Broadcaster's Returns on Election Programmes

After each election, every broadcaster must give the Electoral Commission a complete and accurate statement of election advertising broadcast by that broadcaster during the three months before polling day.

Section references below are to the Broadcasting Act 1989

What are the basic requirements of a return?

The return must be signed by or on behalf of the broadcaster and be given to the Electoral Commission no later than 10 working days after the end of the month in which an election is held.

Broadcasters who did not broadcast any election programmes must still complete a nil return.  s.79C.  Failing to make a return or making an inaccurate one are offences subject to fines of up to $100,000. s.80.

What should the return contain?

It must set out the following information in relation to each election broadcast advertisement:

  • the candidate or political party it was for
  • duration, time and date of broadcast
  • rate applied
  • amount charged (specifying whether GST is included)

In addition, to help reconciliations the Commission would appreciate each entry including the:

  • stations/package/network on which it was broadcast
  • client name as shown on the invoice
  • number of the associated invoice, or an order number that will appear on the invoice

Can consolidated or centrally-produced returns be made?

The Commission will accept consolidated or centrally-produced returns from networks on behalf of their individual broadcasters provided that the signed statement makes clear the station names of the broadcasters on whose behalf the return is made.  Networks and broadcasters should ensure that their systems do not lead to duplicate returns for a single advertisement to occur, nor for an advertisement to be omitted from a return.

What form should the return be in and how should it be submitted?

Hardcopy is mandatory

A covering letter, dated, stating the broadcasters covered by it, and signed by or on behalf of named broadcaster(s) by a named individual.  Attached should be a spreadsheet printed out landscape, single-sided on white A4 paper containing the requested information in a readable form.  Any standard output from broadcaster's systems approximating these specifications will be accepted.  The inclusion of extraneous information is accepted.  Each page should be initialled by the signing individual.  The return must be posted or couriered to arrive no later than 10 working days after the end of the month in which the election was held.

Please address to:

Broadcaster Returns
Electoral Commission
P O Box 3220

Softcopy would be appreciated

To assist its reconciliation processes with invoices forwarded to it for payment through parties, and election expense returns, the commission would also appreciate receiving an electronic copy of the return data as an MSExcel or MSAccess spreadsheet, or .rtf file.

Please complete and e-mail the spreadsheet to when you dispatch the hardcopy.

What should broadcasters retain on file?

Broadcasters should retain the computer and documentary records used to compile their returns, as well as the written authorities received from or on behalf of each party or candidate.

What does the Commission do with the returns?

They are used for reconciliations with party broadcasting invoices received for payment and with election expense returns.  Also, the returns must be made available for public inspection at the Commission's offices within 3 working days of receipt.



Last updated: 07 November 2012