2022 Council Elections logo

First campaign donation returns are due now

The first campaign donation return must be lodged by all local government election candidates between 27 September and 4 October 2022.

Copies of the disclosure returns for lodgement are now available in the candidate portal under disclosure returns. Refer to the table of returns for relevant lodgement dates.

Please note: you do not lodge these returns in ECSA’s Funding & Disclosure Portal (that is for state elections only).

A person who is a candidate for election to an office of a council must lodge the following returns with the Electoral Commissioner:

CAMPAIGN DONATIONS RETURN - all councils including the City of Adelaide

Candidates (for all councils including the City of Adelaide) must lodge a campaign donations return with the Electoral Commissioner.

Candidates must lodge 2 returns:

For a periodic election:

  • the first campaign donation return must be lodged with the returning officer in the period between 22 to 28 days after the close of nominations
  • the second campaign donation return must be lodged within 30 days after the conclusion of the election.

For any other type of election (supplementary, etc.):

  • the first campaign donation return must be lodged with the returning officer in the period between 8 to 14 days after the close of nominations
  • the second campaign donation return must be lodged within 30 days after the conclusion of the election.

The return must disclose:

  • the total amount or value of all gifts received during the disclosure period
  • the number of people who made those gifts
  • the amount or value of each gift
  • the date on which each gift was made
  • details of persons and organisations (donors) providing those gifts.

The campaign donations return need not set out any details in respect of:

  • a private gift made to the candidate
  • a gift with an amount or value less than $500
  • a gift already disclosed in a large gift return

If a candidate is not required to provide any details in a return, the campaign donations return must still be lodged and include a statement to the effect that no gifts of a kind required to be disclosed were received.

LARGE GIFTS RETURN - all councils including the City of Adelaide

All candidates (for all councils including the City of Adelaide) must lodge a large gifts return if they receive a gift or gifts from a donor in excess of $2,500.

The Acts prescribe different times that the large gifts return must be lodged, but during the election year, a large gift return must be lodged within 5 days of receipt of the large gift.

The return must disclose:

  • the amount or value of each gift received
  • details of persons and organisations (donors) providing those gifts
  • the date on which each gift was made.

Two or more gifts (excluding private gifts) made by the same person to a candidate during the disclosure period are to be treated as one gift.

A large gifts return need not set out any details in respect of a private gift made to the candidate. A gift to a candidate is a private gift if it is made in a private capacity to the candidate for their personal use and the candidate has not used, and will not use, the gift solely or substantially for a purpose related to the election.

Large gifts returns should be lodged with ECSA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURE RETURN - City of Adelaide only

Candidates for the City of Adelaide elections must lodge a campaign expenditure return, in addition to any campaign donation return or large gift return.

A campaign expenditure return must be lodged within 30 days of the conclusion of the election and set out all details of campaign expenditure in relation to the election incurred by or with the authority of the candidate.

If a candidate does not incur more than $500 in campaign expenditure, they may lodge a ‘NIL’ return.

The types of expenditure defined as campaign expenditure are set out in section 25(2) of the City of Adelaide Act 1998 and they include items such as:

  • the broadcasting of an electoral advertisement
  • production and display of an electoral advertisement
  • production of material requiring the author or printer of the material to be displayed in accordance with section 27 LGEA 1999
  • consulting and advertising agency fees
  • production and distribution of electoral material.

Offences

See section 85 of the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 and section 29 of the City of Adelaide Act 1998. It is an offence to fail to lodge a return within time, to lodge a return containing false or misleading information, or to supply information that is false or misleading to another person for a return. The maximum penalty is $10,000.

Public inspection of returns

The Electoral Commissioner is required to publish all returns within prescribed times on a website maintained by the returning officer.

Records

See section 89 of the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 and section 33 of the City of Adelaide Act 1988. A person must take reasonable steps to retain all records relevant to a return and keep these for at least four years after the date of which the relevant return is required to be lodged. The maximum penalty is $5,000.

Table of returns

Download a copy of the table of donation and expenditure returns for the 2022 Council Elections.

FAQFrequently asked questions

ALL OTHER COUNCILS (other than the City of Adelaide)
What returns do I have to lodge?
  • 2 campaign donation returns – whenever a gift (or multiple gifts from the same donor) is received that totals $500 or more
  • Large gift return - whenever a gift (or multiple gifts from the same donor) is received that totals $2,501 or more.
Where do I lodge my returns?

