This paper gives an overview of each state or territory political financing regime, followed by an account of the monitoring and disclosure provisions for political expenditure and donations.
The funding of elections and other formally structured political activity is a crucial consideration for modern democracies. It is not simply a question of how to manage the logistics of an election—maintaining electoral rolls, printing and distributing ballot papers, preparing polling booths, and so on—but also how best to support the work of political parties as key players in the democratic process.
There has been a plethora of attempts at electoral and political party funding reform in recent years, both in Australia and overseas. This Background Note seeks to describe how Australian states and territories regulate party political financing and fund election campaigns, and to give an account of the various reforms being contemplated or implemented by governments. Generally speaking, regulation both prescribes the mechanisms for the public funding of election campaigns and sets down rules for the monitoring and public disclosure of parties’ receipts and expenditures and political donations by individuals and others.
In this Background Note, each state or territory political financing regime is addressed on its own terms. Each jurisdiction section begins with an overview of the current arrangements that apply to the public funding of election campaigns. This is followed by an account of the monitoring and disclosure provisions for political expenditure and donations. An overview of each jurisdiction’s reforms—attempted or effected—completes the account. A separate companion Background Note details the political financing regime and reforms at the Commonwealth level.
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