File reference: Reg4027, 10/128
On 6 January 2011, a delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) approved an application from The First Nations Political Party (the Party) for registration as a political party under the provisions of Part XI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act).
The AEC received an application from the Party on 11 June 2010, to replace a partially completed application received on 20 May 2010. The later application contained all the signatures required by the Electoral Act and nominated a different person as the proposed registered officer for the Party.
The AEC was initially unable to identify the required 500 members on the Party's membership list who showed evidence of their entitlement to electoral enrolment through an AEC record of their current or previous enrolment. Following discussion, the Party amalgamated with a party that was being formed in Western Australia, the Ecological, Social Justice, Aboriginal Party (the ESJAP) and both parties advised the AEC of the amalgamation on 9 July 2010. In addition, the Party forwarded membership forms for the ESJAP members. The writs for the 2010 federal election were issued on 19 July 2010, before the AEC could complete its assessment of the Party's application (including the further membership checking). Under s127 of the Electoral Act, no action may be taken on an application for party registration between the issue of a writ and its return. The last writ was returned on 17 September 2010 and the AEC was again able to continue processing all outstanding party registration applications.
The AEC was concerned that its usual party registration staff might miss enrolment records of some Party members because the party registration staff are not experienced with the different forms of names used by Aboriginal people, the various ways their addresses might be shown in enrolment records or the best way to contact those members. The AEC used its Indigenous Electoral Participation Program staff in its Darwin Office to conduct the required membership testing for evidence of enrolment and the membership contacts to verify party membership.
The AEC delegate determined that the Party's application had passed its initial assessment on 19 November 2010. The application was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette and 10 newspapers achieving coverage throughout Australia on 1 December 2010 as required by s132 of the Electoral Act. A period of one month was provided from that date for any person or organisation to lodge reasons why the Party should not be registered. Any such reasons must be lodged in writing and signed by the objector, who must also provide their street address. No such reasons were lodged.
The AEC assessed the application by the Party as meeting the requirements of the Electoral Act and no written reasons under s132 of the Act were lodged against the registration.
The AEC registered The First Nations Political Party.