Copies of the disclosure returns for lodgement by candidates are now available in the candidate portal under disclosure returns. Each completed return can be lodged on the portal during the allotted time that they are due. These dates are shown in the table of returns. If you are unable to lodge these via the candidate portal, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Is there a difference between 'gift' or 'donation?'

The Act refers to a ‘gift’, but it effectively means the same as a ‘donation’.

A gift is defined in the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 (LGEA) as:

  • a disposition of property
  • made by a person to another person (otherwise than by will)
  • without consideration in money or money’s worth or with inadequate consideration; and
  • includes the provision of a service (other than volunteer labour) for no consideration or inadequate consideration.

By way of example, if a person gives money to a candidate (without getting anything in return), donates goods or services, or supplies a good or service to a candidate for less than the market or commercial rate, this may constitute a gift.

What is a 'disposition of property?'

A ‘disposition of property’ means a conveyance, transfer, assignment, settlement, delivery, payment or other alienation of property, and includes:

  • the allotment of shares in a company; and
  • the creation of a trust in property; and
  • the grant or creation of a lease, mortgage, charge, servitude, licence, power or partnership or any interest in property; and
  • the release, discharge, surrender, forfeiture or abandonment, at law or in equity, of a debt, contract or chose in action or any interest in property; and
  • the exercise by a person of a general power of appointment of property in favour of another person; and
  • a transaction entered into by a person with intent thereby to diminish, directly or indirectly, the value of the person's own property and to increase the value of the property of another person.
What do I have to disclose in a campaign donation return?

The form of return will be provided in the candidate portal with fillable fields to complete, including:

  • the total amount or value of all gifts with an amount or value of $500 or more received by the candidate during the disclosure period
  • the number of persons who made the gifts
  • the amount or value of each gift
  • the date on which gift was made
  • the name and address of the person making the gift (or if a trust or incorporated association – the name of the association and the name and addresses of the executive committee of the association and the name and address of the trustees and title and description of the trust).
What do I have to disclose in a large gift return?

The form of return will be provided in the candidate portal with fillable fields to complete, including:

  • the amount or value of each gift
  • the date on which the gift was made
  • the name and address of the person making the gift (or if a trust or incorporated association – the name of the association and the name and addresses of the executive committee of the association and the name and address of the trustees and title and description of the trust).
When do I have to lodge these returns?

Download the table of donation returns - All councils (PDF, 293KB)

Return type

When to lodge

First campaign donation return

Between Tuesday 27 September 2022 and Tuesday 4 October 2022

Second campaign donation return

within 30 days after the conclusion of the election.

For an election where the candidates do not exceed the number of persons required to be elected, the conclusion of the election is Friday 11 November 2022 - the second campaign donation return must be lodged in the period between Friday 2 December 2022 and Monday 12 December 2022.

For any other election where the number of candidates exceeds the number of persons required to be elected, the conclusion of the election is Friday 18 November 2022 - the second campaign donation return must be lodged in the period between Friday 2 December 2022 and Monday 19 December 2022.

Large gift return

The Regulations provide that a large gift must be reported within 5 days of receipt.

The Regulations also provide that a large gift return must be lodged in an election within 60 days after 30 June. i.e. by Monday 29 August 2022.
NOTE: You do not have to lodge a duplicate large gift return by 29 August 2022 if you have already lodged a large gift return within 5 days of receipt as otherwise required by the Act.

What is the 'conclusion of an election?'

'Conclusion of election'– for a periodic election:

(i)   if the number of candidates nominated to contest each election does not exceed the number of persons required to be elected – the last business day before the second Saturday in November i.e. Friday 11 November 2022.
(ii)  in any other case – the time at which the last result of the periodic elections is certified by the returning officer (RO). It is likely that the RO will certify the results under this provision on Friday 18 November 2022.

Note that the conclusion of the election is different to the 'polling day' for a periodic election, which is the day on which voting at the election closes, which is defined as Thursday 10 November 2022 (i.e. the second to last business day before the second Saturday in November 2022).

What is the disclosure period (reporting period) covered by the campaign donations return?

