Candidate and Senate group disclosure information

Updated: 27 July 2022

Overview

Candidates and Senate groups have financial disclosure obligations related to a federal election. Further information about standing as a candidate is available:

Who lodges the election return?

The agent of a candidate or Senate group must lodge the return.

Where a candidate has not appointed an agent, the candidate is taken to be their own agent and will be responsible for lodging their own return.

Members of a Senate group which have been endorsed by the same registered political party, are not required to appoint an agent for the group or lodge a return. All receipts and expenditure of a Senate group should be included in the annual return of the party. However, individual members of a group may appoint an agent.

Members of a Senate group which have been endorsed by more than one registered political party (jointly endorsed Senate group) may appoint an agent for the group. If no appointment is made the person whose name appears first on the ballot paper is taken to be the agent.

Unendorsed Senate groups can appoint an agent for the group. If no appointment is made the person whose name appears first on the ballot paper is taken to be the agent for the group.

When is the election return due?

Completed Candidate and Senate Group Returns, including nil returns, must reach the AEC no later than 15 weeks after polling day.

The AEC will advise agents of their obligation to lodge the return. Agents should ensure their contact details recorded with the AEC are up-to-date.

What is required to be disclosed?

A candidate or Senate group in an election must disclose the following information in the election return:

  • donations received
  • electoral expenditure
  • discretionary benefits.

For the purposes of the disclosure period and restrictions on receiving foreign donations, a person is taken to commence being a candidate in an election or by-election 6 months before the earlier of:

  • the day the person announced they would be a candidate in the election or by‑election; or
  • the day they nominated as a candidate in the election or by-election.

A Senate group commences as a group in an election on the day that is 6 months before the day the members of the group make a request under the Electoral Act for their names to be grouped in the ballot papers for the election.

A person or group ceases to be a candidate or group 30 days after the polling day in the election.

Financial Disclosure Guide for Candidates and Senate Groups

The Financial Disclosure Guide for Candidates and Senate Groups is designed to help candidates and Senate groups understand their financial disclosure obligations under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

2022 Federal Election

Lodging an election return

The election return can be lodged through the eReturns portal.

The AEC will issue candidates and agents with a username and password.

For more information go to Lodge a financial disclosure return.

For important terms needed to complete annual returns, explore Financial Disclosure FAQs.

Further information and examples can be found in the Financial Disclosure Guide for Candidates and Senate Groups - 2022 Federal Election.

Record keeping

Candidates and Senate groups should have adequate financial recording systems and procedures to enable the election return, which will be publicly available, to be properly completed.

Relevant records must be retained for a minimum of 5 years following the end of the reporting period.

A person or entity who fails to comply with these requirements is subject to civil penalties.

Further information