Potential cases of under-reporting of political donations are being investigated by the Electoral Commission of Victoria after new laws came into force three years ago.
The state government introduced the laws in 2018, with every donation over $1,040 now required to be disclosed. The legislation also capped individual donors giving more than $4,000 over a four-year term and banned foreign donations.
The VEC said it investigated “a number of issues” reflecting potential under-reporting over the past year.
the allegations include failures to provide disclosure reports, donors providing false or misleading information, and donors failing to provide an annual report.
“Over the past calendar year, a number of notices have been issued by compliance officers,” a VEC spokesperson said. Mandarin.
“No charges have been brought against anyone suspected of having committed offenses… but the information received is currently part of ongoing and open investigations.
“These investigations are ongoing and the VEC does not discuss specific details of the active cases.”
The law provides for a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for evading the requirement to disclose funding.
the VEC Disclosure Website lists 153 donations that amounted to $362,149 in total funds received across all political parties since November 2018.
The VEC did not record political donations until 2018, and it is unclear how many political donations contributed to state election purposes before the laws began.
In line with previous years, Victorian branches of major parties have received millions of dollars in payments, including donations worth hundreds of thousands in 2019-20, the most recent returns available from the Electoral Commission show Australian.
However, the VEC stressed that such donations did not need to be disclosed to the VEC if the money was received by Victorian branches for Commonwealth electoral purposes.
“The disclosure statements provided to the AEC and the VEC are, and should be, significantly different,” said the VEC spokesperson.
After the upcoming November 2022 election, an independent review will examine the effectiveness of political finance and disclosure laws.
“TThe review will be conducted by a group of independent experts, who will provide recommendations on the relevant provisions within 12 months of the next national elections,” the VEC spokesperson said.
The commission is also redeveloping its disclosure system to ensure better “capability, compliance and functionality”.
“Ahead of the 2022 state elections, the VEC is focused on increased engagement and working on educational opportunities with reporting entities to ensure maximum compliance and understanding before the election,” the spokesperson said.
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