Electoral Expenditure

Electoral expenditure is expenditure for or in connection with promoting or opposing, directly or indirectly, a political party, or the election of a candidate or candidates or for the purpose of influencing, directly or indirectly, the voting at an election.

Electoral expenditure does not include:

  • expenditure incurred substantially in respect of an election outside of NSW,
  • expenditure on factual advertising of:
    • meetings held to select people for nomination as candidates for election, or
    • meetings held for organisation purposes of parties, branches of parties, conferences, committees or other bodies or branches of parties,
    • any other matter which predominantly involves the administration of parties or conferences, committees or other bodies of parties or branches of parties.

The NSWEC issues guidelines to give further examples of what is and is not electoral expenditure (See General Guidelines).

Certain electoral expenditure must be disclosed to the NSWEC by:

  • political parties
  • elected members
  • groups of candidates
  • candidates
  • third-party campaigners

(See Disclosure)

Electoral Communication Expenditure

Electoral communication expenditure is a sub-set of electoral expenditure.

Electoral communication expenditure is capped at State elections (See Caps on Electoral Expenditure).

Electoral communication expenditure incurred in connection with a State election may be reimbursed to an eligible political party or candidate (See Election Campaigns Fund).

Types of Electoral Expenditure

Electoral expenditure includes electoral communication expenditure and other electoral expenditure as shown in the following table:

Type of expenditure Description
Electoral Communication Expenditure
  • advertisements in radio, television, the internet, cinemas, newspapers, billboards, posters, brochures, how-to-vote cards and other election material,
  • production and distribution of election material,
  • the internet, telecommunications, stationery and postage,
  • employing staff engaged in election campaigns,
  • office accommodation for any such staff and candidates (other than a political party's campaign headquarters or the electorate office of an elected member),
  • travel and travel accommodation for candidates and staff engaged in election campaigns,
  • research for election campaigns (other than in-house research),
Other electoral expenditure
  • expenditure for fundraising for an election
  • auditing of campaign accounts
  • the use or acquisition of the following items (if the item is used within a 10 week period which includes election day and the item is disposed of, or the use terminated in that time, the expenditure is electoral communication expenditure):
    • motor vehicle
    • motor vehicle accessories
    • a vessel or aircraft used for navigation
    • televisions, radios and broadcasting equipment
    • electronic equipment for recording sounds or visual images
    • photographic equipment
    • computers and associated equipment and computer software
    • office furniture and equipment

The NSWEC issues guidelines to give further examples of what is and is not electoral expenditure (See General Guidelines).

Making Payments for Electoral Expenditure

A third-party campaigner, candidate or group of candidates must be registered with the NSWEC prior to making payments for electoral expenditure (See Registration). The official agent is responsible for making payments for electoral expenditure (See Agents).

Complete and accurate records must be kept of all payments for electoral expenditure including copies of the accounts or receipts for expenditure and copies of advertising and printed election material (See Record Keeping).

Payments for electoral expenditure may need to be made from a Campaign Account (See Campaign Account).

Caps on Electoral Expenditure

Electoral communication expenditure in connection with a State election is capped during the capped expenditure period for the election. Caps on electoral communication expenditure apply to:

  • political parties
  • groups of candidates
  • candidates
  • third-party campaigners

(See Caps on Electoral Expenditure)