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Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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Financial disclosure returns available for ACT election

ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals both spent more than a million dollars on their election campaigns last year, according to figures published earlier this week.

On Monday, the ACT Electoral Commission released financial disclosure returns for ACT political parties, non-party candidates, third-party campaigners, associated entities, and broadcasters and publishers for the 2020 ACT Legislative Assembly election.

ACT Labor spent $1,052,682 altogether, and the Canberra Liberals $1,066,876.

The ACT Greens spent just over an eighth as much – $124,768 – and managed to win six seats and a swing towards the party. New MLA Andrew Braddock commented on Facebook: “The Greens have shown that money isn’t everything when you have a community behind you.”

Expenditure by category

 Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch)Canberra LiberalsACT Greens
Broadcast ads$70,015$125,165$17,881
Consultant & agent fees$561,483$85,049$0
Material not required to be authorised (e.g. printing and postage, business cards promoting candidacy, T-shirts, badges and buttons, pens, pencils, balloons)$16,583$312,211$17,924
Matter required to be authorised (e.g. how-to-vote cards, posters, pamphlets)$303,978$367,981$84,863
Opinion polling & research$99,074$115,537$0
Publish ads (in news publications)$1,000$27,602$4,100
Theatre ads$550$33,330$0

Gifts received

Many election participants also contributed their own money to their campaigns. Labor’s Yvette Berry, the Deputy Chief Minister, spent most: $10,000.


(from most to least money)

Yvette BerryLabor$10,000
Peter CainLiberals$4,623.15
Nicole LawderLiberals$3,700
Alistair CoeLiberals$2,262.04
Jo ClayGreens$1,525
Leanne CastleyLiberals$1,500
Caroline Le CouteurGreens (retired)$1,500
Christopher SteelLabor$1,500
Giulia JonesLiberals$1,000

The returns also list gifts of $1,000 to parties or non-party candidates. ACT Labor received $90,759.60 in gifts from unions:

Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union – The Construction and General Division ACT Divisional Branch$50,000
Australian Workers Union NSW Branch$14,000
Community and Public Sector Union$10,420
Shop Distributive Allied Employees Assoc SDA (NSW Branch)$9,229.80
United Services Union$5,205.80
United Workers Union$1,904

Slater and Gordon Lawyers also contributed $2,000 to Labor.

Many Liberal supporters, on the other hand, were developers and builders:

Citriene & Co$1,300
Constantine Tsoulias & Canma Properties / Constantine & Anna Tsoulias Family Trust$2,000
Elvin Group (concrete contractor)$1,300
Laundy Hotel$3,000
Moraschi Roofing$1,300
O’Connor Harris Solicitors$1,300
Perin Group Management (construction company)$1,300
Premier National (consultancy agent)$1,500
Rivoland Tiles$1,300
Young Liberal Movement of Australia$2,000

The Licensed Clubs Association of the ACT donated $2,000 to ACT Labor (including a $500 raffle / donation) and $5,000 to the Canberra Liberals.

CW has not listed individual donors.

The published returns reflect the figures submitted by the electoral participants, and are yet to undergo compliance and accuracy checks by the ACT Electoral Commission, a spokesperson said.

Canberra Weekly approached the ACT Electoral Commission for comment; the AEC stated that, as an independent statutory authority, they were unable to provide responses to our questions. “It is not the role or position of the Commission to offer such public commentary.”

The returns can be inspected on the ACT Electoral Commission’s website, or in person by prior appointment at the office of the Electoral Commissioner at Level 6, 221 London Circuit, Canberra City, ACT 2601, between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.

Enquiries should be made to the office of the Electoral Commissioner on (02) 6205 0033 or to [email protected].

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