The Electoral Reform (Electoral Funding) Act 2006
The Electoral Reform (Electoral Funding) Bill 2006 received the Royal Assent on 26 October 2006 making it an Act of Parliament. The Electoral Reform (Electoral Funding) Act 2006 came into effect on the day after receiving the Royal Assent. It introduces amendments into Part VI of the Electoral Act 1907, providing for electoral funding of political parties and candidates.
Reimbursement of Electoral Expenditure
Any candidates at a State election or by-election can apply to be reimbursed for electoral expenditure incurred, subject to them receiving more than 4% of first preference votes. First preference votes do not include any informal votes.
Payments for all candidates endorsed by a registered political party can be made if candidates collectively poll over 4% of the total number of eligible votes at the combined elections in each contested electorate. Candidates included in a Legislative Council group can receive payment if the group as a whole polls over 4%.
Amount to be reimbursed
For each eligible candidate, the 'election funding reimbursement amount', calculated under section 175LC(2) of the Electoral Act 1907, is to be paid to that candidate for each valid first preference vote received in an election. This amount is $1.73302 as at 1 July 2012, and is adjusted annually, in line with CPI.
If actual eligible electoral expenditure incurred by that candidate or group is less than the amount that would be paid using the above calculation, then this lesser amount is the amount to be reimbursed. Eligible electoral expenditure is defined at section 175 of the Electoral Act 1907.
Lodgement of claims and payment
Payment will be made following the production of details of expenditure on an 'approved form'. This form should be lodged with the Electoral Commission within 20 weeks after polling day. The form should be lodged by the agent of the registered political party which endorses the candidate, or by the agent of the candidate, or the candidate themselves if the candidate is an unendorsed candidate without an agent appointed. Claims for Legislative Council groups are made by the agent of the political party, or for those groups not endorsed by a party, by the agent of the group. Claims for more than one candidate from the same party for the same polling day must be lodged as one claim.
Payment is made to the political party for endorsed candidates and endorsed candidates included in Legislative Council groups. Unendorsed candidates' payments are made to their agent or to themselves if no agent is appointed. For Legislative Council groups not endorsed by a registered political party, payment is made to the agent of the group.
Claims for payment on the 'approved form' are in addition to expenditure returns lodged by candidates, parties and groups under sections 175SA, 175SB and 175SC of the Electoral Act 1907 which are due within 15 weeks after polling day.
Payments made for a false claim, or made in error, can be recovered by the State through court proceedings (see section 175LH(4) and 175LI of the Electoral Act 1907).
Penalties for the lodging of false or misleading claims or information for the purposes of a public funding claim apply as follows:
- Party agent $15,000
- Person not being an agent of a political party $7,500
- Person supplying false information to another person who must lodge a return for the purposes of electoral funding $1,500