Definition of financial disclosure entities

Updated: 13 July 2022

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) provides a definition of financial disclosure entities.

What is a political entity?

A political entity means any of the following:

  • a registered political party
  • a state branch (within the meaning of Part XX) of a registered political party
  • a candidate in an election or by-election
  • a member of a Senate group.

What is a political party?

A registered political party means a political party that is registered under Part XI of the Electoral Act.

For more information: Register of Political Parties.

What is a significant third party?

A significant third party is a person or entity (other than a political entity, a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator) whose:

  • electoral expenditure exceeds $250,000 during that financial year or any one of the previous three financial years; or
  • electoral expenditure is at least equal to the disclosure threshold during that financial year, and electoral expenditure during the previous financial year was at least one-third of the revenue of the person or entity for that year; or
  • during that financial year the person or entity operates for the dominant purpose of fundraising amounts:
    1. the aggregate of which is at least equal to the disclosure threshold; and
    2. that are for the purpose of incurring electoral expenditure or that are to be gifted to another person or entity for the purpose of incurring electoral expenditure.

Information on electoral matter and electoral expenditure can be found in the Factsheet: Electoral matter and electoral expenditure.

For more information: Significant third party disclosure information.

What is a third party?

A third party is a person or entity (other than a political entity or a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate) incurring electoral expenditure that is:

  • more than the disclosure threshold during a financial year; but
  • is not required to be registered as a significant third party.

Information on electoral matter and electoral expenditure can be found in the Factsheet: Electoral matter and electoral expenditure.

For more information: Third party disclosure information.

What is the difference between a third party and a significant third party?

A third party incurs electoral expenditure during a financial year that is more than the disclosure threshold but does not meet the definition that would require registration as a significant third party.

Registration as a significant third party is required when electoral expenditure:

  • exceeds $250,000 during that financial year or any one of the previous three financial years; or
  • electoral expenditure is at least equal to the disclosure threshold during that financial year, and electoral expenditure during the previous financial year was at least one-third of the revenue of the person or entity for that year; or
  • during that financial year the person or entity operates for the dominant purpose of fundraising amounts:
    1. the aggregate of which is at least equal to the disclosure threshold; and
    2. that are for the purpose of incurring electoral expenditure or that are to be gifted to another person or entity for the purpose of incurring electoral expenditure.

Information on electoral matter and electoral expenditure can be found in the Factsheet: Electoral matter and electoral expenditure.

What is an associated entity?

An entity (other than a political entity) is an associated entity if any of the following apply in a financial year:

  • the entity is controlled by one or more registered political parties;
  • the entity operates wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit of one or more registered political parties;
  • the entity is a financial member of a registered political party;
  • another person is a financial member of a registered political party on behalf of the entity;
  • the entity has voting rights in a registered political party;
  • another person has voting rights in a registered political party on behalf of the entity;
  • the entity operates wholly, or to a significant extent, for the benefit of one or more disclosure entities, and the benefit relates to one or more electoral activities (whether or not the electoral activities are undertaken during an election period).

For more information: Associated entity disclosure information.

What is a disclosure entity?

A disclosure entity for an associated entity is a person or entity that is any of the following:

  • a significant third party
  • a senator or a member of the House of Representatives
  • a candidate or Senate group in an election
  • a person who was a candidate in an election of a member of the House of Representatives in the previous four years
  • a person who was a candidate in an election of Senators in the previous seven years.

Can an entity be a significant third party and an associated entity?

Yes, it is possible for an entity to meet the definition of both a significant third party and an associated entity.

The entity will need to be registered as both a significant third party and an associated entity.

The entity will only be required to lodge a significant third party return.

Can an entity be an associated entity and a third party?

Yes, it is possible for an entity to meet the definition of both an associated entity and a third party.

An associated entity that does not meet the definition of a significant third party but incurs electoral expenditure above the disclosure threshold must also lodge a third party return of electoral expenditure.

A donor is a person or entity (other than a political entity or associated entity) that during a financial year makes one or more donations totalling more than the disclosure threshold to:

  • a registered political party or a State branch of a registered political party
  • a significant third party
  • any person or entity with the intention of benefiting a particular registered political party or a State branch of a registered political party or significant third party.*

* If a donation is made to an associated entity with the intention of benefiting a particular political party or significant third party, it is considered to be made to that political party or significant third party.

A donor is also a person or entity (other than a political entity or associated entity) that makes one or more donations for federal purposes totalling more than the disclosure threshold to:

  • a member of the House of Representatives
  • a senator.

federal purpose means the purpose of incurring electoral expenditure, or creating or communicating electoral matter.

For more information: Annual donor financial disclosure information.

What is an election donor?

A donor is a person or entity (other than a political entity or associated entity) that makes one or more donations totalling more than the disclosure threshold to:

  • a candidate, or
  • a member of a Senate group.

A person is taken to commence being a candidate in an election or by‑election 6 months before the earlier of:

  • the day the person announced they would be a candidate in the election or by‑election; or
  • the day they nominated as a candidate in the election or by‑election.

A Senate group commences as a group in an election on the day that is 6 months before the day the members of the group make a request under the Electoral Act for their names to be grouped in the ballot papers for the election.

A person or group ceases to be a candidate or group 30 days after the polling day in the election.

For more information: Election donor financial disclosure information.

What is a candidate?

For the purpose of disclosure, a person is taken to be a candidate in an election commencing from the earlier of the following days:

  • 6 months before the day the person announced their candidacy; or
  • 6 months before the day the person nominated as a candidate in an election; and

ceases at the end of 30 days after polling day.

For more information: Candidates and Senate groups disclosure information.

What is a Senate group?

For the purpose of disclosure, a group is taken to be a Senate group in an election commencing from 6 months before the day the members of a group make a request under section 168 of the Electoral Act for their names to be grouped in the ballot papers for an election and ceases 30 days after polling day.

For more information: Candidates and Senate groups disclosure information.