Financial disclosure

Legislative Assembly disclosure requirements

Part 10 of the Electoral Act requires candidates, registered political parties and their associated entities, broadcasters and publishers, and certain donors to disclose information to the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC) regarding political contributions and electoral expenditure above certain thresholds.

The reporting thresholds for the Northern Territory are lower than under Commonwealth legislation.

All disclosure returns are made available for public inspection on this website.

NOTE: The NTEC has prepared a number of handbooks and forms to assist parties, candidates, donors and other affected persons to comply with the disclosure provisions of the Act. While the manuals are intended as a user-friendly guide to the disclosure requirements, they do not substitute for specific legal advice on detailed compliance issues. Users are urged to seek their own independent advice where necessary.

Associated entities

What is an associated entity?

Part 10, section 176 of the Electoral Act defines an associated entity as an entity that:

(a) is controlled by one or more registered parties, or

(b) operates wholly or to a significant extent for the benefit of one or more registered parties.

Associated entities must lodge annual returns of receipts, payments, outstanding liabilities and capital contributions.

What is reported?

  • Total amounts received and paid during the year and outstanding liabilities at the end of the year.
  • From whom or on whose behalf payments of $1500 or more were received including multiple payments and gifts-in-kind.
  • From whom or on whose behalf liabilities totalling $1500 were incurred including multiple liabilities.
  • Who contributed capital to the entity in the reporting year and the amount contributed.

Reporting period/due date for lodgement

  • Reporting is by financial year (July – June).
  • Returns are due within 16 weeks after the end of the financial year.
  • Returns are available on this website from 1 March following the due date.

NOTE:

  • Returns must be lodged by the financial controller of the associated entity (company secretary if company, trustee if trust, otherwise the person responsible for financial records).
  • The onus is on the person disclosing to get it right.
  • Returns must show gross transactions for example receipts and payments, not just net outcome.
  • Disclosure amounts are inclusive of GST.
  • A nil return is required even if there is no expenditure.

Electoral Act reference: Part 10, Division 5, section 208

Donations to associated entities

People and organisations making donations to associated entities may be required to submit a return – more information is available below under 'Donations to political parties and candidates'.

Forms and Handbook

Broadcasters and Publishers

Broadcasters and publishers must lodge an election return after each NT Legislative Assembly (LA) election and by-election.

What is reported?

  • Details of all electoral advertisements broadcast during a LA election or by-election.
  • Details of all electoral advertisements published during a LA election or by-election.

Reporting period/due date for lodgement

  • Returns are due eight weeks after election day.
  • Returns are available for inspection on this website from the start of the twenty-fifth week after election day.

NOTE:

  • The onus is on the person disclosing to get it right.
  • A return is not required if the total for all advertisements broadcast or published is less than $1000.
  • The return should show sufficient information regarding each ad placement to allow the NTEC to follow up for checking against candidate and party returns.
  • Disclosure amounts are inclusive of GST.
  • Details of advertisements for parties or candidates broadcast or published at no charge, or below commercial rates, are regarded as donations and separate reporting is required – more information is available below under 'Donations to political parties and candidates'.

Electoral Act reference: Part 10, Division 4, section 202

Candidates

Candidates at NT Legislative Assembly (LA) elections and by-elections must lodge an election return stating details of all electoral expenditure incurred.

A return MUST be completed and lodged even if the candidate has nothing to disclose (i.e. Nil return).

What is reported?

  • Total gifts with details of each person or organisation donating $200 or more.
  • Total number of persons and organisations who made gifts.
  • In-kind gifting of goods, assets and services that were free or below true market value – except volunteer work.
  • Details of loans of $1500 or more.
  • Details of all expenditure according to categories (broadcasting, publishing, display advertising, campaign material, direct mailing, opinion polling/research).

Reporting period/due date for lodgement

Reporting period commences:

  • For an independent candidate – on the day candidature is announced or the day nominated, whichever is earlier.
  • For a newly endorsed party candidate – from the date of endorsement.
  • For a candidate from the previous election nominating again – 30 days after the previous election day.

For all candidates:

  • Reporting period ends 30 days after election day.
  • Return must be lodged within 15 weeks of election day.
  • Returns are available for inspection on this website from the start of the twenty-fifth week after election day.

NOTE:

  • Candidates must appoint a reporting agent.
  • The onus is on the person disclosing to get it right.
  • If endorsed by a registered political party, donations and expenditure made to the party are reported by the party and not by the candidate.
  • It is illegal to accept donations of $200 or more anonymously.
  • Disclosure amounts are inclusive of GST.
  • There is no limit on donations or expenditure.
  • A nil return is required even if there is nothing to disclose.

Electoral Act reference: Part 10, Division 4, section 200

Donations to candidates

People and organisations making donations to candidates may be required to submit a return – more information is available below under 'Donations to political parties and candidates'.

Forms and Handbook

Donations to political parties and candidates

Any person or organisation who donates to a registered political party, candidate or associated entity is required to lodge a financial disclosure return.

What is reported?

Donors must lodge annual returns showing:

  • Direct or indirect donations to a registered political party of $1500 or more, and
  • Donations of $1000 or more received and used in whole or part to make party donations of $1500 or more.

Donors must lodge election returns showing:

  • Donations totaling $200 or more to a candidate or $1000 or more to parties and other organisations as gazetted by the NTEC.

Reporting period/due date for lodgement

Annual returns:

  • Must be lodged with the NTEC within 20 weeks after the end of the financial year where total donations are $1500 or more, and
  • Are available for inspection on this website from 1 March following the due date.

Election returns:

  • Must be lodged by 15 weeks after election day, and
  • Are available for inspection on this website from the start of the twenty-fifth week after election day.

NOTE:

  • The onus is on the person disclosing to get it right.
  • Disclosure amounts are inclusive of GST.
  • Donations to more than one party can be reported together in the one return.
  • Donations include:
    • Donations of cash and gifts-in-kind.
    • Payment for attendance at events including fundraisers that for strictly commercial reasons would not be a donation.
    • Payment for access to government ministers and senior party officials.
    • Indirect payments to an organisation for passing on to a party including payments made in previous years.

Electoral Act reference: Part 10, Division 3, section 193 and 194

Forms and Handbook

Political parties

Registered political parties must lodge annual returns of receipts, payments, outstanding liabilities and capital contributions.

What is reported?

  • Total amounts received and paid during the year and outstanding liabilities at the end of the year.
  • Details of persons and organisations who donated or lent the party $1500 or more.
  • In-kind gifting of goods, assets and services that were free or below true market value – except volunteer work.

Reporting period/due date for lodgement

  • Reporting is by financial year (July – June)
  • Returns are due 16 weeks from the end of the financial year.
  • Returns are available for inspection on this website from 1 March following the due date.

NOTE:

  • Registered parties must appoint an agent for disclosure matters.
  • The onus is on the person disclosing to get it right.
  • Multiple payments collectively below $1500 do not need to be detailed, but over $1500 collectively must be detailed.
  • Anonymous donations of $1000 and loans of $1500 or more are illegal.
  • Disclosure amounts are inclusive of GST.
  • A nil return is required if there is no expenditure.

Electoral Act reference: Part 10, Division 5, section 205

Donations to political parties

People and organisations making donations to political parties may be required to submit a return – more information is available above under 'Donations to parties and candidates'.

Forms and Handbook

Local Government (Council) disclosure requirements

There is no legislative requirement to disclose campaign expenditure or donations received for NT Local Government (Council) elections.