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Enhance the transparency of political donations and funding

Overall status:
On-track

Commitment

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?

The Commonwealth funding and disclosure scheme, established under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) specifies arrangements for the public funding of federal election campaigns, and the disclosure of funding source. The objective of the scheme is to provide transparency and inform the public about the financial dealings of political parties and candidates, and others involved in the electoral process.

The scheme requires relevant organisations and individuals to lodge an annual return with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Annual returns are published in PDF format on the AEC website at the beginning of February for the previous financial year.

Different arrangements apply to elections. Election disclosure returns are published by the AEC on its website 24 weeks after polling day.

The delay between transactions being entered into, and their disclosure, while consistent with the requirements of Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, detracts from transparency and affects the ability of the public to form judgements about political parties, candidates and other actors that seek to influence election outcomes, and to apply that knowledge in exercising their franchise. This is particularly the case in an election context where the voting public is not informed of donations or electoral expenditure prior to casting their votes.

What is the commitment?

Australia will investigate options for enhancing the timeliness and the accessibility of relevant information, through enhancing the electoral funding and disclosure scheme.

How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem?

Our ambition is to ensure the Commonwealth’s electoral funding and disclosure scheme provides for the improved timeliness and accessibility of relevant information, with regards to the financial dealings of political parties and candidates, and others in the electoral process. This will support increased transparency and increase public confidence in Australian democracy.

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?

This commitment will advance the OGP values of transparency and civic participation by giving due consideration to:

  • improving the accessibility of information provided to the public; and
  • providing the public with more frequent and timely information.

Additional information

JSCEM Inquiry page: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Electoral_Matters/2016Election  

Current status

On track

Contact

Resource Management Branch, Department of Finance: electoral.policy@finance.gov.au

Other stakeholders

State actors: Australian Electoral Commission

CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups: Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, interested CSO stakeholders.

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Implementation Period Status

JSCEM Inquiry and reporting

Inquiry into 2016 election including relevant terms of reference - Q4 2018 On-track

Government considers recommendations

Q1 2019- Q3 2019 Not yet commenced

Parliament and other relevant stakeholders consider Government decisions

Q1 2020- Q3 2020 Not yet commenced
Last updated: 21/09/2018

Comment

 

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