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What is electoral expenditure?

Electoral expenditure is expenditure for or in connection with:

  • promoting or opposing (directly or indirectly):

    • a political party

    • the election of a candidate or candidates.

  • influencing (directly or indirectly) the voting at an election.

Electoral expenditure of a third-party campaigner includes only the expenditure which is incurred for the dominant purpose of promoting or opposing a party or the election of a candidate or candidates or influencing the voting at an election.

Electoral expenditure includes:

  • expenditure on advertisements in radio, television, the internet, cinemas, newspapers, billboards, posters, brochures, how-to-vote cards and other election material

  • expenditure on the production and distribution of election material

  • expenditure on the internet, telecommunications, stationery and postage

  • expenditure incurred in employing staff engaged in election campaigns

  • expenditure incurred for office accommodation for any such staff and candidates (other than for the campaign headquarters of a party, or for the electorate office of an elected member)*

  • expenditure on travel and travel accommodation for candidates and staff engaged in electoral campaigning*

  • expenditure on research associated with election campaigns (other than in-house research)

  • expenditure incurred in raising funds for an election

  • expenditure incurred in the use or acquisition of the following items (exercised or effected within a period of 10 weeks that includes an election day and is terminated or disposed of within that period): 

    • a motor vehicle and motor vehicle accessories

    • a vessel or aircraft used for the purpose of navigation

    • televisions and radios

    • television and radio broadcasting equipment

    • electronic equipment for recording sounds or visual images

    • photographic equipment

    • computers and associated equipment and computer software

    • office furniture and equipment.

In this case, electoral expenditure includes only so much of the purchase price of the property that is not recovered in the disposal of that property.

Electoral expenditure does not include:

  • expenditure incurred substantially in respect of an election of members to a Parliament other than the NSW Parliament

  • expenditure on factual advertising of:

    • meetings to be held for the purpose of selecting persons for nomination as candidates for election

    • meetings for organisational purposes of parties, branches of parties or conferences, committees or other bodies of parties or branches of parties

    • any other matter involving predominantly the administration of parties or conferences, committees or other bodies of parties or branches of parties.

The NSW Electoral Commission issues guidelines to give further examples of what is and is not electoral expenditure.

*Certain exemptions apply to electoral expenditure for the purpose of calculating caps on electoral expenditure for candidates, groups and parties in relation to the cost of travel and accommodation, and office accommodation. Learn more about the exemptions on the Caps on electoral expenditure webpage.