Obligations of a candidate

This information is for candidates who are not Members of Parliament. If this is not what you are looking for, visit our Funding and disclosure for State elections page to find information that is relevant to you.

For more information, refer to Part 13A of the Electoral Act 1985 External link.

Candidates and agents

Candidates may appoint an agent to manage their funding, expenditure and disclosure obligations. If you do not appoint an agent, you will be personally responsible for recording donations and expenditure and lodging your returns. The final day for appointing an agent is at the close of nominations. For further information, visit our Appointing an agent page.

Summary of candidate obligations

The following list is a brief summary of your obligations. Read more information about each dot point under the relevant heading below.

You must:

  • operate a State campaign account
  • record information about your gifts of $200 or more and loans of $1,000 or more
  • lodge campaign donation returns to disclose gifts and loans greater than $5,000 (indexed)
  • lodge expenditure returns to report your political expenditure if you have spent more than $5,000 (indexed)
  • provide audit certificates with all returns lodged.

You will be subject to additional obligations if you opt into the public funding scheme.

State campaign account

You must operate a State campaign account into which you must deposit all gifts and from which you must pay all political expenditure (sections 130K, 130L, and 130N of the Electoral Act 1985).

Gifts and loans

If you receive a gift of $200 or more or a loan of $1,000 or more during the disclosure period, you must know the name and address of whoever made the gift or loan (sections 130ZJ and 130ZK).

In the case of a company or an association, that means the name of the organisation and the names and addresses of all members of the board or executive committee. If you receive a donation from a trust then you must know the name of the trust and the names and addresses of the trustees.

For more information, visit our Reporting gifts and loans (candidates and groups) page.

Disclosure periods for gifts and loans

The disclosure period differs for different types of candidates. Visit our Glossary page to determine whether or not you are a new candidate.

If you are not a new candidate, your disclosure period starts on 1 July 2015 and ends 30 days after polling day (section 130ZF(5)).

For new candidates, your disclosure period starts either on the day you announce your intention to be a candidate for the election or on the day you nominate to be a candidate (whichever is earlier). The disclosure period ends 30 days after polling day (section 130ZF(5)).

Campaign donation returns

A campaign donations return sets out details of all gifts and loans you have received with an amount or value of $5,000 (indexed) or more.

For a general election, you must lodge a campaign donations return by 31 January in the year of the election. You must then continue to lodge campaign donations returns every 7 days until 30 days after polling day.

For all other elections, you must lodge a campaign donations return within 30 days of the announcement of the vacancy in the House of Assembly. You must then continue to lodge campaign donations returns every 7 days until 30 days after polling day (section 130ZF).

Reporting political expenditure

If you have incurred more than $5,000 (indexed) in political expenditure during the capped expenditure period, you must lodge a political expenditure return within 60 days after polling day.

If you have incurred more than $5,000 (indexed) in political expenditure during a financial year, you must lodge an annual expenditure return within 12 weeks after the end of the financial year (section 130ZQ).

For more information, visit our Reporting political expenditure (candidates and parties) page.

Capped expenditure period

For a general election, the capped expenditure period starts on 1 July in the year before the election. For any other election, it starts on the day on which the vacancy that causes the election is announced in the House of Assembly by, or on behalf of, the Speaker.

The capped expenditure period ends 30 days after polling day.

Audit certificates

You are required to lodge an audit certificate for every return furnished to the Electoral Commissioner (section 130ZV).

Public funding scheme

If you wish to access the public funding scheme you must do the following:

  • Agree to abide by the limits on political expenditure under the capped political expenditure scheme.
  • Lodge a certificate issued under section 130Y of the Electoral Act 1985. Once a certificate has been lodged it cannot be withdrawn.
  • Lodge a capped political expenditure return within 60 days of polling day to be entitled to receive your public funding.

For more information, visit our Applying for public funding page.

Expenditure caps

The applicable expenditure caps depend on whether or not you are endorsed by a registered political party, and the House of Parliament for which you are seeking election. The limits are listed on our Political expenditure caps page.

Payments

You will be entitled to public funding if either:

  • you are elected, or
  • the total number of eligible votes you receive is at least 4% of the total primary votes.

An eligible vote is a formal first preference vote. The total primary vote is the total number of eligible votes cast for the electoral district.

The funding payable depends on whether or not you are endorsed by a registered political party, and if you are an endorsed candidate, whether or not your party has at least one Member of Parliament. For information about, and examples of, how payments are calculated, visit our Applying for public funding page.

Disclaimer

Refer to our Disclaimer page.