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Changes to Australia's electoral laws.

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Media Release

16/2008 15 May 2008

Changes to Australia's Electoral Laws

The Government has today introduced legislation into the Senate amending a range of political donations and election funding measures in Australian electoral law.

The Bill contains changes to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 previously announced by the Government.

The package of measures in the bill amend the electoral law provisions for political donations and election funding, and will:

• Reduce the disclosure threshold for donors, registered political parties, candidates and others from ‘more than $10,000’ (indexed annually to the CPI) to a flat rate of $1,000. • Treat donations to different branches of a political party as donations to the same party, so that donors will need to disclose donations totalling $1000 or more to any combination of the branches of

the party. • Reduce the timeframes for the lodgement of returns by political parties to every 6 months, and shorten a range of other reporting periods under the Act. • Make it unlawful for registered political parties, candidates and members of a Senate group to accept

overseas donations, and unlawful for associated entities and other third parties to receive overseas gifts that are used solely or substantially to incur political expenditure. • Extend the prohibition on accepting anonymous gifts and donations for registered political parties, candidates and Senate groups to all anonymous gifts, and to also cover associated entities and

other third persons that use anonymous donations for political purposes. • Tie public funding for elections to genuine election expenditure, so that political parties and candidates do not make a windfall from public funding. • Introduce a range of new offences to the reporting and disclosure regime and increase the level of

penalties in the Act.

Senator Faulkner said that when passed, the new laws would bring tough new disclosure and accountability provisions to our electoral system, and would begin to restore integrity into Australia’s political funding and disclosure regime.

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