Tip-off facility for suspected breaches of Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

Updated: 14 September 2015

The Commonwealth financial disclosure scheme (disclosure scheme) was introduced to increase overall transparency in relation to election funding by informing the public about the financial dealings of political parties, candidates and others involved in the electoral process.

The disclosure scheme requires candidates, registered political parties, their state branches, associated entities, donors and other participants in the electoral process to lodge annual or election financial disclosure returns with the AEC.

Identifying possible breaches

To ensure transparency the AEC must ensure that full disclosure is achieved. To assist the AEC in identifying possible breaches of the disclosure provisions you should contact us if you are aware of a person or entity that:

  • has not lodged a return
  • has lodged an incomplete return
  • has lodged a return but has included false and misleading information in the return
  • has provided false or misleading information for inclusion in a return
  • provided false or misleading information during a compliance investigation.

It is also a breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) to discriminate against a person who made a donation to a political party, a state branch of a political party or a candidate.

Reporting suspected breaches of the disclosure provisions to the AEC

If you have knowledge of any activity that might constitute a suspected breach of the disclosure provisions of the Act we need your information and you are encouraged to report things we might not know about. You can report any suspected breach by:

  • calling the AEC's disclosure tip-off line on: 02 6271 4799
  • emailing: FADtipoff@aec.gov.au
  • mailing:
    Tip-off Facility
    Funding and Disclosure Branch
    AEC National Office
    Locked Bag 4007
    Canberra ACT 2601

What information should I provide?

You need to give us as much information as you can, as we may not be able to contact you again for more details (if you have chosen not to provide contact details)

The type of information that will assist us with our inquiries is:

  1. What is the name of the person or entity?
    • full name, position, location, party, entity, donor, candidate or third party
  2. What is the suspected breach?
    • failure to lodge a return
    • lodged an incomplete return (e.g. failed to include a transaction in the return)
    • has included false or misleading information in their return
    • provided false or misleading information for inclusion in a return
    • provided false or misleading information during a compliance investigation
  3. Details about the alleged breach
  4. What are the suspect's contact details?
    • fixed line, mobile number, email address or postal/residential address
  5. How you became aware of this matter
  6. Your name (it is preferable that you provide your name – the AEC will not disclose your details and it will assist us if we need further information)
  7. Your contact details
    • fixed line, mobile number and email address

How will my tip-off be dealt with?

The AEC will assess all information it receives in relation to a possible breach of the Commonwealth financial disclosure provisions as set out in Part XX of the Act.

The action the AEC will take will depend on whether there is sufficient evidence of a breach having occurred. The AEC may monitor the party, entity or person's ongoing compliance with their disclosure obligations, request information from the party, entity or person who appears to be in breach or a third party who may be able to provide assistance, evidence or information to assist the AEC inquiries.

So as not to prejudice any possible outcomes the AEC will not provide you with any details of inquiries or investigation that it undertakes in relation to a possible breach of the disclosure. If, however, the AEC conducts a formal investigation the results of the investigation may be made available on the AEC's website at the conclusion of the investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the disclosure laws?

The disclosure scheme was introduced to increase overall transparency and inform the public about the financial dealings of political parties, candidates and others involved in the electoral process.

Will the AEC conduct an investigation?

The AEC will only conduct an investigation if there appears to be a breach of the disclosure provisions and we have not been able to encourage voluntary compliance.

Will my details be protected?

You can access the AEC's Privacy Policy on the AEC website. The AEC is bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988, (Privacy Act) including the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). The APPs set out standards, rights and obligations for how the AEC handles and maintains personal information. The policy provides a protection of the personal details of any person who provides information in relation to a breach or possible breach of the disclosure provisions.

Can I make an anonymous report?

Yes. However this may limit our ability to investigate your report to us, particularly where we need to seek further clarification or information from you and we cannot do so.

What is the benefit for me in reporting a breach of the disclosure provisions?

The disclosure scheme is aimed at providing transparency about where a political party, candidate or third party (a person or entity that incurs political expenditure) receives their funding. Any information the AEC receives assists us in ensuring that any person who with an obligation to disclosure financial transactions meets their obligations. If the AEC is not able to achieve voluntary compliance, your information or evidence may assist in any enforcement action required to achieve compliance.

Back to top