Electoral Gifts

Candidates in local government elections must be aware of their legislative obligations in relation to the disclosure of gifts leading up to the local government elections. Part 5A of the Local Government (Elections) Regulations 1997 requires both candidates and donors to make disclosures in regard to gifts given to candidates during the specified disclosure period (being six months before Election Day, that is, from 21 April 2023).

Electoral gifts

A “gift” means a disposition of property, or the conferral of any financial benefit, made by one person in favour of another. It can include a gift of money, a gift which is non-monetary but of value, a gift in kind or where there is inadequate financial consideration such as the receipt of a discount (where the difference or the discount is worth more than $200.00). A “gift” could also include a financial or other contribution to travel, the provision of a service for no consideration or for inadequate consideration, and a firm promise or agreement to give a gift at some future time. A “gift” does not include a gift by will; a gift from a relative; a gift that does not relate to the candidate’s candidature; or the provision of volunteer labour.

Disclosure of electoral gifts

Both candidates and donors are required to disclose information about any electoral related gift (with a value of $200.00 or more) that is given or promised within the six month period prior to the Election Day. It is essential that candidates be aware of this legislative requirement and should advise donors of their reporting responsibilities.

Disclosure period

Within three days of nomination, any candidate in a local government election will need to disclose any gifts received within the disclosure period. The disclosure period commences six months prior to the Election Day. The disclosure period finishes three days after Election Day (for unsuccessful candidates) and on the start day for financial interest returns for successful candidates.

How a disclosure is made

The disclosure is to be made in the prescribed form and delivered to the Shire of Chittering Chief Executive Officer within three days of receiving the gift, once your candidate nomination has been made to the Returning Officer.

Donors will also need to disclose any gifts made within the relevant period. Information to be supplied includes the name of the candidate, the name and address of the donor, the date the gift was promised or received, the value of the gift and a description of the gifts available online.

Electoral Gifts Register

DATE DETAILS OF PERSON MAKING DISCLOSURE CANDIDATE OR DONOR DATE GIFT WAS MADE/RECEIVED/PROMISED DETAILS OF GIFT VALUE OF GIFT

Frequently Asked Questions

Can people who access the electoral gift register publish information within it?

Yes. However, it is an offence for a person to publish information derived from the electoral gift register if that information is not a fair or accurate summary of information contained in the register and is not published in good faith. It is also an offence for a person to publish comments on the facts contained in an electoral gift register unless that comment is fair and published in good faith.

The penalty for such an offence is $5,000.00.

Do the normal requirements on Elected Members in relation to gifts continue to apply to those Members who are candidates for a coming election?

Yes. However, the normal requirements for dealing with gifts, set out in the Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations 2007 and explained in this FAQs do not apply to electoral gifts disclosed in accordance with these FAQs.

Do the public have access to the electoral gift register?

Yes. Any member of the public has access to the register.

How do I determine the value of an electoral gift?

Valuing gifts can be particularly difficult if you are unfamiliar with the gift.  If you believe the value of the electoral gift falls close to $200.00, which would trigger disclosure, or if you are unsure of an electoral gift's value, an enquiry should be made to accurately identify the value.  In this case, you would probably need to ask the donor to identify the value and indicate that the Electoral Regulations require candidates and donors to disclose electoral gifts valued at $200.00 or more.

How do I disclose relevant electoral gifts?

The Chief Executive Officer has an electoral gift disclosure form, or alternatively these forms can be obtained from the Shire's website.  Ask the Chief Executive Officer or Executive Support Officer for one of these forms, complete it and return it to the Chief Executive Officer within the required time-frame.

How long is my disclosure kept in the electoral gift register?

For unsuccessful candidates, disclosures are removed from the register three days after election day, but are retained for a period of at least two years by the Chief Executive Officer.

For successful candidates, disclosures will remain on the register until the terms of office resulting from that election is completed.

The disclosures will be removed from the register at the conclusion of the term and retained for a period of at least two years by the Chief Executive Officer.

