Media release

Referendum expenditure period now in effect

Updated: 14 September 2023

With the writ issued for the 2023 referendum, the expenditure period related to financial disclosure requirements is now known and in effect.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said it is important for people who may incur a disclosure obligation to know the key dates.  

“The referendum expenditure period commenced six months before the writ was issued,” Mr Rogers said.

“If you are active in campaigning or making donations for the referendum from 11 March until 14 October 2023, you may have an obligation to disclose that information and you will need to keep appropriate records.”

“Campaigning that incurs expenditure over $15,200 during the period will need to be reported.”

The same timeframe and threshold impacts donors. If total donations are more than $15,200 to a campaign, there are disclosure obligations.

Key referendum disclosure dates:

  • Referendum expenditure period: 11 March 2023 (6 months before the writ is issued) to 14 October 2023 (voting day)
  • Referendum disclosure returns due: 29 January 2024 (15 weeks after voting day)
  • Referendum disclosure returns publication date: 1 April 2024 (24 weeks after voting day).

Further information

What is referendum matter?

Referendum matter is matter communicated or intended to be communicated for the dominant purpose of influencing the way people vote in a referendum.

What is referendum expenditure?

Referendum expenditure is expenditure incurred for the dominant purpose of creating or communicating referendum matter.

What is a referendum entity?

A referendum entity is a person or organisation that incurs referendum expenditure over the referendum disclosure threshold at any time during the referendum expenditure period. (No registration requirements apply.)

What is the referendum expenditure period?

The referendum expenditure period:

  • starts on the day that is six months before the writ for a referendum is issued; and
  • ends on the voting day for the referendum.

What is the referendum disclosure threshold?

Disclosure of certain information (e.g. details of gifts and donations) by referendum entities and donors is subject to a minimum threshold above which disclosure is required.

The disclosure threshold is $15,200.

What is a referendum donor?

A referendum donor is a person or entity that makes one or more donations totalling more than the disclosure threshold to a referendum entity during the referendum expenditure period.

Are there restrictions on foreign donations?

Restrictions on receiving gifts or donations of at least $100 from foreign donors apply to referendum entities.

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