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What does it mean for Shooters Union NSW to be registered as a third-party campaigner?

WHAT IS A THIRD PARTY CAMPAIGNER AND WHY DID SU NSW HAVE TO REGISTER AS ONE?

NSW has legislation (The Electoral Funding Act 2018) which requires “an individual or entity that incurs more than $2,000 in electoral expenditure for a State or local government election in New South Wales… but does not stand as a candidate, and is not a political party, associated entity or an elected member,” to register with the NSW Electoral Commission.

Electoral expenditure is defined as “Expenditure that has the dominant purpose of promoting or opposing a party or candidate/s or influencing the vote at an election.”

Given Shooters Union will be making political statements, potentially including via paid political advertising, that promote or oppose parties and candidates, we felt it safest to register as a Third Party Campaigner to avoid falling afoul of the law.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN REGISTERING AS A THIRD PARTY CAMPAIGNER?

It is a surprisingly complicated process; there is a registration form to be completed and an official agent must also be appointed. An official agent cannot just be anyone – they must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Be enrolled to vote in New South Wales.
  • Successfully complete the NSW Electoral Commission’s Agent Training Programme.
  • Not have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 30 months or more.
  • Not have been convicted of an indictable offence, electoral offence or offence against the Electoral Funding Act 2018.
  • Not have been convicted as an adult in the last 10 years of an offence involving fraud or
  • dishonesty.

WHO IS THE SU OFFICIAL AGENT FOR THE NSW STATE ELECTION?

SU NSW president Peter Whelan, is the official agent; he has completed all the necessary training, meets all the requirements and is listed as the official agent in the State Register of Third-Party Campaigners here.

WHAT DOES THE OFFICIAL AGENT DO?

According the NSW Electoral commission, an official agent’s legal obligations include:

  • Making payments for electoral expenditure for a third-party campaigner or associated entity from the campaign account of the third-party campaigner or associated entity
  • Maintaining complete and accurate records of political donations and electoral expenditure for a third-party campaigner or associated entity
  • Issuing receipts to those who make a reportable political donation to the third-party campaigner or associated entity (NSW Electoral Commission receipt books must be used.
  • Lodging with the NSW Electoral Commission all required disclosures of political donations made and received and electoral expenditure incurred by the associated entity or third-party campaigner
  • Providing with a relevant disclosure of electoral expenditure a copy of all invoices or receipts and a copy of the advertising or printed material for all electoral expenditure (except copies of advertising or printed material for expenditure for online advertising where a transaction was $20 or less).
  • Accepting political donations made to a third-party campaigner or associated entity and pay those political donations into the campaign account of the third-party campaigner or associated entity

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN IN ENGLISH?

Shooters Union can now make public political statements and take out paid political ads telling shooters who to vote for (or not to vote for) in NSW without breaking the law. At present, we are the ONLY pro-shooting organisation to have done this.

ISN’T THIS THIRD PARTY CAMPAIGNER REGISTRATION THING RATHER COMPLICATED AND POTENTIALLY UNDEMOCRATIC?

We think so, but that is the law and we must follow it – as must anyone else wanting to spend money on political messages during an election in NSW, sadly.

  • Shooters Union Australia is a not for profit organisation which represents thousands of firearms owners and users across Australia. We are actively involved in the political scene, lobbying against the unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional vilification of firearms owners at every level of government. Our aim is to work towards a co-operative system of effective gun control, and together we are affecting positive change on firearm legislation in Australia. Help us to change the social dialogue around firearms, firearms ownership and the shooters themselves.

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