The Ipswich City Council administration building.
The Ipswich City Council administration building.

What candidates need to know about new disclosure laws

NEW disclosure obligations for sitting councillors and local government election candidates will come into effect from today.

To transition to the new laws, all sitting councillors and announced candidates must lodge disclosure returns within the next 14 days.

Returns must be lodged personally by each candidate or councillor, even if there is nothing to declare.

All gifts and loans received of $500 or more between the start of the disclose period and yesterday plus all electoral expenditure incurred between 1 May 2019 and yesterday must be lodged.

For candidates who have not previously contested a local government election, the disclosure period started on the date they announced or otherwise indicated an intention to contest the 2020 local government election.

For candidates who have contested a Queensland local government election in the last five years, the disclosure period started 30 days after election day for that election.

Registered political parties, associated entities, and third party campaigners are also required to lodge a transitional return for their electoral expenditure

All candidates who have been operating as a group prior to today, January 20, must still lodge a transitional gift and loan disclosure return.

Only one candidate, which will be the person acting as the group's agent moving forward, is required to actually disclose the gifts or loans. The other candidates in the group should lodge a 'nil' return.

When lodging returns for transactions of electoral expenditure, candidates must include the name and business address of who supplied the good and services, a description of what was supplied, the amount of electoral expenditure, dates and the purpose.

Third party campaigners must also disclose whether the expenditure was incurred to benefit, support or oppose a candidate or group of candidates.

They must also disclose whether or not it was incurred to support or oppose a particular issue in the election.

Bank statements from dedicate campaign bank accounts will also be required for the entirety of the disclose period.

The returns should be lodged on the ECQ's Electronic Disclosure System.