This section explains the rules in the Electoral Act 1993 that allow for the apportionment of election expenses before and during the regulated period and between an MP who is a candidate and their party or another candidate.
MP expenses and election expenses
The Electoral Act does not provide for apportionment of costs between publicity that contains election advertising and an MP’s parliamentary publicity. If the effect of any part of an item of publicity can be reasonably regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to vote for a candidate, or not vote for another candidate, then the item as a whole will be regarded as a candidate advertisement. You can still publish it during the regulated period but the costs will be attributable as an election expense.
An MP has a website which contains both material that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to vote for the MP as a candidate and factual information, such as an MP’s contact details. All of the costs that relate to the publication of the website during the regulated period (i.e. hosting fees, graphic design fees) will be a candidate election expense.
Please refer to the Candidate Handbook - General Election 2017 for more information about candidate expenses.
Election expenses to be apportioned
The electoral rules require the apportionment of election expenses in certain circumstances. MPs will need to apportion election expenses where:
- an election advertisement is published before and during the regulated period
- an election advertisement promotes both the MP as a candidate and the party, and
- an election advertisement promotes the MP as a candidate and one or more other candidates.
Items published throughout the term
Election advertisements published throughout the parliamentary term that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging a vote for the MP as an electorate candidate can only be apportioned from the date the MP publicly announces his or her candidacy, as the advertisement is not a candidate advertisement prior to this date.
An MP has a sign up in the electorate for two years prior to the election which contains the line “a strong voice for [xxxx] electorate”. The MP announces her intention of contesting the electorate nine months prior to the election and the sign remains up until the election. The cost can be apportioned between the six months the candidate advertisement was published prior to the regulated period and the three month regulated period. Therefore, one third of the cost of the sign will need to be accounted for in the MP’s candidate return.
Apportionment is a factual exercise determined by the circumstances of each case. We are happy to discuss apportionment questions.