Penalties relating to funding and disclosure regulations

Updated: 7 January 2019

Some changes have been made to the penalties associated with election funding and disclosure as a result of the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018 (the FAD Reform Act). These penalties affect political parties, their associated entities and other non-party political actors. Civil penalties have been added and some criminal penalties have been modified. The table below contains the complete list of civil and criminal penalties.

If you have any questions in relation to the penalties, please email fad@aec.gov.au, or alternatively call the Funding and Disclosure help desk on 02 6271 4552.

Penalties

Registration requirements of political campaigners and associated entities
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Incurring electoral expenditure if the person or entity is not registered as a political campaigner in that same financial year – s287F
  • political campaigner

Whichever is higher of:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of electoral expenditure incurred (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of electoral expenditure) (s287F(3))
Not applicable
Incurring electoral expenditure if the entity is not registered as an associated entity in that same financial year – s287H
  • associated entity

Whichever is higher of:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of electoral expenditure incurred (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of electoral expenditure)  (s287H(3))
Not applicable
Failure to notify the Electoral Commissioner within 90 days if information on the Transparency Register fails to be correct or complete – s287P
  • political campaigner
  • associated entity
60 penalty units (s287P(2)) Not applicable
Foreign donation restrictions
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Failure of political entity or political campaigner to take acceptable action in regards to a foreign donation – s302D(1)
  • political entity or its agent
  • political campaigner or its financial controller

Whichever is higher of:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gift (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gift) (s302D(3))
200 penalty units (s302D(2))
Failure of a third party to take acceptable action in regards to a foreign donation – s302E(1)
  • third party

Whichever is higher of:

  • 100 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gift (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gift) (s302E(4))

50 penalty units (s302E(3))

Failure to take acceptable action in regards to a foreign gift – s302F(1)
  • political entity or its agent
  • political campaigner or its financial controller
  • third party

For contravention of s302F(1) by a third party:

  • 100 penalty units (s302F(5))

For contravention of s302F(1) by a person or entity other than a third party:
Whichever is higher of:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gift (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gift) (s302F(5))

For contravention of s302F(2):
Whichever is higher of:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gift (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gift) (s302F(5))

For contravention of s302F(1) by a third party:

  • 50 penalty units (s302F(3))

For contravention of s302F(1) by a person or entity other than a third party:

  • 100 penalty units (s302F(3))

For contravention of s302F(2):

  • 100 penalty units (s302F(3))
Knowingly providing a false affirmation or information that a donor is not a foreign donor – s302G(1)
  • political entity or its agent
  • political campaigner or its financial controller
  • third party
  • donor

Whichever is higher of:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gift (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gift) (s302G(4))
100 penalty units (s302G(2))
Establishing a scheme to avoid sections 302D, 302E or 302F – s302H
  • political entity
  • political campaigner
  • third party
  • donor

Whichever is higher:

  • 200 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gift (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gift) (s302H(5))
200 penalty units (s302H(3))
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Disclosure of donations
Failure to provide a return disclosing the value of gifts received – s304
  • candidate (including members of a group who were candidates) or the candidate’s agent

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gifts not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gifts not disclosed) (s304(2))
Not applicable
Failure to provide a return disclosing the value of gifts received – s304
  • agent of a group whose members were candidates

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gifts not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gifts not disclosed) (s304(3))
Not applicable
Failure to provide a return disclosing gifts valued at more than the disclosure threshold – s305A
  • donor who is not a political entity or an associated entity

Whichever is higher:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gifts not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gifts not disclosed) (s305A(2))
Not applicable
Failure to disclose gifts totalling more than the disclosure threshold in a financial year – s305B
  • donor who is not a political entity or an associated entity

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the gifts not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the value of the gifts not disclosed) (s305B(1))
Not applicable
Disclosure of electoral expenditure
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Failure by the agent of a person who was a candidate to provide a return disclosing the amount of electoral expenditure – s309
  • candidate (but not a candidate who was the member of a group) or the candidate’s agent

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the electoral expenditure not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the electoral expenditure not disclosed) (s309(2))
Not applicable
Failure by the agent of a group to provide a return disclosing the amount of electoral expenditure – s309
  • agent of a group whose members were candidates

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the amount of the value of the electoral expenditure not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, of the electoral expenditure not disclosed) (s309(3))
Not applicable
Annual returns by registered political parties and others
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Failure of a political party or political campaigner to provide an annual return – s314AB
  • registered political party or its agent or its financial controller
  • political campaigner or its agent or its financial controller

Whichever is higher of:

  • 120 penalty units, or
  • three times the value of the amount not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, not disclosed) (s314AB(1))
Not applicable
Failure of an associated entity to provide an annual return – s314AEA
  • associated entity or its financial controller

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the value of the amount not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, not disclosed) (s 314AEA(1))
Not applicable
Failure of third party to provide an annual return – s314AEB
  • third party

Whichever is higher of:

  • 60 penalty units, or
  • three times the value of the amount not disclosed (if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount, or an estimate of the amount, not disclosed) (s314AEB(1))
Not applicable
AEC investigations
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Refusal or failure to comply with a notice relating to a compliance review or investigation – s316(5)‑(5A)
  • political entity or its agent
  • political campaigner or its financial controller
  • associated entity or its financial controller
  • third party
  • donor
  • prescribed person under s17(2A)
Not applicable

For a refusal to comply with a notice under s316(2A), (3) or (3A):

  • 10 penalty units (s316(5))

For a failure to comply with a notice under s316(2A), (3) or (3A):

  • 10 penalty units (s316(5A))
Providing false or misleading information during a compliance review or investigation – s316(6)
  • political entity or its agent
  • political campaigner or its financial controller
  • associated entity or its financial controller
  • third party
  • donor
  • prescribed person under s17(2A)
Not applicable Imprisonment for 6 months, or 10 penalty units, or both
(s316(6))
Keeping records
Offence Applies to Maximum civil penalty Maximum criminal penalty
Failure to keep records – s317(2)‑(4)
  • political entity or its agent
  • political campaigner or its financial controller
  • associated entity or its financial controller
  • third party
  • donor
  • prescribed person under s17(2A)
200 penalty units (s317(1)) Not applicable
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