Financial Disclosure Guide for Third Parties incurring Political Expenditure

Updated: 6 July 2016

Appendix 1: Glossary of terms


Australian Electoral Commission

Associated entity

An organisation which:

  • is controlled by or operates to a significant extent for the benefit of one or more registered political parties; or
  • is a financial member of a registered political party, or on whose behalf another person is such a member; or
  • has voting rights in a registered political party, or on whose behalf another person has such voting rights.

It can include companies holding assets for a political party, investment or trust funds, fundraising organisations, groups and clubs, and trade unions or corporate members of political parties.

Campaign committees

A campaign committee, in relation to a candidate or group, means a body of persons appointed or engaged to form a committee to assist the campaign of the candidate or group in an election.


Debt is any sum for which a legal obligation to pay exists as at the end of the financial year. It includes loans, mortgages, leases, unpaid invoices and goods and services received but not yet paid for.

Disclosure threshold

Detailed disclosure must be made of receipts totalling more than $13 000 and debts totalling more than $13 000 at 30 June 2016. This threshold is indexed each year.


A person, organisation or other body other than a political party, an associated entity or a candidate in a federal election who is under an obligation to furnish a disclosure return because they made a donation.

Gift or donation

Any disposition of property made by a person to another person, otherwise than by will, and without consideration or with inadequate consideration.


Non-cash donations. For example, receipt of an asset or service, discounts other than in the normal course of business and non-commercial or excessive payment for goods or services (including membership). Gifts-in-kind must be disclosed for an amount that reflects the fair value, that is, normally the commercial or sale value of the item or service.

Examples of gifts-in-kind:

  • The donation of legal advice by a solicitor.
  • The donation of the use of premises to conduct campaign activities.


The disclosure threshold is indexed to the All Groups Consumer Price Index. A listing of disclosure thresholds is available.

Joint Senate group

A Senate group endorsed by more than one political party.

Period of disclosure

Annual returns cover a financial year that is the period from 1 July to 30 June.

Public inspection

Disclosure thresholds are available for inspection by the public at, through public access terminals in AEC State Offices located in each state and territory capital city and at the AEC National Office in Canberra. Annual returns are available from the first working day in February each year.

Registered political party

A political party registered with the AEC or any state or territory branch of a federally registered political party. Registration with a state or territory electoral office does not confer federal registration.

Related body corporate

Section 50 of the Corporations Act 2001 provides that where a body corporate is:

  • a holding company of another body corporate,
  • a subsidiary of another body corporate, or
  • a subsidiary of a holding company of another body corporate,

the first-mentioned body and the other body are ‘related’ to each other.

Transactions of related body corporates should be consolidated when determining whether the disclosure threshold has been reached.

Senate group

Two or more candidates for election to the Senate who made a written request to the AEC with their nominations that their names be grouped on the ballot-paper, or grouped in a specified order.

State branch

A branch or division of a federally registered political party organised on the basis of a state or territory. State branches are treated as separate political parties for funding and disclosure purposes.

The Act

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Third party

'Third party' is a generic term used to describe a person or organisation other than a political party, candidate, senate group or donor, who incurs political expenditure or who received gifts to make such expenditure.

An example of an organisation which may have an obligation to complete a Third Party Return of Political Expenditure might be an organisation such as GetUp! (which has the broad aim of 'increasing democratic participation', but which is not officially linked to one political party).

Volunteer labour

A service provided free of charge to a party by an office-holder of the party or a party member, or any other person where that service is not one for which that person normally receives payment. Volunteer labour provided to a political party does not need to be disclosed as a gift by that person or the registered political party.

Examples of volunteer labour:

  • The donation of legal advice by a solicitor who is a party member.
  • A person handing out how-to-vote cards.
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