Australian Electoral Commission

Annual Returns

Glossary of Terms

The definitions listed below have been included specifically for the Annual Returns Locator Service. For more comprehensive guidelines and explanations of the Federal Disclosure Scheme, please refer to the Financial Disclosure Guides.

Associated Entity: An associated entity is an organisation that is either:
  • controlled by; or
  • operates wholly or to a significant extent for the benefit of; or
  • is a financial member of; or
  • on whose behalf a person is a financial member of; or
  • has voting rights in; or
  • on whose behalf a person has voting rights in
a political party.

Organisations that commonly fall within this definition include companies which hold assets for a political party, investment/ trust funds, fundraising organisations, groups, clubs, registered industrial organisations affiliated to a political party and corporate members of a political party.

The scope of the definition of associated entity was expanded by the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006 to include entities that are:
  • financial members of; or
  • on whose behalf a person is a financial member of; or
  • have voting rights in; or
  • on whose behalf a person has voting rights in
a political party.

The new definition came into effect on 23 June 2006.

For the Financial Year 2005-2006, annual returns from entities that met the new definition need only cover the period 23 June - 30 June 2006.

For the Financial Year of 2006-2007, and thereafter, annual returns from entities that meet the new definition will need to cover the full financial year period.

Debts: An amount of money owed by a Political Party or Associated Entity. Debts also include loans. All debt amounts disclosed in the return must show the gross amount.

Donation: The term donation is used on this website as it seems to be a more readily recognised term for users than the term 'gift'.

However, the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) uses the term 'gift'. 'Gift' is defined in section 287 of the Act as (in part) "any disposition of property made by a person to another person .....being a disposition made without adequate consideration in money or money's worth....". For example, money or a service for which no payment or an inadequate payment is received. It includes both cash and non-cash (gift-in-kind) donations. Commercial transactions (such as returns on shares, or interest on term deposits etc) are not treated as donations.

All donations disclosed in the return must show the gross amount.

Donor: Person or organisation making a donation to a Political Party.

Other Receipts: This term refers to those amounts received by a party or associated entity which do not meet the legislative definition of 'gift' (commonly referred to as donation). Examples of amounts which fall into the category of 'other receipts' are interest on investments, dividends on shares, market rate rent received on properties owned.

All other receipts disclosed in the return must show the gross amount.

Payments: Provision of money in return for the receipt of a service or asset. Payments include all payments made by the party or associated entity. No category of payment is to be excluded, and all payments disclosed must show the gross amount.

Political Expenditure: Expenditure on:
  • the public expression of views on a political party, a candidate in an election or a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate by any means;
  • the public expression of views on an issue in an election by any means;
  • the printing, production, publication or distribution of any material, in addition to that referred to above, that is required to be authorised under the Electoral Act;
  • the broadcast of political matter that are required to be authorised under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992; and
  • the carrying out of an opinion poll, or other research, relating to an election or the voting intentions of electors.
A disclosure return must be lodged by anyone incurring political expenditure that totals above the disclosure threshold for the financial year, except:
  • political parties and their branches;
  • most Commonwealth Departments and Agencies; and
  • members of, and candidates for, Federal Parliament.
This disclosure requirement was first introduced for the 2006/2007 financial year.

Political Party: A political party registered with the Australian Electoral Commission. (Registration with a State electoral office does not confer federal registration.) State/Territory branches of a registered political party are treated as separate registered parties for the purposes of the funding and disclosure provisions of the Act.

Public Funding: Funding made available to political parties and candidates from State and Commonwealth electoral bodies, under relevant legislation.

Receipts: The term 'receipt' is a generic term used to refer to all amounts received by the party or entity, irrespective of whether the amounts received are a donation or not.

The term 'receipt' is also sometimes used in the body of an annual return to indicate that the amounts are not a donation. For example, they are a general receipt earned from business or investment activities.

All receipts disclosed in the return must show the gross amount.

Related Party Grouping: A group of Parties that have registered with the Australian Electoral Commission as being structurally related to each other.

Subscription: The term subscription includes membership fees, affiliation fees or levies on members of parliament. All subscriptions disclosed in the return must show the gross amount.

Unspecified Receipts: This term refers to amounts that have not been identified in the relevant annual return as either a 'donation' or 'other receipt'. The AEC requests parties to separately identify donations from other receipts. However, it is not a legislative requirement for parties to do this. Therefore, not all parties separately identify donations from other receipts and the term 'unspecified' is used to indicate that no separate identification has been provided in the party's return. All unspecified receipts disclosed in the return must show the gross amount.

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This page last updated 30 August 2012 (Version: 2.0.72.23878)

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