2023 NSW State election: Political participants bulletin No.2
Issued 4 November 2022
On this page
1. Election date
The 2023 NSW State election for the 58th Parliament of New South Wales will be held on Saturday, 25 March 2023.
2. Accessing important information
NSW Electoral Commission website
The NSW Electoral Commission website contains information about key election dates, being a candidate, funding and disclosure obligations, different voting options, voting centre locations, vote counting and election results. The website will be updated progressively as information is available.
The NSW Electoral Commission provides a help desk specifically for candidates who have questions in relation to their candidature or the election process.
The Candidate Helpdesk is operational Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The Candidate Helpdesk can be contacted on 1300 022 011 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Candidate information webinars
A series of webinars will be held for political participants in the lead up to the 2023 NSW State election. The first webinar was held on Tuesday, 27 September 2022. The topics covered were:
changes to electoral funding laws
funding and disclosure online
political donations and electoral expenditure
disclosures of donations and expenditure
pre-election donation disclosure period
allegations and offences.
Webinar 2 will be held at 11am Tuesday, 22 November 2022 and will cover the following topics:
registration of candidates
nomination of candidates
ballot papers and ballot paper draw
campaigning, cash donations, half-yearly political donation disclosures due for period ending 31 December 2022
electoral material rules and registration
postal vote applications
vote counting and election results.
Register your attendance
Each webinar will be recorded and published on the NSW Electoral Commission website, if you are unable to attend at the scheduled time. Face to face candidate information sessions will not be held. Information about subsequent webinars will be published on the NSW Electoral Commission website and in regular political participants bulletins.
4. Nomination as a candidate
To stand as a candidate and have your name included on the ballot paper for the election, you must lodge a completed nomination form and pay the nomination deposit during the period commencing Monday, 27 February 2023 and closing at 12 noon, Wednesday, 8 March 2023. Nominations will not be accepted after this time.
Registration as a candidate by the NSW Electoral Commission does not mean that a person is eligible to be nominated as a candidate for an election. Registration as a candidate or group is for the purpose of the candidate or group accepting political donations or making payments for electoral expenditure (see below for details about the registration process). Being nominated as a candidate is a separate process, the purpose of which is to have your name included on the ballot paper.
Candidates must be enrolled in New South Wales as at 6pm on the day the writs for the election are issued. They do not need to be enrolled in the district they are contesting. For example, a person enrolled in the Coffs Harbour district may nominate as a candidate in the Parramatta district.
Nomination Online Management System (NOMS)
The NSW Electoral Commission will provide its nomination online management system (NOMS) for the 2023 NSW State election. Candidates and registered political parties may use NOMS to prepare and lodge their nomination and grouping forms and to pay nomination deposits. NOMS will be accessible on the NSW Electoral Commission website from early February 2023. Although nominations can still be made using paper forms, candidates and parties are strongly encouraged to lodge their nomination online using NOMS.
Using NOMS will:
verify the enrolment of candidates and nominators
assist in minimising errors and ensure all compulsory sections of the nomination form have been completed
allow nominations to be partially completed and saved for lodgement at a later date (but no later than 12 noon, 8 March 2023)
allow registered political parties, administrators and groups to oversee and manage the progress of each nomination
allow for the nomination to be lodged and deposit paid online (Visa or Mastercard)
allow for automated messaging between the NSW Electoral Commission and the candidate or party concerning the acceptance or rejection of each nomination.
An overview of NOMS will be provided in the candidate information webinar to be held in February 2023. See information above about how to register to attend this and all future webinars.
For assistance using NOMS please call our Candidate Helpdesk 1300 022 011 or email email@example.com.
5. Registering for funding and disclosure purposes
Candidates and groups
NSW has strict electoral funding laws that regulate the election campaign finances of political participants at State elections. Candidates and groups must register for the election before accepting political donations or making payments for electoral expenditure.
Being registered as a candidate or group is a separate process to being nominated. To have your name included on a ballot paper you must lodge a nomination form and nomination deposit during the nomination period (outlined above).
