Political donations

Political donations in Victoria

Video transcript

Political donation laws are in effect in Victoria. The Victorian Electoral Commission or VEC, is responsible for making sure people comply with the laws.

The laws apply to any person or organisation that gives or receives political donations.

A political donation is any gift to a person or organisation involved in state elections. A gift could be money, services, a loan or guarantee, and goods or property. This includes things like money given at a fundraising event, an office space loaned for an election campaign, or agency services provided free of charge for campaign design.

There are limits on the amounts that can be donated from a single donor to one recipient. The limits are amended every July over the 4 years between State elections. Asingle donor can donate to no more than 6 third-party campaigners. The donation limits are available on the VEC website.

Foreign donations are banned. This means only Australian citizens, residents and businesses can give political donations. Any person or business giving a donation that meets or exceeds the donation disclosure threshold must identify themselves.

The VEC will publish the details of donations on its website. Both donors and recipients must provide the VEC with these details within 21 days of giving or receiving the donation. This includes multiple donations that add up to the donation disclosure threshold.

Political donation recipients must also submit separate yearly reports.

To find out more about political donations in Victoria, just go to the VEC website vec.vic.gov.au or call 131832.

Part 12 of Victoria’s Electoral Act 2002 regulates political donations for State elections.

Banned donations

These donations are not allowed:

  • foreign donations (donations can only come from Australian citizens, residents or businesses)
  • anonymous donations of $1,170 or more
  • multiple donations from a single donor to a single recipient which, in total, exceed the general donation cap of $4,670 in the 4 years between state elections
  • donations to more than 6 third-party campaigners in the 4 years between state elections.

Disclosure rules at a glance

  • If you make or receive a political donation of $1,170 or more you must disclose it using our online system VEC Disclosures. You must do this within 21 days of the donation.
  • Small contributions (under $58) do not count towards the $4,670 general donation cap. It is an offence to make or receive multiple small contributions to deliberately avoid the disclosure threshold or general donation cap.

  • You must open and maintain a dedicated state campaign account if you are likely to make or receive political donations.
  • You must provide an annual return to us each financial year that you receive political donations. This must cover all political donations, expenditure and debts (exceptions apply).

The general cap, disclosure threshold and small contributions amount are indexed each year on 1 July. See the Indexation page for more information.

Disclose a political donation

What is a political donation?

A political donation is any gift made to:

  • political parties registered in Victoria
  • candidates at a Victorian State election
  • a group of Legislative Council (Upper House) candidates at a Victorian State election
  • an elected member of the Victorian Parliament
  • an associated entity operating in Victoria
  • a nominated entity of a political party registered in Victoria
  • a third-party campaigner operating in Victoria.

Gifts include:

  • money
  • services (including paid labour)
  • loans
  • guarantees
  • property (including a loan of assets).

Gifts do not include:

  • gifts made in a private capacity for personal use
  • annual subscriptions to political parties registered in Victoria
  • annual affiliation fees to political parties registered in Victoria
  • annual levies to political parties registered in Victoria
  • gifts between a registered political party and its nominated entity
  • gifts made for Commonwealth (federal) electoral purposes
  • volunteer labour
  • labour shared between branches
  • property used by a shared labour resource between branches (for example a telephone used by a worker).

Who can make political donations?

Any Australian citizen, Australian resident, and any organisation that has an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Who can receive political donations?

Any of the following:

  • political parties registered in Victoria
  • candidates at a Victorian State election
  • groups of Legislative Council (Upper House) candidates at a Victorian State election
  • elected members of the Victorian Parliament
  • associated entities operating in Victoria
  • nominated entities of political parties registered in Victoria
  • third-party campaigners operating in Victoria.

Can I see who has made or received political donations?

You can view donations made and received on VEC Disclosures. You do not need an account to view public donation information.

You can see:

  • who has made political donations
  • who has received political donations
  • the donation amounts
  • the date donations were made or received.

Donations before 2018 are not available as the legislation that requires us to monitor them had not yet been passed.

View political donations

Donations for local council elections

Donations to local council candidates are administered by the Victorian Local Government Inspectorate. Annual returns for councillors and local council candidates must be submitted to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the relevant local council.

Donations for federal elections

The Australian Electoral Commission is responsible for administering federal political donation and funding laws.

Record keeping

You must keep any records related to electoral expenditure, political expenditure, and donations.

You must keep these records for at least 4 years from:

  • the relevant election day (for any funding you receive from us)
  • the date of an online donation disclosure
  • the date you submit an annual return to us

Records must be kept in paper or electronic form. These records must be available if we require them. There are penalties for submitting false or misleading information.

Examples of related records include:

  • audit records, including statements and certificates
  • receipts
  • transaction records such as bank or credit card statements
  • deposit or cash books
  • receipt or acknowledgement books
  • financial journals or ledgers
  • payroll records.

You may need to keep these records for longer for other purposes, such as your tax obligations. You should consult a tax professional with any tax queries.

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Information for recipients

Learn more about recipients and their obligations.

Read more about recipients

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Information for donors

Learn more about donors and their obligations.

Read more about donors

More information

If you would like more information, are interested in attending a webinar or would like to receive updates, please sign up for funding and disclosure updates.