Accountability and the Australian federal political donation and expenditure regime

Shane Leong, Lorne Cummings, James Hazelton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to provide insight into the extent to which the Australian Federal political donation and expenditure disclosure regime is able to contribute to accountability. This is an important topic as a lack of adequate accountability concerning political donations and expenditure may serve to foster corruption. Design/Methodology: Content analysis was used to analyse 50 submissions to the Australian Government’s 2008 Electoral Reform Green Paper on Donations, Funding and Expenditure. The International Accounting Standards Board (2008) draft conceptual framework was selected as the coding framework. Findings: The AEC database can enhance accountability merely by ensuring that there is a public record of donations and expenditure, but there are issues which limit its contribution to accountability. Numerous concerns were raised by submission-writers including: many donors do not produce returns; disclosure obligations may fall on unintended people, costing them time and money; and the term ‘associated entity’ is not appropriately defined. Three issues that could most easily be acted upon are: providing the AEC with the resources necessary to cross-check donor declarations against party declarations; permitting candidates and parties to identify when donations have been returned; and increasing the frequency of disclosure and ensuring it is available prior to elections. Originality/Value: This paper contributes to the literature by expanding upon the virtually non- existent SEA research into political donation accountability and extending research into how corporate reporting should occur.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCSEAR 2011 Australasian Conference
Subtitle of host publicationconference proceedings : CSEAR toward sustainable futures : earth, wind, fire and water
Place of PublicationHobart
PublisherUniversity of Tasmania
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventAustralasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research (10th : 2011) - Launceston
Duration: 5 Dec 20117 Dec 2011


ConferenceAustralasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research (10th : 2011)


  • accountability
  • database
  • political donations


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