Election funding

What is election funding?

After each federal election or by-election, the AEC distributes money to eligible political parties, candidates and Senate groups to reimburse them for electoral expenditure.

Who receives election funding?

Election funding is payable in relation to any candidate or group who receives at least four per cent of the total first preference votes in an election.

A registered political party is entitled to election funding when candidates it has endorsed receive at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes in an election.

An unendorsed candidate, who is not a member of a Senate group, is eligible for election funding when they receive at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes cast in an election.

Election funding is payable to an unendorsed Senate group where:

  • none of the group’s members have been endorsed by a registered political party; and
  • the group receives at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes cast in the Senate election.

How is election funding calculated?

The value of the election funding entitlement is calculated by multiplying:

When is election funding paid?

Automatic payment

The AEC will automatically pay an amount to the agent of each eligible political party, candidate, or Senate group, as soon as practicable after 20 days after the polling day for an election. The automatic payment amount is indexed every six months and its current value can be found on the election funding rates page.

Claims for further funding

In order to receive election funding of greater than the automatic payment a claim setting out electoral expenditure incurred must be lodged with the AEC by the agent of the eligible political party, candidate, or Senate group.

The amount payable will be calculated as the lesser of:

  • the calculated election funding entitlement; or
  • the amount of demonstrated electoral expenditure.

The payment will be reduced by the amount that has been paid as an automatic payment.

The AEC must decide whether to accept, in whole or in part, a claim for election funding within 20 days of receiving the claim. To the extent that the AEC accepts the claim, the AEC will pay the claim within this time period.

Funding will only be paid if the AEC is satisfied that the claimed electoral expenditure is accurate and unique.

Appeal mechanisms exist for instances where a final claim is refused in whole or in part.

How is an election funding claim lodged?

A claim, using the approved form, must be lodged with the AEC:

  • no earlier than 20 days after polling day; and
  • no later than six months after polling day.

An agent may make an interim claim, a final claim, or an interim claim followed by a final claim (only one interim and one final claim can be lodged).

Can an election funding claim be varied?

If an interim or final claim has not been determined, the agent of the eligible political party, candidate, or Senate group may vary the claim. The claim may be varied after the lodging period and the AEC is taken to have received the interim or final claim at the time the claim is varied.

How is an election funding claim paid?

The initial automatic payment will be paid directly to agents.

Subsequent funding will be paid, based on an accepted claim, to the person or persons specified in that claim and not automatically to agents.

How is election funding reported?

The AEC is required to publish election funding determinations, refusals and reconsiderations on the Transparency Register The register provides links to the election funding determinations.

The Election Funding and Disclosure report provides a report on the operation of Part XX of the Electoral Act in relation to a general election or Senate election.

The finalised election funding payments to political parties, candidates and Senate groups for the 2019 federal election are summarised at the link below.

Updated: 12 May 2022