10 September 2023

Financial disclosure returns for Canberra's politicians and parties released

| Chris Johnson
Start the conversation
legislative assembly

Financial disclosure returns for members of the Legislative Assembly and Canberra’s political parties have been released. Photos: James Coleman.

The ACT Electoral Commission has released the 2022-23 financial disclosure returns for the territory’s political parties and for members of the Legislative Assembly.

The figures reveal that the Liberal Party has received the highest amount of cash donations, but the Labor Party topped the overall amount of contributions when gifts in kind, free use of facilities and other receipts are added to the total.

The ACT Liberals received cash donations of $256,771 in the last financial year, with total receipts coming in at $743,427.

ACT Labor had $56,820 in cash donations but totalled $1,366,401 in overall receipts.

In addition, the Liberals received $4326 in anonymous gifts, while Labor only received $1165 in anonymous gifts over the financial year.

The ACT Greens received $91,475 in gifts of money but only totalled $699,751 in overall receipts, plus $564 in anonymous gifts.

READ ALSO ‘Unwelcome interference’: Federal Senate committee recommends against Canavan bill to amend Territory’s Self-Government law

Cash donations for all parties dropped from the previous year’s receipts, most notably for the Greens who had $313,691 in gifts of money in 2021-22.

Canberra Liberals received $230,406 in cash donations in 2021-22, while Labor got $181,056 in cash gifts that year.

ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell said the financial disclosure returns for ACT political parties, MLAs and associated entities were available for public inspection on the commission’s website or in person at its Constitution Avenue offices.

“The returns show details of receipts, gifts, payments and debts related to political participants in the ACT for the last financial year,” Mr Cantwell said.

“The returns published on the website reflect the figures submitted by the political entities and are yet to undergo compliance and accuracy checks by the ACT Electoral Commission.”

The Minerals Council of Australia gave the Liberal Party $5760, while Precision Public Affairs gave it $5000.

MLAs and individual supporters across the three parties dominated various sums.

READ ALSO ACT Greens to ‘democratically’ elect leader as part of changes to party constitution

The ACT’s election funding, expenditure and financial disclosure scheme is administered by the ACT Electoral Commissioner and the staff of the commission, known as Elections ACT.

The election funding, expenditure and financial disclosure scheme, as defined in the Electoral Act 1992, consists of five components:

  • public funding of election campaign expenditure
  • limits on the amount of electoral expenditure that may be incurred
  • limits on the amount of anonymous gifts that may be received
  • prohibiting property developers, their close associates and persons on their behalf from giving gifts to political entities, and prohibiting political entities from receiving those gifts, and
  • disclosure of the financial transactions of registered political party groupings, MLAs, associated entities, candidates, third-party campaigners, and broadcasters and publishers.

Amendments to the Act have meant that from 1 July 2021, “a property developer or close associate of a property developer or a person acting on behalf of a property developer or a close associate” has been prohibited from giving a gift of any value to a political entity.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.