Official Agents

Certain candidates and groups of candidates must appoint an official agent. The agent must be registered with the NSWEC (See Appoint and Register an Agent).

Candidates and groups of candidates who must appoint an official agent:

  • all candidates for local government elections (including a candidate who is a member of a group);
  • all groups of candidates for an election in a local government area or ward;
  • all candidates for State elections (including a candidate who is a member of a group) who are not members of a political party registered for State elections; and
  • all groups of candidates for a Legislative Council election where each member of the group is not a member of a political party registered for State elections.

In the absence of an appointed official agent the candidate is deemed to be their own agent.

In the absence of an appointed official agent for a group the head candidate is deemed to be the agent for the group.

If a candidate or group is required to appoint an agent it is an offence if they do not have an appointed agent.

Candidates and groups of candidates who are not required to appoint an official agent:

  • all candidates for State elections (including candidates who are members of a group) who are members of a political party registered for State elections
  • all groups of candidates for a Legislative Council election where the group members are all members of a political party registered for State elections

The party agent of a political party is the official agent for these candidates and groups of candidates. The party agent does not need to be appointed by the candidate or group of candidates.

If a candidate or group of candidates choose to appoint a person as official agent in place of the party agent, they must have written consent of the party agent.

Elected members may appoint an official agent. Appointed agents must be registered with the NSWEC (See Appoint and Register an Agent).

Elected members may appoint an official agent:

The following elected members are their own official agent unless they appoint another person as their official agent:

  • all local government councillors
  • all members of Parliament who are not members of a political party registered for State elections

For a member of Parliament who is a member of a political party that is registered for State elections:

  • the party agent of the political party is the elected member's official agent
  • the party agent does not need to be appointed by the elected member
  • the elected member may appoint a person as official agent in place of the party agent with the party agent's written consent. The elected member must register the appointed official agent with the NSWEC.

Third-party campaigners that apply to be registered with the NSWEC must appoint an official agent. Appointed agents must be registered with the NSWEC (See Appoint and Register an Agent).

Third-party campaigners required to appoint an official agent:

All third-party campaigners applying to be registered with the NSWEC are required to appoint an official agent.

If a person or entity applies to be registered as a third-party campaigner the NSWEC will reject the application for registration if an official agent has not been appointed.

If at any time a third-party campaigner does not have an appointed official agent the NSWEC will designate a person as official agent.

Responsibilities of official agents

Official agents (including those who are not appointed agents) have legal obligations including:

  • accept all political donations (donations must not be accepted until a candidate, group or third-party campaigner is registered for the election with the NSWEC)
  • keep complete and accurate records of all political donations regardless of size or value (See Record Keeping)
  • deposit all political donations into the campaign account (unless a campaign account is not required – see Campaign Account)
  • record the names and addresses of those who make a reportable political donation
  • issue a receipt to those who make a reportable political donation
  • must not accept unlawful political donations
  • ensure political donations are only used to incur electoral expenditure or to reimburse a person for incurring electoral expenditure or for any other authorised purpose
  • maintain proper records of all loans received

Find out more about political donations.

  • make payments for all electoral expenditure (payments for electoral expenditure cannot be made until a candidate, group or third-party campaigner is registered for the election with the NSWEC)
  • keep proper records of all electoral expenditure regardless of value (See Record Keeping)
  • make payments for electoral expenditure from the campaign account (unless a campaign account is not required – see Campaign Account)

Find out more about electoral expenditure.

  • disclose all political donations annually to the NSWEC
  • provide to the NSWEC a copy of all receipts issued to those who made a reportable political donation
  • disclose all electoral expenditure annually to the NSWEC
  • for electoral communication expenditure, provide to the NSWEC a copy of all invoices or receipts and a copy of the advertising or printed material to which the expenditure relates
  • ensure disclosures are certified by a registered company auditor (unless NSWEC exempted) (See Audit Requirements)

Find out more about disclosures.

  • open a campaign account (only with a bank, building society or credit union) in the name of a candidate or group of candidates for an election before $1,000 in political donations are accepted/electoral expenditure is incurred during an election period
  • operate the campaign account only for authorised purposes
  • appoint another person, in writing, to deposit political donations into, and make payments for electoral expenditure from, the campaign account
  • pay NSWEC public funding payments into the campaign account
  • close the account when it is no longer required with the surplus funds distributed as required – see Campaign Account
  • before lodging a claim for payment with the NSWEC, have the expenditures reviewed by a registered company auditor
  • lodge a claim for payment on behalf of a party, elected member, candidate or group that is eligible to receive public funding

Find out more about public funding.

  • notify the NSWEC in writing if agent details change
  • notify the party, elected member, candidate, group or third-party campaigner if you resign

Find out more about registration.