Australian Electoral Commission announces election funding following New England by-election.

RETURNED: Barnaby Joyce was re-elected as the Nationals Member for New England in early December. Photo: Andrew Meares
RETURNED: Barnaby Joyce was re-elected as the Nationals Member for New England in early December. Photo: Andrew Meares

THREE political parties and one candidate will share in more than $200,000 after the Australian Electoral Commission announced funding results for the New England by-election on Monday.

The Nationals, Australian Labor Party, The Greens and Independent candidate Rob Taber are among the beneficiaries of $205,443 in election funding after receiving more than four per cent of first-preference votes.

The Nationals, whose candidate Barnaby Joyce was re-elected in December, received a total of $152,992 in funding while Labor received $26,199 as runner-up.

Independent candidate Rob Taber was listed as receiving $15,989, while The Greens received $10,261.

The payments were made over two installments – the first on December 20 and the second based on the finalised vote count soon after.

Rob Taber.

Rob Taber.

The Australian Electoral Commission said at the New England by-election, each first-preference vote was worth 268.332 cents.

Mr Taber told The Leader the funding would see him almost break even with his 2017 campaign spending.

“The first time I stood, I think we lost about $17,000 and we were behind in the last election by about $45,000,” he said.

“This time we got $15,700 back. If you add up all those, I’m behind, but you don’t do it for the money.”

Mr Taber said the jury was out on if he would stand in another New England election, and was keeping his options open.

Meanwhile, Nationals New England Electorate Council chairman Russell Webb said the funding covered a small proportion of what was spent by the party during Mr Joyce’s campaign. 

“The party has spent a lot more than this on the election campaign… I’d say considerably more,” he said.

“In the case of parties, all of those funds will go back into the coffers of the state branch, while in the case of an Independent, all of the funds go directly back to them.

“With the National party, it will be put back to pay back some of the expenses incurred and it could contribute to the campaign funds at the next state or federal election.”

Mr Webb said while it might look like a hefty amount on paper, elections were an expensive exercise.

“While it might look good to some, there are still a huge amount of costs associated with running an election.” he said.

“You might think it is a lot of money, but it is a small return on the investment made by the party and its members to have their candidate reelected.”