List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

2.33
The Committee recommends the Government reconsider introducing the term ‘political purpose’ into the Electoral Act 1918, having regard to potential confusions with the Charities Act 2013 in which the term has a divergent meaning.

Recommendation 2

2.34
The Committee recommends that the Government consider amending the definition of ‘political expenditure’ to define the type of expenditure which constitutes expenditure undertaken to influence voters to take specific action as voters, so as not to capture non-political issue advocacy.

Recommendation 3

2.56
The Committee recommends that instead of the categories of ‘third party campaigner’ and ‘political campaigner’ being established as registration thresholds, the Government consider establishing a publically available ‘Transparency Register’ be established that provides:
voluntary registration for all entities engaged in ‘political expenditure’;
mandatory registration for all entities engaged in activities that require disclosure of ‘political expenditure’ that reach a minimum ‘expenditure threshold’; and
disclosure obligations that are commensurate with levels of expenditure.
The registration process for the Transparency Register should be simple and provide access to additional support for registrants to fulfil their reporting obligations.

Recommendation 4

2.61
The Committee recommends that the Government consider setting expenditure thresholds for triggering increased reporting obligations under the proposed Transparency Register be set at a level that could reasonably be expected to have a significant impact on voter behaviour and that these obligations be proportionate to levels of expenditure.

Recommendation 5

2.65
The Committee recommends that the Government consider establishing a process that requires, prior to each election, all political parties to reaffirm their registration or be subject to automatic deregistration.

Recommendation 6

2.80
The Committee recommends that the Government reconsider the definition of ‘associated entity’ proposed in the Bill, and instead consider retaining the definition of ‘associated entity’ currently in the Electoral Act.

Recommendation 7

2.87
The Committee recommends that the Government consider introducing administrative action to support consistent compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, as amended, by third party entities.

Recommendation 8

3.30
The Committee recommends that the Government give consideration to replacing the definition of ‘allowable donor’ with a definition of ‘non-allowable’ donors.

Recommendation 9

3.36
The Committee recommends that the Government consider:
removing the potential requirement for statutory declarations for all gifts;
simplifying the process for entities to verify whether a donor is a non-allowable donor.

Recommendation 10

3.37
The Committee recommends that the Government consider removing the aggregation of donations received under the allowable amount, provided that appropriate anti-avoidance measures are implemented.

Recommendation 11

3.50
The Committee recommends the Government consider providing a legislative mechanism to give greater transparency of foreign funds that are moved through multiple organisations, whether they be charities, not for profits, industry associations or businesses, and to prohibit the use of such funds by way of political expenditure; noting the need to reach agreement on defining ‘political expenditure’ and noting the Australian Greens’ concerns that non-partisan issue based advocacy not be included in the definition of ‘political expenditure’.

Recommendation 12

3.83
The Committee recommends that the Government consider establishing a minimum expenditure threshold before requiring substantiation for public funding claims.
3.84
Subject to the above amendment, the Committee recommends that the proposals relating to public funding be agreed.

Recommendation 13

4.17
The Committee recommends that the Government consider reducing the proposed penalties in the Bill, and that penalties be proportionate to the type of breach displayed.

Recommendation 14

4.18
The Committee recommends that the Government consider:
an appropriate legislative mechanism whereby organisations which hold Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status which donate funds to another organisation in breach of their DGR obligations forfeit the right to DGR status; and
that any legislation include a mechanism to allow for a warning before removal of DGR status.

Recommendation 15

4.19
The Committee recommends that the Government appropriately resource both the Australian Electoral Commission and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to undertake a comprehensive education campaign for business, for industry associations, and for the charity sector on their obligations under the Electoral Act 1918.

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