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Understanding Advertising Limits

The Election Financing Act limits the amount political parties and candidates can spend on advertising. There are two different rules that apply:

1) Advertising limit in the year of a fixed date election [s. 58(1) for registered parties, s. 58(2) for candidates]

2) Advertising limit for an election period [s. 51(2) for registered parties, s. 52(1) for candidates]

The limit for the fixed date election year is separate and in addition to the limit for the election period (writ day to election day). There is no limit for advertising in a non-election year or in the year of a non-fixed date election (e.g. a byelection).

The Limits

Advertising limits in the year of a fixed date election:

  • For a registered party: $286,304
  • For a candidate: $6,944

The limits are adjusted for inflation using CPI (Consumer Price Index). For the 2016 General Election the base month for CPI calculations is January 2012.

How does the EFA define advertising?

Any advertising that promotes or opposes (directly or indirectly) a registered party or a candidate, including:

  • in newspapers, magazines or other periodicals, or on the Internet,
  • on radio or television, or
  • on billboards, buses or other property normally used for commercial advertising.

It includes direct production costs.

For the purposes of determining the advertising limit in the year of a fixed date election, the definition of "advertising" is expanded to include promotional materials, specifically posters, leaflets, letters, cards, signs and banners (including lumber and other structural supports for signs and banners) and any similar printed material, the purpose of which is to support or oppose (directly or indirectly) a registered party or a candidate.

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