greens.

When the matter was raised:

Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz first raised the matter on 18 July 2006 in a letter to the AEC.

Legislation:

The AEC's examination of this matter focussed on the definition of an associated entity contained in section 287 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act).

Section 287 of the Act defines an associated entity as:

  • an entity that is controlled by one or more registered political parties; or
  • an entity that operates wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit of one or more registered political parties; or
  • an entity that is a financial member of a registered political party; or
  • an entity on whose behalf another person is a financial member of a registered political party; or
  • an entity that has voting rights in a registered political party; or
  • an entity on whose behalf another person has voting rights in a registered political party.

The same section defines an entity as:

  • an incorporated or unincorporated body; or
  • the trustee of a trust.

AEC process:

This inquiry has taken twelve months to complete.

The examination of the disclosure obligations of potential associated entities can take some time as a number of complex matters, such as whether an entity exists, whether it is an associated entity of a political party, and whether any disclosure obligations exist, need to be resolved.

The inquiry involved the close examination of the Fund and its website, including the use of the AEC's investigative powers under section 316 of the Act and obtaining legal advice.

AEC conclusion:

The AEC examined a number of matters that might establish the existence of an entity:

  • the type of account held by the Fund;
  • lists of legally registered entities;
  • lists of recognised charities and tax deductible gift recipients;
  • the owner of the Fund's website domain name;
  • the administrator of the Fund's website and the donation function on the website;
  • the organisation hosting fund raisers for the Fund; and
  • the source of the website content.

The AEC is of the view that the Wielangta Fighting Fund is not an incorporated or unincorporated body or the trustee of a trust, and consequently is not an entity within the meaning of section 287 of the Act. The Fund cannot therefore be an associated entity of the Australian Greens.

Date: 04 August 2007

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