Q1.1 How do I register as a candidate for a State election?
Candidates register by completing the Application for Registration of a Candidate for a State Election or By-election (pdf) form and lodging it with the EFA by nomination day for the election you are registering for.
Q1.2 Is it compulsory for me to register as a candidate for a State election?
All candidates and groups of candidates must register with the EFA and appoint an official agent before receiving any political donations or incurring any electoral expenditure for the election. Candidates and groups of candidates who are not required to register before nomination day will be deemed registered once nomination occurs.
Q1.3 We are forming a group to contest a State election. How do we register our group?
Groups can register by completing and lodging the Application for Registration of a Group of Candidates for a State Election or By-election (pdf) form and lodging it with the EFA by nomination day for the election you are registering for.
Q1.4 Is it compulsory for our group to register for a State election?
All candidates and groups of candidates must register with the EFA and appoint an official agent before receiving any donations or incurring electoral expenditure.
Q1.5 I am a member of a group. Do I need to register as a candidate for the upcoming State election?
Yes all candidates of the group must also register as candidates with the EFA and appoint their own official agent prior to receiving any donations or incurring any electoral expenditure.
Q1.6 When do registrations close for a State election?
Candidates and groups can register with the EFA prior to receiving a political donation or incurring electoral expenditure or at any time up to the nomination day of the election they want to register for. Candidates and groups who do not register with the EFA will be deemed to be registered upon nomination.
Note: Registration as a candidate with the EFA is separate to being nominated as a candidate to contest the election. For more information about nominating for the election visit the New South Wales Electoral Commission website www.elections.nsw.gov.au (External website).
Q2.1 What is the difference between a party agent and an official agent?
A party agent is an agent for a political party. Party agents are responsible for meeting the election funding and disclosure obligations of the party in accordance with the Act and Regulation.
An official agent is an agent for a candidate, group or an elected member. Official agents are responsible for meeting the election funding and disclosure obligations of the candidate, group or member in accordance with the Act and Regulation.
Q2.2 Is it compulsory for me as a candidate to appoint and register an official agent for a State election or By-election?
Yes, all candidates must appoint an official agent for a State election or By-election lodging the Appointment of Official Agent for a Candidate (pdf) form, unless the candidate is a member of a registered political party. In this case, the party agent of the party of which the candidate is a member is the candidate's official agent.
Q2.3 Is it compulsory for our group to appoint and register an official agent for a State election or By-election?
Yes, all groups must appoint an official agent for a State election or By-election lodging the Appointment of Official Agent for a Group of Candidates (pdf) form, unless the members of the group are members of a registered political party. In this case, the party agent of the party of which the candidates are members is the official agent for the group.
Q2.4 I am a member of a group for a State election or By-election. Do I need to appoint an official agent?
Yes, all candidates must appoint an official agent for a State election (even if a candidate is a member of a group) unless a candidate is a member of a registered political party.
Q2.5 Can anyone be an official agent or party agent?
No. A person can only be appointed as an official agent or party agent if they:
The EFA has developed an online official agent training program which is available from this website. Prospective agents must register for the training program. They will be issued with a user name and password to access the training program.Only those who have successfully completed the training can be appointed and registered as an official agent.
Q2.6 I am going to be a candidate at a State election or By-election. Can I be appointed as an official agent for other candidates or groups at the election?
If you are a member of a group you are not permitted to be the official agent for a candidate who is a member of the same group (the group must appoint an official agent for meeting their election funding and disclosure obligations).
You can be the official agent for other groups or candidates who are not in the same group. Candidates can be appointed as an official agent as long as they:
Q2.7 Does a person have to complete the training program before being appointed and registered as an official agent?
The following people are not required to undertake the training program:
Q2.8 How to I appoint my Official Agent?
After the prospective Official Agent has successfully completed the online training, the candidate or group can appoint the person as their agent by completing and lodging the Notice of Appointment of Official Agent (pdf) form. When the EFA receives the form the agent is officially registered as an official agent for the candidate or group that appointed them.
Q3.1 I am a candidate at a State election or By-election. Am I allowed to accept political donations?
You can only accept political donations if:
Q3.2 We are forming a group for a State election or By-election. Are we allowed to accept political donations?
