Australian Electoral Commission

Registration of the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party

Updated: 30 September 2010

File reference: Reg3788

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission determined that the HEMP Party should be registered under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Background

On 12 February 2010, the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC) received an application from the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party for registration as a political party under the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).

Relevant legal provisions

Political parties may apply for registration for the purposes of federal elections in accordance with the requirements of Part XI of the Electoral Act. 'The Act requires the AEC to maintain a publicly available 'Register of Political Parties'. The Register is available on the AEC's website.

The provisions specifically relevant for the current application under consideration are sections 4, 123, 124, 126, 129, 132, 132A and 133 of the Electoral Act. An extract of the relevant provisions is available adjacent to this document on the AEC website.

In relation to this Party, the relevant provisions require it to:

  • be an organisation with an aim of promoting candidates it endorses for election to the House of Representatives and/or the Senate (s4);
  • be eligible for registration (s123), that is have at least 500 members eligible to be on the electoral roll, that have not been relied upon for registration by another political party and have a written constitution;
  • make application for registration in the manner prescribed in s126; and
  • propose a name and optional abbreviation for registration that are not prohibited by s129.

Application of relevant legal provisions

Political party

The Party was founded in 1993 and has a constitution, which describes an organisation with the aim of endorsing candidates to contest elections to the Federal Parliament of Australia.

The party was registered in 2000, and then de-registered in 2006 under Schedule 3 of theElectoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006.

The AEC has assessed the party as meeting the test of being a political party under s4 of the Electoral Act.

The AEC has assessed the party's application against the technical requirements in s126(2) of the Electoral Act. The application meets the technical requirements in s126(2).

Constitution

The party provided a brief constitution with its application.

The party's constitution states the endorsement of candidates at a federal election as one of its objectives. It includes detail of the structure of the Executive Committee of the party. It also discusses the terms and conditions of membership of the party, resignation and expulsion.

The constitution mentions that the secretary is responsible for calling Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings, the receipt of nominations and making such regulations for the calling of Extraordinary General meeting as may be appropriate to further the aims of the party. The details of the party's committee and rules regarding voting at meetings are also set out in the constitution. This is sufficient to demonstrate that the party meets the definition of an 'organisation'.

The party was advised in correspondence to amend its constitution to define the role of the party office which best fits the definition of 'secretary' set out in s123 of the Electoral Act. The party provided an amended constitution accompanying a letter dated 18 July 2010.

Membership

Section 123 of the Electoral Act requires a non-parliamentary party to have at least 500 members who are entitled to enrolment. The statutory declaration by the secretary states that each of the members on the list has been accepted as a member of the Party in accordance with the rules of the Party.

Enrolment check of membership list

The AEC checks the membership list of each political party applying for registration to see if at least 500 members appear or have appeared on the electoral roll recently.

Fewer than 500 of the HEMP members were identified on the electoral roll. After HEMP was notified of this failure on 23 April 2010, the party responded on 17 May 2010 with details of additional members to make up the shortfall. Following the second enrolment check after additional member details were provided by the HEMP party, the party's list of eligible members stood at 508, sufficient for Commonwealth registration purposes.

Confirmation by party members

The total number of remaining eligible members in the HEMP Party was 508, which resulted in a total sample size of members to be contacted of 22. The number of failures allowed was 2. The 22 party members contacted confirmed that they were members of the party.

The HEMP Party is assessed as having the required number of members.

Party name

Section 129 prohibits the registration of parties with certain names. Specifically, the name shall not be approved if any of the following conditions are met. That it:

  • is more than six words;
  • is obscene;
  • is the name, abbreviation, or acronym of the name of another political party (not being a political party that is related to the applicant party) that is a recognised political party;
  • so nearly resembles the name, abbreviation, or acronym of the name of another recognised political party (not being a political party that is related to the applicant party) that it is likely to be confused with that other recognised political party;
  • is one that a reasonable person would think suggests a connection or relationship with another registered political party, if that relationship does not exist;
  • is comprised of the words 'Independent Party';
  • is comprised of, or contains, the word 'Independent', and the name, abbreviation or acronym of a recognised political party; or
  • is comprised of, or contains, the word 'Independent' and matter, that so nearly resembles the name, or an abbreviation or acronym of the name of a recognised political party, that the matter is likely to be confused with, or mistaken for, that recognised political party.

The name sought is Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party and the abbreviation sought is HEMP. The AEC checked the Federal Register of Political Parties and that of each State and Territory and there is not currently a similarly named party registered in any jurisdiction. The AEC considers that the proposed name and abbreviation do not invoke any of the prohibitions in s129.

Objections

On 17 June 2010 the delegate determined that the party's application had passed its initial consideration for registration and the application was advertised for public objection on 23 June 2010. The issue of writs on 19 July 2010 for the federal elections meant that no further action could be taken on this application until the final return of all outstanding writs on 17 September 2010. No objections to the registration of the HEMP Party were received.

Conclusion

I am satisfied the party is an eligible political party under s123 of the Electoral Act and that there are no reasons to prevent its registration.

The Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party is registered.

Sue Sayer
Director Funding and Disclosure
Delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission
23 September 2010