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What is record keeping?

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General requirements

Complete and accurate accounting and financial records must be kept in order for political donations and electoral expenditure to be properly disclosed.

The NSW Electoral Commission issues the person responsible for complying with electoral funding requirements, with receipt and acknowledgement books to enable receipts and acknowledgements to be issued to donors. Contact us to obtain a receipt and acknowledgement book.

Records that are required to be kept by political parties, elected members, candidates, groups, associated entities and third-party campaigners must be kept for at least three years.

Accounting records may be kept in paper or electronic form. If records are kept in electronic form the records must comply with the requirements for keeping paper records where possible.

Electronically recorded entries must appear in chronological sequence. All entries must be numbered sequentially under a controlled program so the completeness of the entries can be reasonably complied with.

If an amendment is to be made to an entry, a separate entry effecting the amendment must be made rather than changing the details of an entry.

A back-up copy of all records that are less than three years old is to be made at least once a month and the most recent back-up copy is to be kept at a separate location.

Records of advertising material

The person responsible must keep a copy of any recording of an advertisement which is electoral expenditure for 12 months after the advertising was last broadcast.

The person responsible must keep for at least three years:

  • a copy of the text from any radio or internet advertisement

  • if an advertisement was placed in a newspaper or periodical:

    • the full page of the newspaper or periodical in which the ad is placed

    • a statement identifying the ad and listing the name of each publication in which the ad was published, the size of the ad and the date of each publication.

As part of a compliance audit the NSW Electoral Commission may require the person responsible to provide advertising records.

Records of election material

If you distribute or re-use election material left over from a previous election in a subsequent election campaign, its value will be subject to the expenditure cap for that subsequent election. This is the case even if you only distribute some of the election material that was originally purchased.

Importantly, only the amount that was spent on the proportion of material being re-used (i.e. distributed again at the subsequent election) will be subject to the expenditure cap for the subsequent election. Find more information on when electoral expenditure is incurred

The value of the election material is calculated by reference to past disclosures and records. It is important that you keep records that allow for the portion of material used at each election to be quantified. These include:

  • details of the calculation of the value of material reused

  • any document in support of the calculation (for example, original invoices or receipts and inventory of material kept and reused).