Care must be exercised to ensure that disclosure is made of the correct person or organisation. A donation made by a person from their personal account must be disclosed as having been received from that person. This is regardless of whether that person nominated that the donation was made on behalf of their company and irrespective of whether the person was subsequently reimbursed by the company. The only exception to this rule is where one person, organisation or other entity has acted as a legal representative (for example, carried out transactions) for or on behalf of another (the latter is referred to as a principal).
An amount may be received from a person or organisation acting as the legal representative of another person or organisation (the principal). The identity of the principal itself, rather than the identity of the agent is to be disclosed, where the amount received from the principal is more than the disclosure threshold.
These examples are provided as an indicative guide only. The concept of principal and agent is different to situations where someone makes donations to a political party from donations that they have themselves collected, or for which they are later reimbursed.
In these situations the person handing over the donation would be disclosed.
Section 306A of the Act provides that it is unlawful for a political party or a person acting on behalf of a political party to receive a loan of more than the disclosure threshold from a person or entity other than a financial institution unless a record of the loan is kept.
A financial institution is a bank, credit union, building society or a special service provider registered with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). An up to date list is available from the APRA website.
Section 306A(3) requires that where a political party or a person acting on behalf of a political party receives a loan from a person or entity that is not a financial institution, that is more than $13 000, the following details must be kept:
Section 306A(6) of the Act provides that where a person receives a loan and the loan is not documented in accordance with the requirements of section 306A(3), the amount of the loan is payable to the Commonwealth.
Section 306(1) of the Act provides that certain gifts made to or for the benefit of a political party or a person acting on behalf of a political party are unlawful unless the name and address of the person making the gift are known to the person receiving the gift. Such gifts are sometimes referred to as ‘anonymous donations’.
Examples of where a gift may constitute an unlawful gift under the Act:
Unlawful gifts (anonymous donations) in excess of the disclosure threshold are payable to the Commonwealth.
A company liquidator may take action to recover from a political party any gifts that exceed $13 000 made by a company that is wound up within one year of the gift being made.