Download the table of donation returns - All councils (PDF, 293KB)

Type of candidate

Period from

Period to

New candidate

The date that they announced their candidacy or nominated as a candidate (whichever was earlier)

Thursday 1 December 2022 (i.e. 21 days after polling day).

New candidate and when they became a candidate in the election was a member of the council by virtue of having been appointed under Chapter 3 of the Local Government Act 1999

The day on which the person was appointed as a member of the council

Not a new candidate

Saturday 1 December 2018

i.e. at the end of 21 days after polling day for the last preceding election in which the person was a candidate

What is the disclosure period (reporting period) covered by a large gift return?

Download the table of donation returns - All councils (PDF, 293KB)

Type of candidate

Period from

Period to

New candidate

The date that they announced their candidacy or nominated as a candidate (whichever was earlier)

Thursday 1 December 2022 (i.e. 21 days after polling day).

New candidate and when they became a candidate in the election was a member of the council appointed under Chapter 3 of the Local Government Act 1999

The day on which the person was appointed as a member of the council

Not a new candidate

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Who is a candidate?

A person is a candidate if they have announced their candidacy for an election, if they have nominated as a candidate for an election, or if they are already a member of council standing for election again.

What is a 'new candidate?'

A person is defined as a ‘new candidate’, in relation to an election, if the person had not been a candidate in the last general election of a council and had not been a candidate at a supplementary election held after the last general election of a council.

Do I have to report the same campaign donation (i.e. gift) more than once?

No. Although the disclosure period (reporting period) for the second campaign donation return is the same as for the first campaign donation return, gifts already reported in the first campaign donation return do not need to be disclosed again.

What if I receive 2 or more gifts from the same donor?

There is a requirement to treat 2 or more gifts during the disclosure period as 1 gift, and once the total reaches $500 (for a campaign donation) or $2,501 (for a large gift), that ‘gift’ will be disclosed in the relevant campaign donation return or large gift return.

What if I do not receive any donations or any donations over $500? Do I still need to lodge both campaign donation returns?

Yes. You should lodge a NIL return for both.

What if I have already reported a gift received in a large gift return? Do I have to report it again in a campaign donation return?

No. You do not need to report a large gift in a later campaign donations return, if it has already been disclosed.

How do I know if something I give to a candidate needs to be disclosed?

If it is a private gift, it does not need to be disclosed. A gift is a private gift if it is made to a candidate in a private capacity for their personal use and the candidate has not used and will not use the gift solely or substantially for a purpose related to the election.

Do I have to disclose the use of volunteers as a gift?

No. Whilst the definition of a gift includes the provision of a service, volunteer labour is excluded.

Are there any other restrictions on the provision of a gift to a candidate?

Gifts to candidates are permissible, as long as they are appropriately disclosed (where required) by the candidate. Although the provision of a gift is not an illegal practice, candidates and others are subject to the requirements of s57 of the LGEA which provides that a person who offers or gives a bribe with a view to inducing a person to submit or withdraw candidature, influence votes or otherwise interfere with the election if guilty of an offence.

A bribe includes any pecuniary sum or material advantage including food, drink or entertainment where the value is equal to or more than $20.

It should be noted that it is unlawful to receive a gift of $500 or more unless the required details (name, address, etc) to identify the donor are obtained by the candidate. Records should be kept by the candidate.

What if I do not receive any donations over $2,500? Do I still need to lodge a NIL large gift return?

No. You do not need to lodge a large gift return unless you receive a gift (or gifts from the same donor) over $2,500.

Where do I find further information?
CITY OF ADELAIDE ONLY
What returns do I have to lodge?
  • 2 campaign donation returns – whenever a gift (or multiple gifts from the same donor) is received that totals $500 or more
  • Large gift return - whenever a gift (or multiple gifts from the same donor) is received that totals $2,501 or more.
  • Campaign expenditure return – setting out details of all campaign expenditure in relation to the election incurred by or with the authority of the candidate.
Where do I lodge my returns?

Copies of the disclosure returns for lodgement by candidates are now available in the candidate portal under disclosure returns. Each completed return can be lodged on the portal during the allotted time that they are due. These dates are shown in the table of returns. If you are unable to lodge these via the candidate portal, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Is there a difference between 'gift' or 'donation?'

The Act refers to a ‘gift’, but it effectively means the same as ‘donation’.

