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2023 NSW State election: Political participants bulletin No.3

Issued 16 November 2022

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1. Electoral legislation amendments

Important changes to New South Wales electoral laws have recently come into effect. These changes impact on political participants at the 2023 NSW State election. Participants should make themselves aware of the changes in order to comply with the new laws. 

Key changes to electoral laws include:

  • Early voting will be a maximum period of 7 days, which will commence on Saturday, 18 March 2023

  • Postal vote certificates may be sealed inside (instead of being printed on the outside of) the envelope and may be accepted up to 13 days after the election day

  • Guidelines may be issued to election officials about addressing electoral material offences under the ‘6 metre rule’

  • Authorisation requirements for automated telephone calls (also known as robocalls) containing electoral material have been clarified.

View a summary of the electoral law changes on our website.

Key changes to electoral funding laws include:

  • The half-yearly donation disclosure lodgement period has been extended from 4 weeks to 6 weeks

  • Re-instatement of an overall (state-wide) expenditure cap for third party campaigners in the election

  • Repeal of the acting in concert rules for third party campaigners  

  • Timing and other changes for claims on the Election Campaigns Fund and the New Parties Fund for political parties, and to the Administration Fund for parties and independent members of Parliament.

View a summary of the electoral funding law changes on our website.

For all amendments view the Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 2022 and the Electoral Legislation Amendment Act (No 2) 2022 in full on the NSW Legislation website.

2. Candidate and participant information webinars

The next webinar is at 11am Tuesday, 22 November 2022 and will cover the following topics:

  • electoral rolls

  • online services

  • registration of candidates for electoral funding purposes

  • nomination of candidates

  • ballot papers and ballot paper draw

  • electoral material rules and registration

  • pre-election period disclosures due now, half-yearly political donation disclosures due for period ending 31 December 2022

  • voting options

  • postal vote applications

  • vote counting and election results.

Find more information about the webinar series and register your attendance for the next webinar. If you are unable to attend, please note that webinars are recorded and published on the NSW Electoral Commission website.

3. Registering for funding and disclosure purposes

Candidates and groups

The details of registered candidates and groups are included in a publicly available register.

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. View our Candidates and groups: Registration v nomination video for more information on the difference between registration and nomination.

Registration for the election is open now and closes at 12 noon Wednesday, 8 March 2023. Apply to be registered as a candidate or group using Funding and Disclosure Online.

More information about registering as a candidate or group.

Third-party campaigners

The details of registered third-party campaigners and official agents are included in publicly available registers.

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 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.

More information about registering as a third-party campaigner.

4. Political donations

 It is an offence to make or accept a political donation that does not comply with the law. This includes anonymous donations, cash donations of more than $100, and donations from prohibited donors.

More information about political donation rules.

Caps on political donations

Political donations and indirect campaign contributions are capped at the NSW State election. It is an offence for a political party, elected member, candidate, group, associated entity, or third-party campaigner to accept a political donation that exceeds the applicable donation cap. It is also an offence to make or accept an unlawful indirect campaign contribution.

The applicable caps, and cap exemption amounts, for the 2022-23 financial year from 1 July 2022 are:

Political donation or indirect campaign contribution made to or for the benefit of:

Cap amount

A registered party or group of candidates


An unregistered party (or party registered for less than 12 months), elected member, candidate, third-party campaigner, or associated entity


Exemptions to the political donation caps for political donations made:

A Legislative Assembly candidate who is a member of a party can make political donations to the party that are exempt from the cap on political donations up to


A Legislative Council candidate who is a member of a party can make a political donation to the party of up to


A Legislative Council candidate who is not a member of a party but is a member of a group can make a political donation to the group up to


More information about the caps on political donations and indirect campaign contributions.

5. Disclosure of political donations and electoral expenditure

Political participants must disclose their political donations and electoral expenditure to the NSW Electoral Commission. Criminal penalties may apply for non-compliance.

Pre-election donation disclosures to be lodged now

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.

Pre-election donation disclosures can be submitted using Funding and Disclosure Online.

Pre-election donation disclosures are available to view on our website. View disclosures by choosing the following search options:

Relevant Reporting Period: 2022/2023
Disclosure Types: Pre-Election Donation

More information about pre-election period donation disclosure.

Half-yearly donation and annual expenditure disclosure requirements

Political participants must also submit the following disclosures:

  • Political donations made and received must be disclosed every six-months. The first half-yearly donation disclosure period ends on 31 December and disclosures are due 13 February. The second half-yearly donation disclosure period ends on 30 June and disclosures are due 11 August.

  • Electoral expenditure must be disclosed annually. The annual disclosure period ends on 30 June and disclosures are due 22 September.

These disclosures must be lodged even if no political donations were made or received during the half-yearly period and/or no electoral expenditure was incurred during the annual period.

More information about disclosure obligations.

6. Enforcement of electoral laws

The NSW Electoral Commission is responsible for enforcing NSW electoral laws, which include offences relating to campaign conduct, electoral funding, electoral material, voting and false statements in official forms.   In response to alleged contraventions, the Commission may investigate and issue warnings, cautions and penalty notices for offences, as well as prosecute a person in court and/or recover amounts of any unlawful donations accepted.

Members of the public may report a possible contravention of an electoral law to the NSW Electoral Commission, which:

  • should be made in writing; and

  • should include as much relevant and detailed information as possible, including any available evidence.

More information about reporting a breach of electoral laws.

7. Postal vote applications

Postal vote applications open Monday, 16 January 2023. Eligible electors can apply online, over the phone or by completing a paper form available on the NSW Electoral Commission website.

Electors’ postal vote applications must be received by the NSW Electoral Commission by 6pm, Monday 20 March 2023.

Candidates or political parties intending to distribute postal vote applications to electors must use the approved form of the application, which will be available from 28 November 2022. You can request a copy by emailing candidates@elections.nsw.gov.au

The approved form contains a placeholder to include electoral material. The content of the approved form of application supplied by the NSW Electoral Commission must not be altered.

If you intend to distribute postal vote applications that include your electoral material, we recommend you provide a copy of your artwork for review prior to printing, so that any issues of non-compliance with legislative requirements may be identified by the NSW Electoral Commission.

8. Security and privacy of enrolment information

Election participants who are entitled to receive enrolment information under the Electoral Act are reminded of the need to protect the security and privacy of that information. 

Enrolment information is otherwise known as protected information under the Act and each participant has provided an undertaking that their systems and procedures are adequate to preserve the security of that information.

It is an offence to use or disclose enrolment information for purposes that are not permitted under the Act.