Candidates and groups who are not registered must not accept political donations or make payments for electoral expenditure before being nominated. Once nominated, any candidate or group not registered before being nominated is taken to be registered and can lawfully accept political donations and make payments for electoral expenditure for the election.
Registration for the election is open now and closes on Wednesday, 8 March 2023.
Third-party campaigners must register for the election before making payments of more than $2,000 for electoral expenditure incurred during the capped expenditure period for the election (1 October 2022 to election day). Making payments when more than $2,000 is incurred without being registered is an offence under NSW electoral funding law.
A third-party campaigner must also appoint an official agent who is required to comply with disclosure and campaign account legal requirements on behalf of the third-party campaigner.
Registration for the election is open now and closes on Monday, 20 March 2023. Apply to register as a third-party campaigner and appoint an official agent, by completing and lodging the Application for registration of a third-party campaigner (EF.735) form with the NSW Electoral Commission.
The details of registered third-party campaigners and official agents are included in publicly available registers.
6. Managing your election campaign finances
Complete and accurate accounting and financial records of political donations and electoral expenditure must be kept for, or on behalf of, all political participants.
The party agent is responsible for managing the political donations and electoral expenditure of candidates who are members of a political party. Candidates who are not members of a political party are personally responsible for the management of their political donations and electoral expenditure.
Political participants may be required to use a campaign account to pay for their electoral expenditure and deposit political donations.
All electoral expenditure incurred by a party for the election campaign must be paid from the party’s State campaign account.
A candidate, including a candidate in a group, must open a campaign account before accepting $1,000 or more in political donations or incurring $1,000 or more in electoral expenditure. Groups must also open a campaign account before the group accepts $1,000 or more in political donations or incurs $1,000 or more in electoral expenditure. The campaign account must be used to pay for electoral expenditure and deposit political donations that are used to pay for that expenditure.
Third-party campaigners must open a campaign account before making payments for electoral expenditure during the capped expenditure period.
Caps on electoral expenditure
Caps apply to electoral expenditure incurred in connection with the election during the capped expenditure period. The caps apply to electoral expenditure of political parties and their associated entities, candidates, groups of candidates, and third-party campaigners.
The capped expenditure period commenced on 1 October 2022 and ends on election day. It is unlawful to incur electoral expenditure during this period that exceeds the applicable cap.
Disclosure of political donations and electoral expenditure
Political participants must disclose their political donations and electoral expenditure to the NSW Electoral Commission. Candidates and groups are required to make disclosures from the time they are registered for the election up to, and including, the relevant disclosure period ending 30 June 2023. If elected, you must also submit disclosures for the remainder of your term as an elected member. Criminal penalties may apply for non-compliance.
The pre-election donation disclosure period commenced on 1 October 2022 and ends on election day. During this time, all reportable political donations must be disclosed by political parties, elected members, candidates, groups of candidates, associated entities, and third-party campaigners within 21 days of being made or received.
A reportable political donation is a donation valued at $1,000 or more. It also includes multiple smaller donations made by the same donor to the same recipient in the 2022-23 financial year that, in total, are valued at $1,000 or more.
Political participants must also disclose political donations made and received every six months (except those disclosed in a pre-election period disclosure), and electoral expenditure annually. These disclosures are required even if no political donations are made or received or electoral expenditure is incurred during the relevant periods. Political donors must disclosure their donations annually.
7. Public Funding
Political parties and candidates may be eligible to be reimbursed for electoral expenditure incurred in connection with the election from the Election Campaigns Fund. The fund is administered and regulated by the NSW Electoral Commission. To receive a payment from the fund a party or candidate must meet certain criteria and then make a claim for payment.
After the election, the NSW Electoral Commission will determine which parties and candidates meet the criteria to be eligible for a payment and advise all eligible parties and candidates of how and when to make a claim for payment.
8. New guidelines under the Electoral Funding Act
The NSW Electoral Commission may determine and issue guidelines with respect to matters dealt with under the Electoral Funding Act 2018 and its regulations.
Two new guidelines have been published on the website:
Guideline 20 – Ascertaining the dominant purpose of expenditure by a third-party campaigner
Guideline 21 - Payments between branches of a party.