Political Donations Inquiry

The Northern Territory Legislative Assembly established an Inquiry into Political Donations under section 4A of the Inquiries Act.

The broad based Inquiry is part of an election commitment to restore trust and integrity to Government.

The Hon John Mansfield AM QC was appointed Commissioner to the Inquiry.

Commissioner Mansfield held appointment as Justice of the Federal Court between 1996 and 2016. He has extensive experience in native title matters, particularly in the Northern Territory context, and also in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law, intellectual property and commercial law.

Commissioner Mansfield was appointed Queen’s Counsel for South in 1985 and for the Northern Territory in 1988. He also served as President of various law societies and councils, and between 1991 and 1993 he held the role of Counsel assisting the Commissioner for the Royal Commission into the State Bank of South Australia.

Commissioner Mansfield has been asked to inquire into set Terms of Reference contained below.

At the conclusion of the Inquiry, the Commissioner provided the Inquiry Report to the Administrator on 29 June 2018. The Report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 14 August 2018 and is now available here.

Inquiry Report

Inquiry Report (1.5 mb)

Discussion paper

Discussion Paper (416.8 kb)


Publication of any submission does not indicate acceptance of the submission or the contents of it

   Brenda Monaghan Commissioner Information and Public Interest Disclosures (211.1 kb)
   Claire Hasewski (15.0 kb)
   Sam Wilks (396.0 kb)
   Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA (73.4 kb)
   NT ALP - part 1 (6.4 mb)
   NT ALP - part 2
   NT Electoral Commission (532.5 kb)
   Law Society NT  (1004.0 kb)
   Gerry Wood MLA  (493.5 kb)
   Terry Mills MLA  (98.6 kb)
   1 Territory  (2.0 mb)
   1 Territory Attachments (27.4 mb)
   Country Liberal Party  (1.4 mb)
   Graeme Lewis  (1.5 mb)
   NT Electoral Commission  (450.9 kb)
   Heart Foundation Northern Territory (103.6 kb)

Terms of Reference

Should there be a cap on how much parties can spend on a campaign, how it should be calculated and what other details should be considered.

Whether or not ‘full’ or ‘partial’ public funding of political parties and candidates should be provided.

If a ‘partial’ public funding scheme is considered preferable, recommendations as to a potential model, the basis upon which such funding is to be provided and whether a threshold for such funding should be adopted (consideration should extend to any legislative/regulatory amendments that would be required to affect such a model).

What is the appropriate level to cap the value of political donations to parties, groups, candidates, elected members and third-party campaigners; what methodology should be used to determine that cap; and what measures can be put in place to ensure that any caps are effective.

Whether the current donations disclosure requirements are appropriate including potential changes to the method, timing and publication of disclosures.

What controls should apply to the making of political donations, including:
  • whether or not particular entities or groups of donors should be excluded; and
  • any limitations or restrictions or caps on such political donations.

Whether there have been any breaches of the Northern Territory Electoral Act in relation to donations made to political parties and candidates in the Northern Territory over the last 10 years.

Any legislative or regulatory amendments that should be made to ensure that limits on political donations and disclosure requirements cannot be avoided through the use of third parties, associated entities or other means. To this end the inquiry will investigate:
  • The structure of Foundation 51 and the scope of its activities;
  • The relationship between Foundation 51 and the Northern Territory Government and its Agencies and any related conflicts of interest;
  • The relationship between Foundation 51 and the Country Liberal Party and any related conflicts of interest;
  • The extent of direct and indirect financial and in-kind support provided by Foundation 51 to the Country Liberal Party, Members of Parliament and candidates for Parliamentary elections;
  • The extent of breaches of the Northern Territory Electoral Act and any other Territory legislation by Foundation 51; and
  • The activities of Harold Nelson Holdings and its compliance with the Northern Territory Electoral Act.

Any other matters relevant to political funding and donations.

Contact Information

Submissions can also be sent to:



Commissioner Mansfield

Political Donations Inquiry

GPO Box 4396

Darwin   NT   0801

More information

Terms of Reference (693.1 kb)

News (83.5 kb)

McGuinness Report (2.2 mb)