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A Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and for related purposes
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 04 Sep 2023
Introduced HR 04 Sep 2023
Table of contents.

2022‑2023

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Bill 2023

 

No.      , 2023

 

(Ms Sharkie)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............................ Short title............................................................................ 1

2............................ Commencement.................................................................. 1

3............................ Schedules............................................................................ 2

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                3

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         3

 

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Act 2023.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

The first 1 July to occur after the day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Schedules

                   Legislation that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1Amendments

  

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Subsection 287(1) (definition of disclosure threshold)

Repeal the definition (including the note), substitute:

disclosure threshold means $1,000.

2  Subsection 287(1) (definition of gift)

Repeal the definition, substitute:

gift has the meaning given by section 287AAA.

3  After section 287

Insert:

287AAA  Meaning of gift—general

                   In this Part, gift:

                     (a)  subject to paragraph (b), means:

                              (i)  any disposition of property made by a person to another person, being a disposition made without consideration in money or money’s worth or with inadequate consideration; or

                             (ii)  the provision of a service (other than volunteer labour) for no consideration or for inadequate consideration; or

                            (iii)  without limiting subparagraph (ii)—the provision of professional services, by an individual who is a member of the relevant profession, for no consideration or for inadequate consideration; or

                            (iv)  an amount paid by a person as a contribution, entry fee or other payment to entitle that or any other person to participate in or otherwise obtain any benefit from a fundraising venture or function if the amount forms part of the proceeds of the venture or function; or

                             (v)  something that is a gift under section 287AAB or 287AAC; and

                     (b)  does not include:

                              (i)  a payment under Division 3; or

                             (ii)  an annual subscription paid to a political party, to a State branch of a political party or to a division of a State branch of a political party by a person in respect of the person’s membership of the party, branch or division; or

                            (iii)  any visit, experience or activity provided for the purposes of a political exchange program.

287AAB  Meaning of gift—gifts to political entities

Scope of this section

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  for the dominant purpose of promoting a political entity for political office, a person:

                              (i)  incurs electoral expenditure; or

                             (ii)  gives a gift‑in‑kind to the political entity; and

                     (b)  the value of the electoral expenditure or gift‑in‑kind (less any consideration) is more than $1,000;

the electoral expenditure or gift‑in‑kind is taken to be a gift made by the person to the political entity.

             (2)  However, a reference in this Part to the political entity receiving a gift does not include a reference to receiving a thing that is taken to be a gift only because of subsection (1) if:

                     (a)  the political entity does not know:

                              (i)  that the thing is done; or

                             (ii)  the matters mentioned in paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) in relation to the thing; and

                     (b)  this lack of knowledge is reasonable in the circumstances.

             (3)  A reference in this section to electoral expenditure incurred, or a gift‑in‑kind given, by a person includes a reference to electoral expenditure incurred, or a gift‑in‑kind given, by a person on behalf of the members of an unincorporated association.

             (4)  For the purposes of this section:

                     (a)  a thing done for the dominant purpose of promoting a registered political party is taken not to be done for the purpose of promoting:

                              (i)  a State Branch of that party; or

                             (ii)  a candidate endorsed by that party; and

                     (b)  a thing done for the dominant purpose of promoting a State Branch of a registered political party is taken not to be done for the purpose of promoting a candidate endorsed by that State Branch; and

                     (c)  a thing done for the dominant purpose of promoting a group is taken not to be done for the purpose of promoting a candidate in an election; and

                     (d)  it does not matter whether a political entity knows the identity of the person who does a thing.

287AAC  Meaning of gift to member of Parliament

Scope of this section

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  for the dominant purpose of promoting a member of the Commonwealth Parliament for political office, a person:

                              (i)  incurs electoral expenditure; or

                             (ii)  gives a gift‑in‑kind to the member; and

                     (b)  the value of the electoral expenditure or gift‑in‑kind (less any consideration) is more than $1,000;

the electoral expenditure or gift‑in‑kind is taken to be a gift made by the person to the member.

             (2)  However, a reference in this Part to the member receiving a gift does not include a reference to receiving a thing that is taken to be gift only because of subsection (1) if:

                     (a)  the member does not know:

                              (i)  that the thing is done; or

                             (ii)  the matters mentioned in paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) in relation to the thing; and

                     (b)  this lack of knowledge is reasonable in the circumstances.

             (3)  A reference in this section to electoral expenditure incurred, or a gift‑in‑kind given, by a person includes a reference to electoral expenditure incurred, or a gift‑in‑kind given, by a person on behalf of the members of an unincorporated association.

             (4)  For the purposes of this section:

                     (a)  a thing done for the dominant purpose of promoting a registered political party or a State Branch of a registered political party is taken not to be done for the purpose of promoting a member of the Commonwealth Parliament who belongs to that party or State Branch; and

                     (b)  it does not matter whether a member of the Commonwealth Parliament knows the identity of the person who does a thing.

4  Subsection 314AC(2)

Repeal the subsection.

5  Section 321A

Repeal the section.

6  After subsection 384A(1)

Insert:

          (1A)  The pecuniary penalty that a court may impose under the Regulatory Powers Act on a body corporate that has contravened a civil penalty provision of this Act must not be more than 5 times the pecuniary penalty specified for the civil penalty provision.