Saturdays Topic – The Paperwork
Every Party, every support group, every Third Party campaigner will have to follow the same form filling regime.
There must be ONE official in (called the Agent) charge of noting donations, authorizing expenditure and ensuring all Forms and Annual Returns are lodge and correct. In organizations with branch or disseminated power this will mean tearing up the structure to conform with Victorian Government demands.
There must be ONE bank account which receives and expends any money which is for Victorian electoral spending. The authorized official must be the controller of this bank account.
Every donation over $50 must be accompanied by a name of an Australian citizen and their electoral address, or an Australian Business with their ABN (Australian Business Number – used for GST).
The Party/group receiving the donations must track the individual donors so if they break $1,000 in a financial year that a Notification Form be sent to the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) within 21 days. The VEC will publish the name of each large donor on their website.
The Party/group must also remind the donor that they have broken the $1,000 a financial year limit and that the donor must now fill in a Notification Form to the VEC, again within 21 days of the breaking of the limit.
If any donation from a donor breaks a total of $4,000 to the Party/group within the period between any two State Elections the Agent must immediately inform the donor and the VEC and attempt to return the money to the donor. Monies not returned are forfeited to the Victorian Government.
Every donation above the $1,000 in a year requires a separate declaration and Form to be filed by both the Party/group and the donor.
CASE A – Joe Blog is a farmer , he regularly attends a business briefing run by the Deadly Serious Party (DSP), they charge $210 for the monthly breakfast and seminar, these seminars let him know about the laws that are proposed in Parliament that will regulate his business.
He starts attending in July 2019, after attending the October 2019 meeting the DSP informs Joe that he has donated $1,050 and must now lodge a Form as a large donor, the Party also must lodge a Form. The Party and Joe have to each send in a new Form after each months briefing for the rest of the financial year -Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun.
The same routine happens a year later. Forms in Dec 2019, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun 2020.
In January 2021 The DSP inform Joe he has breached the donation limit of $4,000 and they return $200 to Joe and inform the VEC of a breach. He cannot attend the briefings until December 2022 after an election which resets the donation limits.
CASE B – Elise Jones adores horses, she has always donated a monthly $100 to her favourite ‘Save the Horses’ (StH) campaign. But StH stated before the 2018 election that the ‘Slightly Serious Party’ didn’t like horses – no horse lover should support them. StH is now defined as a ‘Third Party campaigner’ under the newly enforced Act.
In April 2020 StH inform Elise that she has donated $1,000 in a financial year and must now lodge a Form and must do so for May, June of 2020.
The same routine in 2021. Forms for April, May, June of 2021.
In March 2022 StH email Elise that she has reached the $4,000 for an Electoral cycle and she must not attempt to donate to her favourite cause until December 2022, after the upcoming election.
Will having to endlessly fill forms make donation less likely ? Is it just a penalty for caring about what happens to your personal interests and causes ?
To break any of the above rules makes the donor and or the Agent and or the Party liable 200 penalty points (as of June 2018 200 points is [$158.57 x 200] $ 31,714 )
NOTES "Part 5—Amendments relating to political donations disclosure and reporting scheme 218A Offences in relation to disclosure returns and annual returns (1) A person who fails to provide a disclosure return or an annual return as required under this Part is guilty of an offence. Penalty: 200 penalty units. (2) A person who provides a disclosure return or an annual return as required under this Part that contains particulars that are, to the knowledge of the person, false or misleading in a material particular is guilty of an offence. Penalty: 300 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment or both. .