Political expenditure caps

This information is about political expenditure caps that apply under the public funding scheme. 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.

Applicable expenditure caps

If a candidate or their party has lodged a certificate under section 130Y of the Electoral Act 1985 to opt into the public funding scheme, they are subject to limits on political expenditure during the capped expenditure period.

For further information about the public funding scheme, visit our Applying for public funding page.

The applicable expenditure caps for candidates depend on whether or not they are endorsed by a registered political party, and the House of Parliament for which they are seeking election.

Unendorsed candidates

For an unendorsed candidate who nominates for a House of Assembly electoral district, the cap is $100,000 (indexed).

For an unendorsed group of candidates who nominate for election in the Legislative Council, the cap is $500,000 (indexed).

For a single unendorsed candidate in the Legislative Council, the cap is $125,000 (indexed).

Registered political parties and their endorsed candidates

For a registered political party that endorses candidates for the Legislative Council only, the cap is $500,000 (indexed). Candidates in those circumstances do not have their own caps. Their political expenditure is deemed to be political expenditure by the registered political party.

A registered political party that endorses candidates for election in House of Assembly districts is allocated $75,000 (indexed) for each district in which they endorse a candidate. The party must, by agreement with the candidates, allocate a portion of this cap to each candidate. The amount allocated cannot exceed $100,000. The agent of the party must provide written notice of the agreement to the Electoral Commissioner within three days of the agreement. If no amount is agreed between the party and the candidate, the amount deemed allocated to the candidate is $40,000.

Therefore, the applicable expenditure cap allocated to a candidate for the House of Assembly who nominates as an endorsed candidate for a registered political party will vary, depending on the agreement reached with the party regarding the allocation for their electoral district.

If a registered political party also endorses candidates for election in the Legislative Council, then the party is allocated an additional $100,000 (indexed) for each endorsed candidate, to a maximum of $500,000.

Capped expenditure periods

In the case of a general election, the capped expenditure period starts on 1 July in the year before the election. In the case of any other election, it starts on the day which the vacancy giving rise to the election is announced in the House of Assembly by, or on behalf of, the Speaker.

In any case, the capped expenditure period ends 30 days after polling day.

Penalties for exceeding cap

Agents must ensure that their clients do not exceed their applicable expenditure caps. Contravention of this obligation is an offence for which the maximum penalty is $7,500.

It is an offence for candidates to enter into an arrangement or agreement with a third party to incur political expenditure on their behalf during the capped expenditure period to avoid their applicable expenditure cap. The maximum penalty for this offence is $25,000.

In addition, if your political expenditure during the capped expenditure period is in excess of the applicable expenditure cap allocated to you, your public funding payment will be reduced by an amount equal to 20 times the excess amount.

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