Third parties incurring political expenditure

Updated: 29 May 2018

Third parties are people or organisations (other than registered political parties, candidates and Federal government agencies) who incur political expenditure as defined in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Political expenditure is expenditure incurred by a person or organisation, or with their authority, on:

  • public expression of views on a political party, candidate in an election or member of the Commonwealth Parliament by any means;
  • public expression of views on an issue that is, or is likely to be, before electors in an election (whether or not a writ has been issued for the election) by any means;
  • the communication of any electoral matter that is required by section 321D to be authorised;
  • broadcast of political matter in relation to which particulars are required to be announced under subclause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992;
  • opinion polling and other research relating to an election (whether or not a writ has been issued for the election) or the voting intentions of electors.

Other expenditure (for example, on administration or travel) is not political expenditure for reporting purposes.

Third party return of political expenditure

Where political expenditure reaches the disclosure threshold, third parties are required to lodge an annual Third party return of political expenditure by 17 November each year.

Financial Disclosure Guide for Third Parties incurring Political Expenditure

The Commonwealth funding and disclosure scheme extends to individuals and organisations who make or receive political donations (including indirect donations such as funding political advertising for a candidate or party), or who incur political expenditure. These individuals or organisations are referred to as donors and third parties.

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Financial disclosure returns