Obligations of a candidate

This information is for candidates in an election.

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

Candidates and agents

Unendorsed candidates may appoint an agent to manage their funding and disclosure obligations. The deadline for appointing an agent is at the close of nominations.

For candidates endorsed by a registered political party, the party’s agent is also the candidate’s agent.

For further information, visit our Appointing an agent page.

Summary of candidate obligations

The following list is a brief summary of your obligations. 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-in to 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).

Record keeping

You must keep records of gifts of $200 or more and loans of $1,000 or more received during the disclosure period (sections 130ZJ and 130ZK). For more information, visit our Records and evidence page.

Disclosure period

The disclosure period differs depending on the type of candidate. Visit our Glossary page for the definition of  ‘disclosure period’ for the different types of candidates.

Campaign donations 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.

Campaign donations returns are only required to be lodged during the designated period of an election. The first campaign donations return is due within 30 days of the start of the designated period.
For more information, visit our Reporting gifts and loans (candidates and groups) page.

Reporting political expenditure

If you have incurred more than $5,000 (indexed) in political expenditure during the capped expenditure period, you must lodge a capped expenditure period 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 political 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.

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:

  • Lodge a section 130Y certificate. Once a certificate has been lodged it cannot be withdrawn. By lodging a 130Y certificate, you agree to be subject to capped limits on your political expenditure. The capped limits are listed on our Political expenditure caps page.
  • Lodge a capped political expenditure return within 60 days of polling day.
  • Meet the payment qualification threshold.

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


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