A significant third party (previously a political campaigner) is a person or entity (other than a political entity, a member of the House of Representatives or a Senator) that is registered under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act).
A person or entity is required to be registered as a significant third party when:
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.
For more information see Associated entity disclosure information.
You can apply to register a significant third party with the AEC.
If you meet the requirements for registering as a significant third party you must be registered as a significant third party before the end of 90 days of becoming required to be registered.
If you are required to be registered as a significant third party for a financial year you must not incur further electoral expenditure or fundraise any amounts for the purpose of incurring electoral expenditure in that financial year until you are registered.
Significant third parties are required to provide annual financial disclosure returns to the AEC.
The financial controller is responsible for lodging the annual return.
A significant third party must appoint a financial controller at the time of registration.
Changes to financial controller details must be provided to the AEC within 90 days of the information ceasing to be correct or complete using a Change to Transparency Register form.
The annual return covering the financial year 1 July to 30 June must be lodged by 20 October each year.
The annual return can be lodged any time from 1 July each year.
For a significant third party that is registered or is deregistered during the financial year, the annual return must be provided in relation to the whole financial year.
A significant third party that registers within the current financial year and was not required to be registered in the previous financial year must lodge an annual return for the previous financial year within 30 days of having been registered. For example, a significant third party that is registered on 24 January 2022 (for the financial year 2021‑22) must lodge a Significant Third Party Annual Return for 2020‑21 by 23 February 2022.
Significant third parties must disclose the following information in the annual return:
The Financial Disclosure Guide for Significant Third Parties is designed to assist significant third parties to understand their financial disclosure obligations under Part XX of the Electoral Act.
This guide provides information derived from the Electoral Act as well as from the experiences of the AEC in the administration of the Commonwealth funding and disclosure scheme.
The annual return can be lodged through the eReturns portal.
The financial controller for a registered significant third party will be issued an eReturns username and password by the AEC.
For more information go to Lodge a financial disclosure return.
For important terms that financial controllers need to complete annual returns, explore Financial Disclosure FAQs.
Further information and examples can be found in the Financial Disclosure Guide for Significant Third Parties 2022-23.
Significant third parties should have adequate financial recording systems and procedures to enable the return, which will be publicly available, to be properly completed. The Electoral Act makes the financial controller responsible for record keeping.
Relevant records must be kept for a minimum of 5 years following the end of the reporting period.
A person or entity who fails to comply with these requirements is subject to civil penalties.