State Election 2020 : funding and disclosure compliance is 24/7/365

The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) reminds all election stakeholders funding and disclosure compliance laws apply and are scrutinised year-round, not just during election periods.

 

Commissioner Pat Vidgen said the ECQ’s role is to monitor compliance, investigate suspected breaches and, if found, enforce penalties according to the law.

 

“There are significant penalties for breaches of electoral disclosure laws, including a maximum penalty for knowingly making or accepting a prohibited donation of a $53,380 fine, or 2 years’ imprisonment,” he said.

 

“I remind candidates, political parties, third parties and associated entities that the law applies 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and 365 days per year, and actions taken within the election period are still answerable beyond the declaring of the election,” he said.

 

“Property developers must remember they are prohibited donors and it is an offence to donate to a registered political party.

 

“If anyone is unsure whether a business is a prohibited donor or a close associate, they can apply to the ECQ for a determination, or individuals can use the ECQ’s self-assessment tool available on our website.

 

“I strongly advise anyone who is unsure about their status to ask for a determination by the ECQ well before considering donating.”

 

Mr Vidgen said the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) recently issued an open letter to candidates citing key recommendations from Operation Belcarra including a ban on donations from property developers.

 

“I would reiterate the CCC’s request that candidates are vigilant in ensuring their actions do not compromise their integrity, so that confidence is maintained in our political and democratic processes.

 

“In addition to the ECQ’s ongoing compliance activities, the CCC will also be proactively collating information from various sources including donations being made to registered political parties and candidates to better understand whether these give rise to any new or emerging corruption risks.

 

“If evidence of a breach is provided to the ECQ either through referrals or discovered via self-generated audits, the ECQ will launch a confidential investigation.

 

“The ECQ does not discuss specific matters, nor will it confirm or deny if it is undertaking investigation or enforcement action.

 

“This prevents even inadvertent prejudice generated through media or public discourse.

 

“I say again, it is every donor’s responsibility to ensure they comply with the law and political parties and candidates must also ensure they do not accept prohibited donations,” Mr Vidgen said.

 

All donation and compliance information is available on the ECQ’s website, with specific details provided for political parties, candidates, third parties and associated entities.

 

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