Becoming an Official Agent
Candidates must appoint an Official Agent during the nomination process. Information about the Official Agent must be included in part 1 of the Nomination Paper (form 2010).
The role of the Official Agent is to manage campaign finances and reporting.
- receive, raise and spend money on behalf of the Candidate;
- issue tax receipts; and
- manage a campaign financial account.
The Official Agent is required to keep detailed records and receipts of all contributions and campaign expenditures.
The Official Agent must also complete and submit the Candidate’s Financial Report within 60 days after polling day.
The Official Agent is responsible for a number of activities that take place before and after ordinary polling day. It is important for the Official Agent to understand that their obligations continue until all post-election reporting is complete.
During the Campaign Period (29 days)
- Receiving all contributions for the Candidate’s campaign;
- Issuing official tax receipts for monetary contributions;
- Reimbursing the Candidate for any expenses incurred prior to the campaign period, to be paid using contributions received;
- Depositing all contributions into a bank account or another institution approved by the Chief Electoral Officer (if applicable);
- Recording all contributions received and election expenses incurred during the campaign period; and
- Recording the name and address of each person or organization who contributes more than $100;
During the Reporting Period (60 days)
- Ensuring all bills are received and paid within 60 days after polling day;
- Returning all tax receipt books to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer within 60 days after polling day;
- Submitting an accurate and complete Candidate’s Financial Report to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer within 60 days after polling day; and
- Requesting (if required) an extension to the deadline for submitting the Candidate’s Financial Report, or any accompanying documentation.
Use of Social Media Accounts
What needs to be authorized by an Official Agent when posting to social media accounts?
In general, making social media posts, or posting images to social media, are activities that do not require authorization from an Official Agent. However, paid promotion of a post does require an authorization notice, for example paying for advertising on a local media page or promoting a post on Facebook.
Provision of Food and Drink at Meetings
May candidates sponsor or host community events? Section 341 of the Elections and Plebiscites Act makes it illegal for a Candidate or an Official Agent to provide free food or drink to encourage someone to support that Candidate, except for light refreshments. Light refreshments are coffee, tea, and snacks.
A meal may be provided at a dinner or function if the attendees have paid for tickets that are priced to include the fair market value of the food being served. An Official Agent should consult section 243 for further information on how to properly account for a dinner, dance or function that is used to fundraise for a Candidate.