Australian Electoral Commission

Party registration decision: Carers Alliance is deregistered

Updated: 9 July 2012

File reference: Reg4587, 07/1082-2

The delegate of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) determined that Carers Alliance should be deregistered under section 137(6) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) because the AEC is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the party does not meet the membership criterion necessary for continued registration.

Background

Section 138A(1) of the Electoral Act confers upon the AEC the power to review the eligibility of registered political parties to remain on the federal Register of Political Parties (the Register). Section 138A(3) provides that the AEC may conduct such a review by giving written notice to the registered officer of a political party requesting specified information on the party's eligibility to remain registered under Part XI of the Electoral Act.

Test of relevant legal provisions

A list of the tests applied to each application for party registration is available.

The legal provisions relevant for the deregistration are s.137 and s.138A of the Electoral Act. View the extract of the relevant provisions [PDF 63KB]

The reader should consult this extract to see a copy of the legal provisions discussed below.

The AEC’s Funding and Disclosure Section commenced a review of the eligibility of registered parties to remain on the Register under the provisions of s.138A of the Electoral Act on 20 September 2011. Carers Alliance (the Party) was issued with a notice of review under s.138A(3) of the Electoral Act on 20 September 2011, but no response was received by the deadline of 20 November 2011. On 16 January 2012, the AEC issued the Party with a notice of intention to deregister the Party because it had not replied to the notice issued under s.138A(3).

The Party responded on 23 January 2012 and then, on 16 February 2012, provided the details originally sought by the AEC in September 2011. The AEC tested the details provided and issued a further notice of intention to deregister the Party on 3 April 2012 because the AEC was not satisfied that the Party remained eligible for continued registration. The Party responded on 3 May 2012 on some of the grounds raised by the AEC. It did not, however, offer any additional evidence of Party membership in response to the AEC’s advice that it was not satisfied the Party has the necessary 500 members eligible for electoral enrolment that are required for continued registration. The AEC explained to the Party that too many people on the list of members had advised the AEC that they were not, or no longer, members of the Party. The Party responded that “we believe Carers Alliance has in excess of 550 members many of whom are unpaid family carers and supporters of unpaid family carers” but did not provide an improved list of members.

The Party was then offered until 30 June 2012 to lodge better evidence that the Party has at least 500 members entitled to enrolment. The Party emailed the AEC that it was verifying its membership list but then did not lodge any further evidence of its members.

Conclusion

The AEC remains in doubt that the Party is active as an organisation other than during elections as its website and its history show negligible activity other than leading up to a federal election. On this occasion, however, the AEC does not need to come to a decision as to whether the party is active as an organisation as the AEC is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the Party fails the membership criterion.

The AEC’s membership test had revealed too many denials of membership for a reasonable level of confidence that the Party has at least 500 Party members eligible for electoral enrolment. When notified that the AEC intended to deregister the Party for this reason, and then given an additional month in which to provide further evidence, the Party lodged no further evidence of membership.

The delegate of the AEC has deregistered Carers Alliance under section 137(6) of the Electoral Act and removed it from the Federal Register of Political Parties.

5 July 2012