A gift is defined in the City of Adelaide Act 1998 as:

  • a disposition of property
  • made by a person to another person (otherwise than by will)
  • without consideration in money or money’s worth or with inadequate consideration; and
  • includes the provision of a service (other than volunteer labour) for no consideration or inadequate consideration.

By way of example, if a person gives money to a candidate (without getting anything in return), or donates goods or services, or if the candidate pays less for the good or service than the market rate, this may constitute a gift. 

What is a 'disposition of property?'

A ‘disposition of property’ means a conveyance, transfer, assignment, settlement, delivery, payment or other alienation of property, and includes:

  • the allotment of shares in a company; and
  • the creation of a trust in property; and
  • the grant or creation of a lease, mortgage, charge, servitude, licence, power or partnership or any interest in property; and
  • the release, discharge, surrender, forfeiture or abandonment, at law or in equity, of a debt, contract or chose in action or any interest in property; and
  • the exercise by a person of a general power of appointment of property in favour of another person; and
  • a transaction entered into by a person with intent thereby to diminish, directly or indirectly, the value of the person's own property and to increase the value of the property of another person.
What do I have to disclose in a campaign donation return?

The form of return will be provided in the candidate portal with fillable fields to complete, including:

  • the total amount or value of all gifts with an amount or value of $500 or more received by the candidate during the disclosure period
  • the number of persons who made the gifts
  • the amount or value of each gift
  • the date on which gift was made
  • the name and address of the person making the gift (or if a trust or incorporated association – the name of the association and the name and addresses of the executive committee of the association and the name and address of the trustees and title and description of the trust).
What do I have to disclose in a large gift return?

The form of return will be provided in the candidate portal with fillable fields to complete, including:

  • the amount or value of each gift
  • date on which gift was made
  • name and address of person making the gift (or if a trust or incorporated association – the name of the association and the name and addresses of the executive committee of the association and the name and address of the trustees and title and description of the trust).
What do I have to disclose in a campaign expenditure return?

The form of return will be provided in the candidate portal with fillable fields to complete, being:

  • details of all campaign expenditure incurred by or with the authority of the candidate.
When do I have to lodge these returns?

Download the table of donation & expenditure returns - City of Adelaide (PDF, 289KB)

Return type

When to lodge

First campaign donation return

Between Tuesday 27 September 2022 and Tuesday 4 October 2022

 

Second campaign donation return

within 30 days after the conclusion of the election.

For an election where the candidates do not exceed the number of persons required to be elected, the conclusion of election is Friday 11 November 2022 - the second campaign donation return must be lodged in the period between Friday 2 December 2022 and Monday 12 December 2022.

For any other election where the number of candidates exceed the number of persons required to be elected, the conclusion of election is Friday 18 November 2022 - the second campaign donation return must be lodged in the period between Friday 2 December 2022 and Monday 19 December 2022.

Campaign expenditure return

within 30 days after the conclusion of the election.

For an election where the candidates do not exceed the number of persons required to be elected, the conclusion of election is Friday 11 November 2022 - the campaign expenditure return must be lodged in the period between Saturday 12 November 2022 and Monday 12 December 2022.

For any other election where the number of candidates exceed the number of persons required to be elected, conclusion of election is Friday 18 November 2022 - the campaign expenditure return must be lodged in the period between Saturday 19 November 2022 and Monday 19 December 2022.

Large gift return

The Regulations provide that a large gift must be reported within 5 days of receipt.

The Regulations also provide that a large gift return must be lodged in an election within 60 days after 30 June. i.e. by Monday 29 August 2022.
NOTE: You do not have to lodge a duplicate large gift return by 29 August 2022 if you have already lodged a large gift return within 5 days of receipt as otherwise required by the Act.

What is the 'conclusion of an election?'

'Conclusion of election'– for a periodic election:

(i)   if the number of candidates nominated to contest each election does not exceed the number of persons required to be elected – the last business day before the second Saturday in November i.e. Friday 11 November 2022.
(ii)  in any other case – the time at which the last result of the periodic elections is certified by the returning officer (RO). It is likely that the RO will certify the results under this provision on Friday 18 November 2022.

Note that the conclusion of the election is different to the 'polling day' for a periodic election, which is the day on which voting at the election closes, which is defined as Thursday 10 November 2022 (i.e. the second to last business day before the second Saturday in November 2022).

