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Election funding and financial disclosure obligations are regulated by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) (Act).
Under the Act, a 'third party' (a person or organisation other than a political party, candidate, members of the House of Representatives or Senate, or a donor) or ‘political campaigner’ that incurs ‘electoral expenditure’ (that is, expenditure incurred for the dominant purpose of influencing the way electors vote in a Commonwealth federal election) may be required to lodge a an annual return with the AEC.
The fact sheet below provides information on these financial disclosure obligations for not-for-profit organisations. Note - the fact sheet is under review and we will publish an updated fact sheet soon.
Disclosure of charities’ electoral expenditure on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission register
Under recent amendments to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013, from 30 July 2021, the ACNC Commissioner will be required to include links on the ACNC register to the part of the AEC's Transparency Register which relates to disclosure of a registered charity’s political electoral expenditure. The Transparency Register includes details of a charity’s political donations used for electoral expenditure.
The Human Rights Law Centre has published a guide for not-for-profit organisations on complying with Commonwealth electoral laws.