A ‘third party’ is a person or entity (other than a political entity or a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate) incurring electoral expenditure that is:
more than the disclosure threshold during a financial year; but
below the amount that would require registration as a ‘political campaigner’ (see below).
Third parties are subject to the requirements of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act).
There are two definitions relevant to third parties disclosing electoral expenditure:
For further information, refer to the Electoral matter and electoral expenditure fact sheet.
As a ‘third party’, a person or organisation has these obligations:
Third parties are not required to register with the AEC. Third parties will be automatically included on the Transparency Register if they lodge a financial disclosure return for the current, or any of the three previous, financial years. Third parties will remain on the Transparency Register for three years following a financial year relating to which they report.
Registration as a political campaigner is required when electoral expenditure:
Find out if you meet the requirements for a political campaigner.
The Electoral Act restricts the receipt of donations from foreign donors. A foreign donor can be a person who is not an Australian citizen or resident, or a corporation that is not incorporated in Australia, or an entity for which the principal place of business is not in Australia.
Third parties must not receive donations from foreign donors for the amount or value equal to or above the disclosure threshold, which is then used for:
In addition, a third party can’t receive a donation of $100 or more if:
Refer to the Foreign donations fact sheet for further information.
Annual returns for third parties for each financial year must include:
The AEC releases a series of publications designed to assist political participants that may have financial disclosure obligations under the Electoral Act.
This version of the Financial Disclosure Guide for Third Parties applies to returns for the 2017–18 financial year.
Recent legislative changes will affect annual returns from 2018-19. The guide for 2018-19 will be available in due course.