Your group can only accept political donations if:
Q3.3 What do I do when a person gives me a political donation?
A political donation to or for the benefit of a candidate or group can only be accepted if the candidate or group is registered with the EFA and has appointed an official agent. Reportable political donations to a candidate or group can only be accepted by an official agent. When an official agent receives a reportable political donation they must:
Note: candidates and groups who do not receive $1,000 or more in political donations or spend $1,000 or more in electoral expenditure are not required to have a campaign account. Political donations can only be used to incur electoral expenditure or to reimburse a person for incurring electoral expenditure (or for any other approved purpose under the Act).
Q3.4 Can I use any type of receipt?
Official agents of candidates and groups must use the receipt/acknowledgement slips from a Receipt and Acknowledgement book issued by the EFA upon registration. Contact the EFA to obtain extra books.
The receipt comes in triplicate form. The original is given to the donor. The duplicate is to be kept by the official agent. The triplicate is lodged with the Disclosure of Political Donations and Electoral Expenditure form. There are 25 receipts in each receipt book.
Q3.5 What kinds of donations do I issue a receipt for?
Official agents are required to issue a receipt to each person that makes a reportable political donation to a candidate or group. Reportable political donations are those of $1000 or more. If a person or entity makes more than one donation to the same candidate or group in the same financial year, the donations are reportable if they add up to $1000 or more.
Official agents are advised to keep a record of donations received that are less than $1,000 in order to determine whether future political donations are reportable.
Q3.6 What details do I need to record about the political donations?
For each reportable political donation record:
Q3.7 Are there any restrictions on receiving political donations?
Yes, there are a number of restrictions, making certain kinds of political donations unlawful. It is unlawful for a candidate, group or official agent to accept a political donation (reportable or small), unless it is made by an individual whose name appears on the federal, state or local government electoral roll, the name and address of the individual are known to the candidate or group accepting the donation and there are no grounds to believe that the name and address provided are not true.
Q3.8 Am I allowed to accept 'in-kind' contributions or indirect campaign contributions?
It is unlawful for the official agent of a candidate or group to accept any of the following indirect campaign contributions if the value of the gift exceeds $1,000 or the total value of the items provided or done by the same person over the same financial year exceeds $1,000:
All other gifts in kind of any value may be accepted by official agents for candidates and groups as long as the details of the gift are recorded. A receipt/acknowledgement slip must be issued to the donor when they make reportable political donation in the form of an in-kind gift. In kind gifts and indirect campaign contributions must be disclosed as political donations by the candidate or group who received the gift. Volunteer labour or the incidental use of equipment that belongs to volunteers is not an in-kind gift.
Q3.9 How do I make payments for electoral expenditure?
Payments for electoral expenditure can only be made by the official agent from the campaign account of the candidate or group unless they are not required to have a campaign account.
Q3.10 Can candidates and groups pay for electoral expenditure with their own funds?
If a candidate or group is required to have a campaign account and they want to use their own funds to cover electoral expenditure, then they must deposit their own funds into that campaign account. Only the official agent can make payments for electoral expenditure from the campaign account. Candidates or groups can be reimbursed for money they paid into the account using the funds in the campaign account.
If a candidate or group is not required to have a campaign account then they may pay for electoral expenditure using their own funds. All electoral expenditure must be disclosed in a disclosure lodged by the official agent for the candidate or group.
Q4.1 Do all candidates and groups need a campaign account?
In most cases yes. If you accept more than $1,000 in political donationsor spend more than $1,000 or more in electoral expenditure you must open a campaign account. This is irrespective of whether you are using your own funds to pay for the expenditure.
Q4.2 Are there any requirements for the type and use of a campaign account?
The account is to be a separate bank account with a bank, building society or credit union. The campaign account must belong to the candidate or group and the official agent must be authorised to operate the account (i.e. deposit political donations and make withdrawals or payments for electoral expenditure). Although a candidate or group may own the account, they must not operate the account other than for depositing their own funds.
Q4.3 What can I use the campaign account for?
The campaign account can only be used for the following purposes:
Q5.1 What records are candidates and groups required to keep?
The official agent of the candidate or group must keep the following accounting records in respect of an election campaign:
Q5.2 How long should records be kept for?
All accounting records for an election campaign must be kept for at least three years following an election.
