Everything you need to know about gifts and crowdfunding when you are elected as a council member.
Both candidates and donors must disclose information about any election related gift with a value of $200 or more that was given or promised within the six-month period prior to the relevant election day. The reporting period for the 16 October 2021 elections commenced on 16 April 2021. Please also refer to Election campaigning.
A ‘gift’ includes:
A ‘gift’ does not include a gift by will, a relative, or item that does not relate to the candidate’s candidature, or the provision of volunteer labour.
The disclosure of a gift is to be made to the CEO of the local government. Information to be supplied includes the name of the candidate, the name and address of the donor, the date the gift was received (or promised), the value of the gift and a description of the gift.
In addition, any gifts from unidentified donors must be disclosed and provided to the CEO of the relevant local government for disposal.
Within three days of nomination, a candidate will need to disclose any gifts received in the relevant period prior to nomination and disclose any further gifts received thereafter. Details about each gift are to be submitted within three days of receiving the gift once a nomination has been made. Donors will also need to disclose any gifts made within the relevant period. Candidates should advise donors of their reporting responsibilities.
The disclosure period finishes three days after election day for unsuccessful candidates and on the start day for financial interest returns for successful candidates.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet. It is a popular option and there are several platforms for registration. Candidates can reach a broad range of people easily and cost effectively to boost election campaign funds by raising their profile in the community.
The same rules for disclosure apply to crowdfunding as with any other electoral gift. However, the technology can present additional risks as it may be difficult to verify the identity of donors or to refuse a gift when it is made anonymously. When setting up a donation page, candidates must clearly inform potential donors of the disclosure conditions, and ensure that enough information is collected via the platform to satisfy the requirements.
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