Financial Disclosure Guide for Political Parties

Updated: 6 July 2016

Incomplete returns

Where a party agent is unable to obtain all the information required to fully complete a return, a Notice of Incomplete Return must be completed and lodged with the Political Party Disclosure Return.

Where it is necessary to submit a Notice of Incomplete Return:

  • complete the Political Party Disclosure Return as fully as possible
  • complete the Notice of Incomplete Return
  • lodge the Notice of Incomplete Return and the incomplete Political Party Disclosure Return with the AEC at the same time.

The Notice of Incomplete Return contains three parts:

Part 1 – requires the full details of the information believed to be missing from the return.

Part 2 – requires:

  • the reason the particulars listed in Part 1 were unable to be obtained; and
  • the details of all attempts made to obtain the missing information.

Part 3 – requires:

  • the full name/s and address details of the person/s believed to possess the missing particulars; and
  • the reason why it is believed this person/s possesses the required information.

Lodgement of a Notice of Incomplete Return does not relieve the party agent of the responsibility of making reasonable efforts to obtain the information required to complete the return.

The Act is strongly worded, making it clear that resort to the lodgement of a Notice of Incomplete Return under section 318(1) is a last option. Section 318 demands diligence from persons completing disclosure returns. Complete and accurate disclosure is a legislative requirement and meeting that responsibility must be treated as an essential activity and accorded the necessary priority.

It is the responsibility of the person seeking to rely upon a Notice of Incomplete Return to prove that they have, in fact, been ‘unable’ to obtain the required information. The AEC needs to be satisfied that all reasonable attempts have been made to obtain the missing information before it accepts a Notice of Incomplete Return.

The AEC may assess whether the lodgement of a Notice of Incomplete Return was used by an agent to avoid their responsibilities under the Act. In any such case the party agent will be considered to not be able to claim protection under section 318 against prosecution for the offence of having lodged an incomplete return.

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