Q6.1 When does the disclosure period start and end?The first disclosure period for a candidate is the twelve month period in which you become a candidate and ends on 30 June. The first disclosure you lodge after the end of that disclosure period must include all political donations received and electoral expenditure incurred from:
The first disclosure period for a group is the twelve month period in which you become a group and ends on 30 June
Q6.2 When do I need to submit my disclosures by?
Disclosures for the period ending 30 June are required to be lodged with the EFA between 1 July and 22 September. Disclosures cannot be lodged early, ie before 1 July.
Q6.3 I am a member of a group at a State election or By-election. Do I have to lodge my own disclosure?
Your official agent is required to logde your disclsoure. The official agent for each candidate who is nominated as a candidate for an election must lodge a disclosure on behalf of the candidate even if the candidate is a member of a group.
Q6.4 I will not accept any political donations or incur any expenditure. Do I have to lodge a disclosure?
Your official agent will logde a 'nil' disclosure.
Q6.5 I am a member of a group and I contributed my own funds to the group. Do I have to disclose this information?
Yes. A candidate who is a member of a group and who contributes their own funds to the group must disclose this amount as a political donation made to the group. This is because the candidate has disposed of their own money for the benefit of the group. The official agent for the group is required to disclose the receipt of the money as self funding of the group.
Q6.6 I am a candidate endorsed by a registered political party. Political donations are only made to my party and my party pays for all the campaign expenditure. How are the donations and expenditure disclosed?
The party agent of the party is required to disclose the political donations received and the electoral expenditure incurred by the party on the party's disclosure. The official agent for the candidate must lodge a 'nil' disclosure.
Q6.7 Who is responsible for lodging a disclosure?
In the case of a party – the party agent.
In the case of a candidate – the official agent of the candidate.
In the case of a group – the official agent of the group.
Q6.8 Do I have to disclose the details of all donations?
No. You must disclose details of all reportable political donations (ie donations of $1,000 or more). For non-reportable political donations (ie those less than $1,000) you must declare how many of these donations you received and the total value of the donations.
Q6.9 Do I have to disclose any loans that I received?
You are required to disclose the details of any reportable loans you receive. A reportable loan is a loan (or total in loans) of $1,000 or more from one source in the same disclosure period.
Unpaid accounts and invoices are also considered loans, and must be disclosed if the total value of any one account or invoice is $1,000 or more in one disclosure period. Loans from financial institutions are not reportable loans and therefore do not need to be disclosed.
Q6.10 Do I need to have my disclosure audited?
Yes. Candidates and groups must have their disclosure audited by a registered company auditor. The auditor is encouraged to follow the guidelines for registered company auditors published on the EFA's website.
Q6.11 Who can audit my disclosure?
Only registered company auditors can audit a disclosure. Registered officers and deputy registered officers of registered political parties, elected members, candidates, official agents and party agents are not permitted to audit a disclosure.
Q6.12 Do I need to provide any supporting documents when I lodge my disclosure?
Yes. The following items must be submitted with a disclosure:
Copies of receipt/acknowledgement slips issued to each person and entity, that made a small political donation or a non-monetary gift, can also be submitted, although it is not a requirement.
Q6.13 Where do I send my disclosure?
Disclosures can be posted to:
Election Funding Authority of NSW
GPO Box 4046
Sydney NSW 2001
Alternatively you can fax your disclosure to: (02) 9290 5410 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q7.1 Is public funding available for State elections?
Yes. Public funding is available for State elections. A candidate who contests a general election or a by-election are eligible to receive a payment if the candidate is registered with the EFA for the election as at election day; and either one or both of the following occur:
Q7.2 How do I make a Claim for Payment?Funding is a reimbursement of electoral communication expenditure and is paid to eligible candidates after the election.
Your official agent (as applicable) must lodge a Claim for Payment for a Parliamentary Election form. The claim must be accompanied by a relevant Disclosure of Political Donations and Electoral Expenditure.
Q7.3 Should I have my Claim for Payment audited?
All claims for payment must be audited by a registered company auditor before they are lodged with the EFA.
Q7.4 We are a group contesting an election for the Legislative Council. Are we eligible for public funding?
No. Public funding is only available to candidates within the group.