Changes to election funding and disclosure
THE Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on November 30, 2018 with changes in effect last week.
The FAD Reform Act introduces new laws that affect political parties, their associated entities and other non-party political actors. The FAD Reform Act:
■ Establishes a Transparency Register, which is intended to be a new ‘one-stop-shop’ for publicly available information
■ Prohibits donations from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises being used to finance public debate
■ Requires political actors to verify that certain donations come from: an organisation incorporated in Australia, or with its head office or principal place of activity in Australia; or an Australian citizen, Commonwealth elector or a New Zealand citizen who holds a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa
■ Prohibits other political actors from using donations from foreign sources to fund electoral expenditure
■ Limits public election funding to demonstrated election spending
■ Defines what activities of entities engaged in public debate will be captured by a requirement to register with the AEC and/or provide annual disclosure returns
■ Modernises the enforcement and compliance regime for political finance regulation
The FAD Reform Act represents the most significant change to funding and disclosure legislation in some time.
Refer to the AEC website for further information.