Over what period do relevant electoral gifts need to be disclosed?

The period for disclosing relevant electoral gifts commences six months before election day, and concludes:

  • three days after the election day, for unsuccessful candidates; or
  • on the start of the financial interests returns for successful candidates

What do I need to disclose?

Candidates will need to disclose the name and address of the relevant gift's donor, the date the gift was promised or received, the value of the gift and provide a description of the gift.

Donors of gifts are also required to disclose certain details about the gift.

What does "publish" mean?

The term "PUBLISH" in the Electoral Regulations captures the same acts as those which could lead to a charge of defamation.  It includes preparing articles, publishing adverts, making broadcasts, writing letters, oral utterances and the like.

What happens if I am offered and accept a relevant electoral gift as identified in "What types of gifts are covered by the electoral gift disclosure requirements?

If a candidate is promised or receives an electoral gift of $200.00 or more, or two or more electoral gifts worth $200.00 in total, the candidate must disclose the gift or gifts to the Chief Executive Officer.

A donor or a person giving a gift is also required to disclose the details of the gift or gifts to the Chief Executive Officer.

What happens if I can't provide all of the information I am required to disclose?

If a candidate or donor is unable to provide some or all of the information required, they should provide as much information as possible, indicate what information has not been provided and set out the reasons for not providing the required information. These reasons must be sufficient and appropriate in the opinion of the Chief Executive Officer.

A candidate providing sufficient and appropriate reasons will not be viewed as committing an offence through the non-provision of all relevant information.

What happens to be completed electoral gift disclosure?

Once received, all completed electoral gift disclosure forms are placed on the Shire's electoral gift register.

What is a gift for the purposes of electoral gift disclosure?

According to the Local Government (Elections) Regulations 1997, a gift means any disposition of property or the conferral of any financial benefit, made by one person in favour of another.

A gift can include a gift of money, a gift which is non-monetary but of value, a gift in-kind, the payment of an amount which is less than the item's worth or the receipt of a discount (where the difference or discount is more than $200.00 worth), financial or other contribution to travel, the provision of a service for either nothing or an inadequate amount and a firm promise or agreement to give a gift at some future time.

What is the penalty for the non-disclosure of relevant electoral gifts, the non-disclosure of required information about a relevant electoral gift or or disclosure outside of the required time-frames for disclosures?

There is a penalty of $5,000.00 in all instances.

What types of gifts are covered by the electoral gift disclosure requirements?

A gift is only relevant if:

  • the value of the electoral gift is $200.00 or more; or
  • the value of the electoral gift is less than $200.00, but the gift is one or two or more electoral gifts, with a total value of $200.00 or more, made by one person at any time during the period which begins six months before election day and ends just after election day as outlined under "What happens if I am offered and accept a relevant electoral gift as identified" here?

What types of gifts are excluded from the electoral gift disclosure requirements?

An electoral gift does not include:

  • a gift received through a will;
  • a gift from a relative (including a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece or other lineal descendant. It also includes your spouse or de-facto and the spouses or de-facto partners of any relative);
  • a gift that the candidate would have received notwithstanding his or her candidature; or
  • the provision of volunteer labour.

When do I need to disclose relevant electoral gifts?

A disclosure is to be made:

  • within three days of the receipt (or promise) of the gift, once you nominate; or
  • within three days of nomination, for gifts received (or promised) between the commencement of the six month period and the day of nomination.

Unless the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that the lodging of a disclosure has occurred outside the time periods above due to circumstances beyond the candidate's control.

Who is the actual source or donor of the relevant electoral gift?

The donor of an electoral gift, and the person who needs to be disclosed, is the person who is the original source of the gift.

The donor is not necessarily the person who delivers the gift to you because, sometimes, intermediaries or third parties become involved in the delivery of gifts.

Candidates who are unable to identify the true source of a gift will need to disclose to the Chief Executive Officer that the true source of the gift is unknown.