Election funding

Updated: 13 May 2019

After each federal election or by-election, the AEC distributes money to eligible political parties, candidates and Senate groups to reimburse them for electoral expenditure.

The Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018 introduced changes to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) which came into effect on 1 January 2019 in relation to the payment of election funding.

Eligibility and entitlement

Election funding is payable in relation to any candidate or group who receives at least four per cent of the total first preference votes in an election.

The value of the election funding entitlement is calculated by multiplying:

Automatic payment

The AEC will automatically pay an amount to the agent of each eligible political party, candidate, or Senate group, as soon as practicable after 20 days after the polling day for an election. The automatic payment amount is indexed every six months and its current value can be found on the election funding rates page.

Claims for payment greater than the automatic payment

In order to receive election funding of greater than the automatic payment a claim setting out electoral expenditure incurred must be lodged with the AEC by the agent of the eligible political party, candidate, or Senate group.

Payment of election funding is limited to the lesser of:

  • the calculated election funding entitlement; or
  • the amount of demonstrated electoral expenditure.

Lodging a claim

A claim, using the approved election funding claim form, must be lodged with the AEC:

  • no earlier than 20 days after polling day; and
  • no later than six months after polling day.

An agent may make:

  • an interim claim;
  • a final claim; or
  • an interim claim followed by a final claim (only one interim and one final claim can be lodged).

Determining a claim

The AEC must decide whether to accept, in whole or in part, a claim for election funding within 20 days of receiving the claim. To the extent that the AEC accepts the claim, the AEC will pay the claim within this time period.

Funding will only be paid if the AEC is satisfied that the claimed electoral expenditure is accurate and unique.

Appeal mechanisms exist for instances where a final claim is refused in whole or in part.

Payment of election funding

The initial automatic payment will be paid directly to agents.

Subsequent funding will be paid, based on an accepted claim, to the person or persons specified in that claim and not automatically to agents.

The amount payable will be calculated as the lesser of:

  • the calculated election funding entitlement; or
  • the amount of demonstrated electoral expenditure.

The payment will be reduced by the amount that has been paid as an automatic payment.

Record keeping

Records in relation to a claim for election funding will be required to be kept for five years following polling day.

Publication of election funding determinations and refusal notices

The AEC must publish claim determinations, refusals and reconsiderations on the Transparency Register.

Further information

Refer to the election funding guide and the election funding video for further information on making a claim for election funding including who can make a claim, what can be claimed, details required to prepare a claim, payment arrangements and retention of records.

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