What is the disclosure period (the reporting period) covered by a campaign donation return?

Download the table of donation & expenditure returns - City of Adelaide (PDF, 289KB)

Type of candidate

Period from

Period to

New candidate

Tuesday 9 November 2021

i.e. 12 months before polling day for the election

 

Thursday 1 December 2022 (i.e. 21 days after polling day).

New candidate and when they became a candidate in the election was a member of the Council by virtue of having been appointed under the Local Government Act 1999

The day on which the person was so appointed as a member of the Council

Not a new candidate

Saturday 1 December 2018

i.e. at the end of 21 days after polling day for the last preceding election in which the person was a candidate

What is the disclosure period (the reporting period) covered by a large gift return?

Download the table of donation & expenditure returns - City of Adelaide (PDF, 289KB)

Type of candidate

Period from

Period to

New candidate

 

Wednesday 10 November 2021

i.e. the date the Act was amended.

 

Thursday 1 December 2022 (i.e. 21 days after polling day).

New candidate and when they became a candidate in the election was a member of the Council by virtue of having been appointed under the Local Government Act 1999

Not a new candidate

 

What is the disclosure period (the reporting period) covered by a campaign expenditure return?

Download the table of donation & expenditure returns - City of Adelaide (PDF, 289KB)

Type of candidate

Period from

Period to

All City of Adelaide candidates

Disclosure period is not defined – it covers all campaign expenditure incurred in relation to the election

Who is a candidate?

A person is a candidate if they have announced their candidacy for an election, if they have nominated as a candidate for an election, or if they are already a member of council standing for election again

What is a 'new candidate?'

A person is defined as a ‘new candidate’, in relation to an election, if the person had not been a candidate in the last general election of a council and had not been a candidate at a supplementary election held after the last general election of a council.

Do I have to report the same campaign donation (i.e. gift) more than once?

No. Although the disclosure period (reporting period) for the second campaign donation return is the same as for the first campaign donation return, gifts already reported in the first campaign donation return do not need to be disclosed again.

What if I receive 2 or more gifts from the same donor?

There is a requirement to treat 2 or more gifts during the disclosure period as 1 gift, and once the total reaches $500 (for a campaign donation) or $2,501 (for a large gift), that ‘gift’ will be disclosed in the relevant campaign donation return or large gift return.

What if I do not receive any donations or any donations over $500? Do I still need to lodge both campaign donation returns?

Yes. You should lodge a NIL return for both.

What if I don't incur any campaign expenditure in excess of $500? Do I still need to lodge a campaign expenditure return?

Yes. You should lodge a NIL return.

What if I have already reported a gift received in a large gift return? Do I have to report it again in a campaign donation return?

No. You do not need to report a large gift in a later campaign donation return, if it has already been disclosed.

How do I know if something I give to a candidate needs to be disclosed?

If it is a private gift, it does not need to be disclosed. A gift is a private gift if it is made to a candidate in a private capacity for their personal use and the candidate has not used and will not use the gift solely or substantially for a purpose related to the election.

Do I have to disclose the use of volunteers as a gift?

No. Whilst the definition of a gift includes the provision of a service, volunteer labour is excluded.

Are there any other restrictions on the provision of a gift to a candidate?

Gifts to candidates are permissible, as long as they are appropriately disclosed (where required) by the candidate. Although the provision of a gift is not an illegal practice, candidates and others are subject to the requirements of s57 of the LGEA which provides that a person who offers or gives a bribe with a view to inducing a person to submit or withdraw candidature, influence votes or otherwise interfere with the election if guilty of an offence.

A bribe includes any pecuniary sum or material advantage including food, drink or entertainment where the value is equal to or more than $20.

It should be noted that it is unlawful to receive a gift of $500 or more unless the required details (name, address, etc) to identify the donor are obtained by the candidate. Records should be kept by the candidate.

What if I do not receive any donations over $2,500? Do I still need to lodge a NIL large gift return?

No. You do not need to lodge a large gift return unless you receive a gift (or gifts from the same donor) over $2,500.

Where do I find further information?

Information is current as of 25 August 2022.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this FAQ guide is general in nature. Candidates and others should refer to the specific wording of the Act and Regulations and seek independent legal or other advice on any issues of interpretation that may arise.