Local Government Minister David Carter has announced changes to the provisions of the Local Electoral Act dealing with donations made to candidates in local body elections. The changes will be introduced in a new Bill in early October and enacted by May 2013, in conjunction with the Local Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.  

The new Bill will likely include the following changes:

  • Limiting the size of anonymous donations that a candidate can retain to $1500 (any excess is paid to the Electoral Officer and then paid to the local authority administering the election).
  • Expanding the definition of "anonymous" to include situations where the candidate could not reasonably know the donor's identity.
  • New requirements to improve disclosure and reporting obligations (including disclosure obligations on third parties receiving donations).
  • New penalties for non-compliance.